Saturday, August 27
Welcome to Franschhoek
We had a sad farewell with our Manna Bay friends (i.e. the staff) this morning before making a couple of stops on our way to the final leg of our journey. We really enjoyed getting to know Madre, the general manager, as well as Simon, Pierce, and Shadrock who served our breakfast and turned down our rooms at night. To the person, they were incredibly kind and friendly and went above and beyond to make us feel very much at home. We had great conversations about what it's like to live in South Africa since apartheid and we walked away with a general understanding that they have many of the same struggles the US has in terms of the role of government helping those who need it and the role of the individual to take responsibility for themselves.
Before leaving Cape Town, we stopped at an art gallery we had heard about and took a final drive up to Signal Hill to appreciate all the natural beauty once more of this wonderful city. We stopped to have lunch at the V & A Waterfront and to pick up a piece of art and an African music cd since we live here and all.
We arrived at lovely Franschhoek in the Wine Lands around 4 in the afternoon and got settled in our room before doing a little exploring. Franschhoek (means French Corner) was originally settled by French Hugenots in around 1685 and today is one of the most visited wine and food destinations in South Africa. It's quite beautiful here with rolling hills and vineyards and the main village is a little touristy but lots of art galleries, shops and streets with quaint and cozy cottages. Lots of boutique hotels and fine restaurants as well. It's your basic Foodie Heaven. We had a slight case of Mannabay Withdrawal when we arrived here at the Residence Klein Oliphants Hoek. It's very nice but much more antiquie than we prefer. We were so pleased with the contemporary style and amenities at the first place that we had to just make a minor attitude adjustment. John made a good point that this is probably a good thing to help us get in the mindset to go home later this week. We could have easily lived at Mannabay the rest of our natural lives.
We had an incredible dinner at Le Bon Vivant (get ready for lots of French words I'll be throwing at you) and met a lovely couple from the UK who have a vacation home here. They gave us several tips of what to see and do so tomorrow we start their list. We'll be visiting a winery and checking out another fancy schmancy restaurant at a vineyard.