Garden Route Trip Day 7: Franschhoek

By 20:20

The drive to Franschhoek was about an hour and half long from Hermanus and the majority of it was spent on a mountain pass, meandering up the mountains and looking out at all the vineyards in bloom. All the lush shades of green between hills and valleys was definitely a sight to behold. There's a number of look-out points on the way to stop and just absorb the beauty (with a lot of windiness).

Beyond the mountains lay Franschhoek and our first stop was the Franschhoek Motor Museum. Now this museum is made up of cars owned by Anthony Rupert. They've basically collected all these cars and housed them in this museum so that the public can get up close to them - all in once place. I wasn't too keen on this - I mean all cars look the same to me and their purpose is really just to get me from A to B.

But this museum was really something! They showcase cars of old up to the modern day super cars. Because of twitter I kept myself entertaining tweeting stories about the cars that my boyfriend told me about. I was more impressed that you can see the evolution of cars in this museum - basically, how the first cars became what I drive today.

All through the trip, our restaurant choices were based on walking through the main street of the town and checking out their menus before settling on a spot. This was no different. We parked on the main street and walked through the quaint town. I imagine this is what France would be like - old buildings emanating history, cafes' seating areas overflowing onto the pavements, and trees, plants and flowers making the little establishments and pavements look so pretty.

We spotted Reuben's which we decided to save for supper that night as this was the only one open on a Monday from a lot of the more famous Franschhoek restaurants. Most of the cafes have a french bistro style menu and we decided to go for something a little different at Essence. We enjoyed sitting outside and embracing the unique Franschhoek ambience while munching on a rump strips sandwich and a crumbed chicken wrap.

We still had a lot planned - like wine tasting - so we hurried to Maison d'Ail where we spent the last night of our trip. I think the exhaustion of travelling hit me as I passed out on the soft comfy bed as soon as I got there!

Once I woke up, we realised that a lot of wine farms offering wine tasting close on a Monday and also close early! We opted for Grand Provence as it was open until 7pm when the sun is just beginning to set. We arrived at Grand Provence slightly disappointed because the last cellar tour was at 3 so all we had was the wine tasting. We chose the 7 wine tasting option for R50 per person where they brought out the different types of wine offered at the farm. They gave us more than enough to sip on while we enjoyed some sunshine in the outside garden-like area. Although I would have preferred the cellar tour, the "waiter" brought us wine, explained it and gave us enough time to sip and enjoy it before the next one came out. I also thought the setting made it quite a romantic event for just the two of us. Bonus! We asked about tasting some of their other wines before buying and ended up tasting 10 different wines in total. We left very drunk and with the wines we liked packaged to take back home.

As the sun started to set, we eagerly rocked up at Reuben's asking for a table, only to be told that they were fully booked. We had to resort to The Lounge Bar at Le Quartier Francais (The Tasting Room was closed). While sipping on some champagne to celebrate a great road trip, we tried a lot of their fancy tapas style foods. Some of the deliciousness were the crois-dog, pecking-style guinea fowl pancakes and my favourite: suckling pig and bacon crumble. I must say that everything I had was delicious - a far cry from my reviews of similar restaurants in Joburg. We even received some complimentary cinnabon ice-cream - not at all how you imagine it to taste - it wasn't too sweet and simplistically put, it was more like a vanilla ice-cream with shards of cinnabon folded in.

With all that wine and champagne, we had a restful last night back at Maison d'Ail. The next morning, we were blown away by the breakfast selection of fruits, yogurts, cereals and pastries - all beautifully plated on a buffet table to take back to where we were sitting. The hot breakfast was made up of the standard stuff and I asked not to be given a tomato. I immediately regretted it when the food arrived as the hot breakfast is served so differently with fried cherry tomatoes which I love!

The owners (Mr and Mrs Garlick) came over to say hi and we surprisingly were able to have some really interesting conversations with them. But alas, our Garden Route Trip had come to end and we had to head on back to the airport and pretty soon, back to normality.

I reminisced about the trip all through the short drive to Cape Town International airport. At Avis, I realised I had even become attached to the little Figo which held all my sea shells from the beaches we visited along the Garden Route. The Slow Lounge was filled with an air of sadness about leaving behind a week of excitement, spontaneity and pigging out on tastiness. On the two hour flight to Joburg, even the plane felt sad for us - moving unsteadily from the turbulence and even created a bumpy landing for us. Since I've been back, all I can say is that I really miss the fun times had at the Eastern Cape and Western Cape this week. It is definitely a trip I can recommend to all.

You Might Also Like