The party was over and as we came down to breakfast the following morning people were already hard at work packing bikes into boxes. For Naomi and myself it would be very different, we were after four months and 12,000km “going solo”. Naomi had planned a ten day cycling tour around the local area and shortly after breakfast we said our goodbyes and left for our first stop.
It would be a surprise to me and as Naomi couldn’t stop smiling on the way into Downtown Capetown I knew it would be a bit different.
The picture above is taken on the roof of The Grand Daddy Hotel and it has several original Airstream Trailers on the roof, each one decorated differently and themed on the inside. Unfortunately for me the only one left was very pink….
Still I can’t complain, it was a great start to the next ten days. We met a friend of Naomi’s called Sam at dinner. Sam works in Zimbabwe but is from Edinburgh originally, they’d not seen each other for a while so Sam had taken some holiday to join us for a few days. While Sam took the taxi to each location Naomi and I would cycle, we would see Sam again in Franchhoek 😉
After breakfast we had a photo call with the staff…
Then set off in the direction of Paarl, lying east of Capetown we set off on the N1 for want of a better road. It was a very busy three lane highway, much like a motorway and yes we were allowed on it. It was horrible and we very quickly found a parallel road which was much quieter to get us to Paarl. The route was flat, the weather warm and the scenery improved as the day unfolded. It can’t have been much more than 65km and we weren’t in any hurry. We had a guesthouse booked and when we arrived it was beautiful, large room, huge shower and swimming pool and terrace if we wanted to use them. Tea and coffee making kit and for Naomi….a hair dryer !!
We showered, did some wifi and then headed out for dinner, a short walk and we found a local restaurant where we drank excellent wines, devoured lamb shanks and springbok before then attacking the deserts, a great night.
Leaving after a huge breakfast and saying goodbye to our excellent hosts we were now heading to what would be the highlight of our small trip. We’d booked into the Quatier Francais in Franchhoek, listed in the top 50 restaurants in the world and we were on the gourmet package !!
We arrived and were immediately made to feel welcome, coffee was provided while we checked in, information given as to our package….times, places etc. we were also upgraded to one of the suites so our bikes were unloaded and while our luggage made its way to our room we got the grand tour and boy were we impressed 😉
It was huge, it had a bar…fully stocked, we were told it was complimentary but we never really touched it. It had a log fire and if you needed to use it just call reception and someone will come and light it. DVD player with huge library, wifi, two huge TVs, massive bathroom, walk in wardrobe….funny as we live out of two cycle panniers !! In short, luxury that we’d not seen the likes of for some considerable time !!
Sam arrived and we gave her the rundown on our meals, times and locations, our first meal would be dinner in The Tasting Room. A five course extravaganza of culinary excellence and misdirection !
Each course looked like one thing but tasted quite different to how it looked and also had a surprising texture, all in all a great experience and served with some fabulous wines to compliment each course. Breakfast the following morning didn’t disappoint either, a huge buffet with fruit, muesli and cereals, yogurts, juices, breads, pastries, cooked breakfast done to order and an overwhelming variety of dishes and all done so well. We left breakfast stuffed but even so we were looking forward to lunch already 😉
Lunch was at a place called Bread and Wine, a small casual restaurant at a local vineyard that is owned by the hotel. Again we feasted local cured meats and cheese to start, springbok, steaks and risotto to follow before sharing one desert between us. Again more excellent wine accompanied the meal and we were driven to and from the restaurant at no cost !!
Dinner would be back at the hotel in The Common Room, a less formal restaurant than The Tasting Room but certainly not lacking in choice or excellence. We three would be joined by another of Naomi’s friends from university days, a guy called Craig who is now living and working between Paarl and Franchhoek…..lucky guy 😉
The evening went well but we decided to have coffee back in our room and asked if someone would light the fire about twenty minutes before our arrival, it was lovely and warm when we arrived and for the next hour or so we just chatted and drank coffee before Craig finally had to leave !
After our second night of luxury and another superb breakfast we also had to leave….destination Stellenbosch !
Sam was whisked away in a taxi while Naomi and myself loaded up the Captain and Kylie for our short but hilly ride to Stellenbosch, Craig had mentioned that there was a good restaurant at the top of the hill so as we were passing by we took a look. We liked the menu and booked a table for the following lunchtime. Then the downhill in to Stellenbosch and our accomodation in the local backpackers hostel. Not quite the same standard of luxury we’d been used to but they were helpful and cheap !!
We met up with Sam and took a walk around the local area, stopped for a bite to eat before heading back to shower, wifi etc before getting dressed for dinner.
The restaurant was good, the food and wine excellent and the company just as good, we left looking for live music to finish the evening but alas were up unable to find any so settled on a nightcap ;-
The following day saw us take a taxi to the restaurant we’d booked at the top of the hill, The Delicatesen , a fabulous place on its own without even eating anything…
After lunch we took a short walk down the hill to a local vineyard for some much needed wine tasting. The place was gorgeous, tree lined drive with the occasional sculpture, orchids and vines growing hand in hand and the winery at the end was all wood panelling and leather couches, very luxurious..
See, I told you it was beautiful didn’t I 😉
The following day we said goodbye to Sam as she was heading back to Capetown for some much needed retail therapy while Naomi and I were of to meet Craig and his family at a local vineyard where they had a food fair and car show.
Naomi and myself arrived early and took a walk round the cars….
For what turned out to be a great day out !!
Naomi and I headed back to the hostel to pack and collect washing before heading out for a light snack and a few beers, tomorrow we head south down the coast towards Capepoint 😉