190th Anniversary of Napoleon’s Death

Today, the 190th anniversary of Napoleon Bonaparte’s death on St Helena, was our first day in South Africa.  We commemorated the occasion with a visit to Groot (Estate) Constantia, just outside of Cape Town.

One of the few pleasures Napoleon experienced during his six-year exile on St Helena was the Grand Constance sweet white wine from this vineyard.  Indeed, against his doctors’ advice and his faithful valet Marchand’s admonitions, he sipped a few last drops on his deathbed.  “What could it matter?” he asked.

So one hundred and ninety years later, I toasted the emperor with his favorite wine.


  • David Helfinstein
    May 5, 2011 - 7:54 pm | Permalink

    Remarkable fitting. Hope the wine was tasty and helped you experience a bit of his life on the anniversary of his death!

  • Melanie
    May 5, 2011 - 9:50 pm | Permalink

    Nothing like drinking in history, there, Margaret! Glad you made it safely all the way. Looking forward to more adventures of discovery. (Just watch those sharks. Do *not* bring them any sweet white wine or any other thing which will encourage them to outrageous and unwanted behavior. 😉 ) Cheers!

  • SMK
    May 6, 2011 - 9:45 am | Permalink

    Lovely picture of you, Margaret. I guess they don’t celebrate Cinco de Mayo too much in South Africa. And here I was in Virginia drinking a margarita instead of having a wine toast in Napoleon’s memory. Looking forward to reading more about your travels and reflections.

  • mrodenberg
    May 6, 2011 - 2:17 pm | Permalink

    It was a treat to be at Groot Constantia on a momentous ocassion. Thanks for your comment, Melanie.

  • Scott
    May 6, 2011 - 2:21 pm | Permalink

    Glad you made it We miss you but looks like you are having a good time—I could use a nice glass of white wine–

  • mrodenberg
    May 6, 2011 - 2:23 pm | Permalink

    Hope you had a margarita for me, SMK! I’m happy to celebrate that occasion, too, even though it is a celebration over French troops!

  • mrodenberg
    May 6, 2011 - 2:26 pm | Permalink

    In fact, David, the wine was surprisingly tasty. We brought a few bottles to bring home.

  • mrodenberg
    May 6, 2011 - 4:38 pm | Permalink

    Scott, we’ll have one when we get back home. Thanks for taking care of things while we travel.

  • stephanie
    May 14, 2011 - 9:24 pm | Permalink

    Assume you’re getting a case of that wine to bring back, Margaret? Did you like it?

  • mrodenberg
    May 17, 2011 - 4:06 pm | Permalink

    I have to admit that I did buy some to bring back!

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