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[personal profile] sarahx
We're now in Franschhoek in the Winelands. It proudly claims to be the foodie capital of South Africa, and from the evidence so far, it might well be justified in that claim.

On the way up here on Saturday, we visited Moyo, a huge restaurant with a spectacular buffet on the Spier wine estate between Cape Town Stellenbosch, for lunch. We got 'attacked' with white paint... which doesn't show up very well in this photo...

The estate is also home to cheetahs. They say they're cuddly and you can go and pet them – apparently their tendency is towards flight rather than fight – but we resisted the temptation to get up close and personal!

We're staying at a place called Le Quartier Français, a small (and not exactly cheap – thank goodness for the three nights for the price of two offer) hotel with 15 rooms set around gardens and a pool, and a handful of cottages. This is the view from just outside our room...

The town is in a truly stunning setting with mountains on all sides. Looks even better in the sunshine, and thus far we've been really lucky with the weather. We ate in the hotel's bistro restaurant on Saturday night – though we probably didn't need to after the amount we'd eaten at lunchtime!

On Sunday, we went wine tasting at the Môreson winery nearby, and had lunch at its very lovely restaurant, Bread & Wine (yes, we managed both), followed by the wine tasting. We left the car at the hotel and got a lift, and T was seduced into buying some of their finest brew, which should turn up at home once we're back there. More gratuitous pretty mountains...

For dinner, we went to Reuben's, just across the road, where the food was astonishingly good, and the bill came to about £50 – OK, so we did have wine by the glass rather than two bottles, but still, two courses and wine of that quality for £50? Not complaining there. My skate wing cooked in chilli and coconut milk was bloody lovely.

Another good thing about this place is that the room has a log fire, and there's an extensive DVD library at reception, so both evenings thus far we've ended up back in our room watching a daft movie with a bottle of wine in front of a blazing log fire. Bliss.

Beautiful sunshine again this morning, and we took ourselves off north to Paarl just to see where it is. There's not much there, though there is a rather bizarre monument to the Afrikaans language on the hillside. So we pootled up there to check out the view. And it was spectacular.

That's Table Mountain in the distance – judging by the map it's about 60km away. Lucky it was such a clear day.

There had also clearly been a bush fire recently – there was a fair bit of scorched land and quite a few blackened trees to get arty with.

On the advice of my bro Nick, we stopped off for lunch at the Boschendal winery on the way back. And then chilled out by the pool back at the hotel. Or at least I sat and read my book and T lay there dozing off and feeling rubbish (no prizes for guessing he's finally managing to relax – the inevitable cold has come out – though of course he's trying to persuade me it's actually swine flu). And one of the two hotel cats decided to come and join us, and spent a happy couple of hours snuggled up on my lap.

She even followed us when we came back inside and settled down for a nice snooze at the end of the bed! Cheeky tinker...

And now we're contemplating getting ready for dinner. This is the reason we came to stay in this place – the other hotel restaurant, The Tasting Room, which regularly features in the lists of the world's best restaurants. Eight course tasting menu, with matching wines, coming up. Here's hoping T's swine flu doesn't impair his senses too much...

Next stop, three nights in Hermanus. It's whale-watching territory, but not whale-watching season. Can't have everything, I guess, and I dare say the views of the sea from our room will be dramatic even if devoid of whales!


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July 2010

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