Arendsig - Tiny step 1: A mini tour from McCregor - CycleBlaze

June 9, 2021

Arendsig

Last night we wandered down the road to the hotel at the hot springs to have dinner in the simple restaurant.  Fish and chips it was but, because there was a power cut on and the hotel had its own power generation, we hung around until we had polished off a bottle of local wine. 

Despite the bottle of wine we were up and on the road by ten o'clock this morning and it became clearer as to why my legs felt tired yesterday afternoon - the last four kilometers out of Montagu had been a stiff climb that this morning had been turned into an easy downhill run.

Heading back down into Montagu.
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We had booked accommodation for tonight on a wine farm about ten kilometers out of Bonnievale so, not knowing what the shops might be like in Bonnievale, we stocked up on some grub at the Spar before leaving Montagu.  Montagu has many National Heritage buildings dating back mostly to the mid nineteenth century and, with the surrounding mountains, makes it a very attractive place.

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Then it was back through Cogmans Kloof, this time going a lot faster and being less stressful than the journey in the opposite direction yesterday.

Leigh heading for the hole through the rock at Kalkoenkrantz.
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Just before Ashton we turned southwards onto the R60, the main road to Swellendam.  Here we climbed for about five kilometers before turning off onto a smaller road that would take us to Bonnievale.  After climbing for another kilometer of so we enjoyed a long an gentle downhill to Bonnievale .

Just about to turn off the R60 to go to Bonnievale.
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Bonnievale, which we haven't visited since the 2nd Step way back in 2017, is a neat if unexciting agricultural town.  It might lack the historic buildings that neighbouring Swellendam and Montuga enjoy but it looks well organized and cared for and the surrounding mountains help the view from the town to be better than most. 

The views from Montagu.
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Montagu turned out to have a well stocked Spar so there was no need to have bought groceries in Montagu.  None the less, we bought some bread rolls for lunch and enjoyed them at a simple causeway crossing the Breede River.

This quiet causeway across the Breede River was the perfect lunch stop.
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After that it was another eleven kilometers until we reached the turn off to Arendsig Wine Estate.  The road to the winery and the cottage in which we are spending the night took us through the vineyards with each block of vines neatly labeled.  The winery, it turns out, bottles each wine from a single vineyard block to capture the terroir of the grapes.

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We new nothing about Arendsig before we got here but we were lucky to spend the last couple of hours of the afternoon with Marius, the owner's right hand man, as he took us through their wines.  We had wanted to buy a bottle to enjoy with our dinner later that evening.  Marius asked us which were our favorites from the tasting and when we pointed out their Chardonnay and Pinotage, he gave us a gift of those bottles to take away with us.  If this was a low-end winery I would have seen it as a gimmick but these are well-made, hand-crafted wines with limited production so we really appreciated the gesture.

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One of the farm dogs, a Jack Russel named Oubaas, has followed us back to our cottage and seems determined to spend the night with us.  In the meantime we have a fire roaring in the fire place and a rosy glow on our faces from, once again, too much wine.

Tomorrow we head back to Lord's Wine Farm over what should prove to be the toughest section of this short tour.

Today's ride: 44 km (27 miles)
Total: 117 km (73 miles)

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