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We landed in Cape Town, South Africa, on schedule at 6:55, cleared Customs and collected our bags. Our host for the week, Kevin Dennis was there to meet us.
Kevin was my International Sales and Service Manager, when we were working for Detroit Diesel Corporation. They have a beautiful home in Franschhoek, but live and work in Melbourne, Australia. They rent their SA house out through Air BnB and use it for 3 weeks vacation, in October each year. Kevin and I became very good friends through our 3 years of international travels together. We hadn’t seen each other since my retirement party, on January 31, 2007. He is now the Managing Director of Penske Commercial Vehicles for Australia, New Zealand and Asia. Apparently I taught him everything I knew and he took off from there ;-)! Lesley works as an Executive Administrative Assistant and creates her own jewellery.
The drive to Franschhoek took us around the mountains and through Stellenbosch, a town larger than Franschhoek famous for its world class wineries. The countryside is absolutely stunning. Franschhoek is in a valley surrounded by a very impressive mountain range on 3 sides. I’m not sure how many wineries are in an around the town, but there are a lot. When Kevin and Lesley first moved here, there were 13 guest homes; now there are 330! I’m sure there are some very nice ones, but you’d have to go a long way to top their’s.
Kevin had shown me photos of their home, Nooks Pied Attere (named after their cat, Chinook, or Nooks), when I was still working, and I had seen photos on their web site, but they don’t do it justice. They bought a small 2 bedroom cottage, but designed and expanded it into a stunning 3 bedroom home. Photos to come.
We got settled into our spacious, bright room, complete with ensuite bath and shower, had a tour of the rest of the house and then had some breakfast by the pool. We then drove into the village to pick up a few groceries and some wine. We took a walk up and down the main street, Heugenot St., with Kevin and Lesley pointing out the highlights, including Balon Rouge, the restaurant and guest house they owned when they first moved to South Africa in the 90’s.
We stopped at Cafe des Arts for tea and a sandwich, then went into a shop next door so that I could buy some shorts and flip flops. The weather was forecasted to be increasingly warm and I had no shorts or sandals with me.
After that, we went for a drive up into the mountainside and stopped at Richard Branson’s hotel/bar/restaurant, Mont Rochelle. We sat at the outside bar for a cold drink and then wandered around the grounds and took in the view. Wow….just wow!!
Back at the house, we took it easy and then Kevin BBQ’d an excellent dinner of chicken, boerewos (South African sausage) and ostrich meat. Excellent! We’re definitely going to buy some ostrich from Buckingham’s when we get home. We sat around talking for a while in the evening, but the long day got the best of us by about 9:30, which was much later than we thought we would last.
Tomorrow will be an easier day.