Off the beaten track in Franschhoek

Today we made a day trip to Franschhoek; a mere 140 km drive (2x). Instead visiting wine cellars and all the other things most tourists do we decided to go a bit off the beaten track with the exception of a lunch at Reuben. Reuben (named after ‘Le Chef’) is best described as an upper middle class etablissement. But what surprised us was that the prices were very reasonable; well … the pork belly plus veggies, caramelized ginger and ‘pommes purée’ (=mashed potato) was not only delicious but also significant cheaper (despite more quantity) than at a restaurant in our village… Honestly; this was quite a refreshing surprise. Sorry Stanfordians, I had to mention this.

Virtually all tourists visiting Franschhoek stay in the main road but it’s really worthwhile to make a detour around the village which was, a bit more than 300 yrs ago, the place where the Dutch Governor Simon van der Stelt designated as the area where French Hugenots who were known with vinoculture could start growing grapes and produce wine.

Visitors prefer to park in the main road and today it was, as usual, full and some kept on driving up and down the road until a parking spot came available. We turned to the right and could park just around the corner. Walking along the parallell roads of the main street provides a different picture of the village (second picture) with gravel roads including potholes and all the other things of a typical village in the Western Cape. But property is still extreme expensive despite the fact that seemingly for whatever reason more houses/estates/etc. are on the market than a few years ago.

Anyway if you google for Franschhoek you’ll find plenty of information for the ordinary tourist but if you want to discover the real Franschhoek just turn right or left in the main street.

The bottom picture is made from a touristic hotspot on the magnificent Franschhoek Pass between Villiersdorp and Franschhoek.

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Architecture; The original Cape Dutch

Cape Dutch architecture is very much identified with the rounded gables as one sees on pictures of wine estates in the Western Cape. But the original Cape Dutch homesteads in this part of South Africa did not have these gables but they had nicely rounded roofs. Local architect Maureen Wolters designed an original for friends of us but with all modern comfort. This new farm house is in its finishing building stages and is not only locally build but also the building materials were, as much as possible, locally sourced.

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Rock Art from Sam

The Indonesian born artist Sam Siyahaya, nowadays living in Holland, painted this rock for us during his stay with us sometime ago. We named it Sammy and Sammy is cool.. People who are acquainted with the Klaas Voogds area near Robertson (our previous place) will recognize the Langeberg Mountains in that part of the Western Cape.

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Fan Aloe

Or Aloe plicatillis originates from the fynbos area between Franschhoek and Stellenbosch in South Africa and is naturally distributed throughout simular environments in the Western Cape. Unnaturally it also ended up in our garden…

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Aloe time in the Western Cape

The Western Cape in South Africa is a Winter rainfall area. It’s the season for the endemic plants and some aloes originate  from this province. Here is one at the entrance of Mosaic Farm (Spookhuis – Haunted House) next to the lagoon near our village!

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Winter flowering aloes; the season has started.

We have about twenty different aloe species in the garden; all native to Africa and all genuine species (no nursery hybrids). Part of it is Winter flowering and virtually all of these originate from the Western Cape. Here is one in our border along the street.

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THE Garden at Fraai Uitzicht 1798

Today I checked the garden we created 2 years ago at Guesthouse Fraai Uitzicht 1798 (4* rated) in the Klaas Voogds Valley near Robertson in the Western Cape, South Africa.

It still looks good despite a little backlog in maintenance (due to ‘awesome busy season’) but at the moment 2 staff members weeding. Soon we plant the ‘filling up’.

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No petrol station

Baardskeerdersbos is a small hamlet somewhere in nowhere in the Overberg region in the Western Cape, South Africa. The nearest petrol station is about 30 kilometers away. Donkey transport for people and goods recommended. It’s green over there!

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Pictures of the square yard 13: Thandi; be a child again

The Dutch writer Simon Carmiggelt made a living by observing from his ‘own’ chair and table on a terrace in Amsterdam. He wrote about objects he saw, about people and interaction between them, the sky, the weather and so on. And his stories never became boring; he could even write five or six pages about lightning a sigaret; between taking a match and the first inhale of smoke…

I became inspired by this when sitting on two terraces; one in Somerset-West (Store Cafe) and at the terrace of Thandi in Elgin. I made a selection of 20 images (10 of each venue). Each serie I begin the  gate and you may make your own story. My story is in each individual picture.

To provide this serie with an own signature I added HDR-toning to each picture.

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