Table Mountain

I think when you have moved around a bit, you learn a few things.  One, moving doesn’t always take you away from the best people you know; it often introduces you to them.  Two, there are great hairdressers, doctors, restaurants etc. everywhere and you will find them.  Three, when you are the new person, you need to make an effort.  Folk in your new town already have friends, you don’t.  You need to get out there and make friendships happen.  I have loved making friends as an adult because when social time is limited, you really only want to spend it with those who add value, and I have found that those folk are easier to recognize as you get older.

And, finally, with the right attitude, moving can be more adventure than traumatic event. Since moving to Paarl we have discovered that if you get into your car and drive for an hour or two in any direction, you will find yourself in a totally different world. Literally, as you leave Paarl the landscape changes; the vegetation differs and a new adventure begins.

Driving from Paarl via Malmesbury and Darling to the Westcoast is always one of my favourites; places like Paternoster feed my soul in the quietest quiet.  Or we drive from Paarl via Malmesbury and this time head towards Moorreesburg, then on to Piketburg, and start to climb into the fabulous Cederberg, which gives you snow in winter and crystal clear rivers to camp next to in the summertime.  Or we head in the opposite direction and take off over the Franschhoek pass towards Grabouw and make our way to Hermanus and Stanford to see the whales and push our toes into the sand.  Or, when we need the bright lights of a big city, we turn onto the N1 and forty five minutes later we are in Cape Town, enjoying all the Mother City has to offer.

Pretty Girl had been asking for a while to go to Table Mountain to ride the cable car.  The last time Dear Husband and I could remember going up ourselves was as children so we decided that after seven years in the Cape, that big old mountain was getting a visit from us.  We waited till the first warm sunny day this “spring” and as it happened to fall on a public holiday, we made our way up Table Mountain with like a gazillion other people.

The queues that we saw initially were very discouraging.  Dear Husband and I split up, I went and bought the tickets and joined him later in the queue for the cable car (yes I do know that you can buy them online, I just didn’t).  We were surprised that despite the volumes on the day we were up the mountain in less than an hour.  Let me just say, there is a lot of merit in the thinking that “forewarned is forearmed”, so here is my big tip: if you are travelling up the mountain with kiddos, take snacks, and juice, and jackets and sunscreen and wooly hats and obviously a backpack. You will no doubt look ridiculous, but the queues could be endless, the weather may be different at the top and it’s a long way back to the car.

The kiddos loved the cable car ride.  The floor turns so you do a full 360 on the way up.  Our day was clear and gorgeous and the views breathtaking.  Pretty Girl was delighted she had prayed in the good weather for us.  There is a real wonder in seeing your child discover something for the first time.

Pretty Girl’s bestie who came with us is from Holland, and she couldn’t believe that all the land, all around, on every side of the mountain was still South Africa. The girls screeched with delight at the dassies, the wind, being higher than the clouds. It was such fun to watch them.

 

We had lunch at the Table Mountain Café which was really fabulous.  My expectations had been very low, and I had assumed it was another day of the overpriced toasted sandwiches and chips that you are generally accosted with at large public venues.  To say I was delighted with the fresh, healthy menu items at the self-service stations is understating.  I had babotie (I was really having a South Africa Day), with crisp just made salads, it was incredibly yummy; Dear Husband had a handmade spinach pie, which had just come out of the oven and was equally tasty.  The kiddos each had a pizza slice, which they watched being made as part of the Café’s kiddies lunch special.

We made use of the fantastic Kids Season Special, which is on until October 31st, 2012, you can get more information here but the gist is that  this offer lets TWO children ride free with every paying adult.  The kiddos also got a little treasure hunt map to do and two vouchers, one for a treat in the shop and one for a cake pop in the restaurant.  Although not a cheap outing, it really was worth it.  We spent about an hour and a half on the mountain; we had lunch, took photos and then began to freeze.  When the kiddos started turning blue we decided to make our way down, and they slept all the way home.  Bliss!

It was a glorious day, one on which we felt truly proudly South African. And let’s be real, we can all do with more of that.  So if you are coming our way, head up the mountain and drop some dreams from the top, you never know where they might land.

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Die Rooi Rok

This September we have lived in the Boland for seven years.  We first left seaside Ballito with three month old Pretty Girl for the Franschhoek Valley in 2005, but welcomed Handsome to our very first owned-by-us-home in Paarl almost five years later.   With friends and school friends in both towns and Pretty Girl’s school half way between the two, we live life across the length and breadth of the R45 Paarl-Franschhoek route and after seven years the beauty of the Boland can still catch me off guard.

In this new series on pomegranate days, I am going to celebrate this town, and by town I mean the greater Paarl-Franschhoek-Stellenbosch area, that I now call home and show you all my fabulous favourites.

Visit them, enjoy them, hope you dig them too.

Less than 6km from my house is The Rooi Rok Farmstall which only opens when there is fruit to sell, sometimes plums, sometimes grapes and sometimes strawberries.

It is from September(ish) to December(ish) each year that this fine old lady really dresses up for the dance as she welcomes in strawberry season!

I was delighted to notice that at the Rooi Rok the wooden windows have been flung wide open, bursting yet again with huge sweet strawberries.  I think they only opened again last week, or at least that is when I first saw the all too familiar bunting, vintage shoes, battered frames, huge flowers and scarecrows that decorate the farmstall front.  I think the arrangement changes every day, sometimes I drive past just to see what’s new.  Besides the obvious, you can also buy strawberry dressing, dried strawberry fruit rolls and jars of strawberry jam which have little red and white heart cloths on the lids.  In each punnet of strawberries you buy, a fruit seller in a big hat places a small photocpied recipe for you to make,  it’s a good reminder of homemade care, part of the joy of living in a (not so) small town.

I love these gorgeous strawberries that the kiddos eat till their mouths are pink and the juice is dripping from their elbows.  I love that this farmstall stays so true to its old worldly self, despite being only half a kilometer away from a mall. Mostly though, I love that Pretty Girl thinks that buying fruit off the side of the road is still pretty cool.

Time to get out that recipe for homemade strawberry ice cream to eat with pink girly meringues…

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