Franschhoek, South Africa

On my last day visiting with J & C, they had to work, so I got the keys to the car!!!

Wahoo!  Such fun….driving on the wrong side of the road AND with a stick shift!  After the first few initial gear grinds, I had no problems and nothing but fun blasting along the winding mountain pass from Stellenbosch to Franschhoek.

For the first time since I arrived in South Africa, the day was hot!  There was no air moving down the main street of tiny Franschhoek, so I kept popping into various shops to cool down.  Thank goodness there were a lot of them.  Once I’d walked the length of the town, I was famished.  So many fabulous restaurants to choose from, but finally opted for a table in a quaint little courtyard at the French Connection Bistro, and took in the surrounding conversations (yes – I eavesdrop) while cooling off with a glass of local bubbly.

Again, as everywhere else on this trip, the food was divine.  Ordered the Tarte au Chévre…oh the flavour!  When I finished,  had more than enough room for dessert so finished with the Apple Tart Tatin. (Yup – pie day!)  It took forever to get it, and I was starting to think the server forgot about me, when she finally brought it out.  And, well worth the wait…I think it was made from scratch freshly for me.  Topped with créme fraiche…heavenly!

After lunch, drove up some of the surrounding roads to take in some views of the town, rounded a corner, and sitting in the middle of the road were about 15 baboons!  So they do exist.  We kept seeing signs everywhere that said “Beware of Baboons”, but were starting to believe they were just put up for the tourists.  I pulled over and sat and watched them frolic and eat for about 20 minutes, as cars and trucks came barreling around the corner, screeching past them.  There were a couple of very large males that walked very close to the car (and yes – I quickly rolled up the windows!).

Carried on exploring, heading towards Paarl.  As I was approaching the valley where the town is situated, I could see a huge structure of some sort on a hill, so decided to check it out.  At 4:45 I pulled up to the gate of the Afrikaans Language Memorial, which closed at 5:00.  The sweet old security guard at the gate let me go in, even though last admittance was at 4:30.   This stunning monument, designed by architect Jan van Wijk and unveiled in 1975, overlooks the spectacular scenery that served as inspiration.  An inner chamber containing a seemingly small water feature echoed loudly as though in a cathedral, producing the most soothing sounds.  Nearby, the rounded outcrop of Pearl Mountain (Paarl Rock) shone in the sun.  Although only there for a short time, the monument and views were breathtaking.

What a wonderful way to spend my last day in this area of the country.

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~ by betweenthelatitudes on June 20, 2012.

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