We enjoy visiting the towns around Cape Town. We have been to Riebeeck-Kasteel, Greyton, Franschhoek for the Bastille Day festivities and now Stellenbosch. We sleep over for a night, explore the town on foot and try to find a good local restaurant before heading home the next day. This time we reserved a room at De Hoek Manor, a guesthouse in the historic centre of Stellenbosch.
We know Stellenbosch well. I was a student there many years ago and Sandra not so many years ago. I remember walking past this house, just across the road from the Dutch Reformed Moederkerk which dates from 1722, many times as a student. A number of these historic homes, now restaurants and small shops, were then, it seemed to me as a young student, occupied by quiet old grey ladies with small dogs.
But on this wet, wintry night we would be guests! We received a hearty welcome from Lienkie and the staff. There was a fire going in the room as we entered. The house has been beautifully and sensitively restored and altered to serve as a guest house. After our friendly reception we were shown our room. We were
really impressed with the room on the first floor overlooking the church. The room was spacious and warm. On such a night, the under floor heating in the bathroom was really appreciated. But we did not have time to waste. It was getting dark and we wanted to use the available light to take a couple of photographs.
We again marveled at how tourism changed the world, from our perspective, for the better. The change that took place reminded us of our experience (A Street in Istanbul …) of the way in which Istanbul has changed. There are many restaurants, shops and bars in this heart of old Stellenbosch. We read the restaurant menus that were posted outside as we wandered through the streets. We like doing this and do not often find this in South Africa. After a couple of photographs, we enjoyed a glass of red wine under an umbrella with an infrared heater in the rain. Sitting outside in winter took our minds back to our experience in Amsterdam one night during a heavy snowfall. There we were amazed that people were out on the street with toddlers, babies in strollers or walking their dogs! In South Africa, when it rains, or when it is cold, you stay inside!
After our glass of wine, we were ready to decide on the restaurant for the night. We first returned to our room to freshen up. With De Hoek Manor situated in the centre of things, it was literally just around the corner. We enjoyed our complementary carafe of sherry that had been delivered to our room in our absence before bracing the cold again for dinner.
It turned out that our choice of restaurants was probably not the best, but we nevertheless enjoyed the outing. We decided to return with friends in summer. Leana told us at breakfast on Saturday morning about the food and wine tasting evenings in Church Street during the summer months. We shall return for this.