The magic of Franschhoek

South Africa is my country, but I’ve felt a kinship with certain places that is not based on language, culture or nationality. One of them is the island of Ithaca in Greece, where some of my ancestors are from. The other is Franschhoek, another ancestral home, but unfortunately one with no ancestral land.

Alistair and I would go to the Cheese Festival every year and make a weekend of it in Franschhoek, staying in a private cottage with our own pool. It was an escape from “hectic” Cape Town.

A few weeks ago we went back for the most beautiful wedding I’ve ever been to (except my own of course) and stayed in the same cottage. We took long walks, read our books, and of course ate out – a lot. Franschhoek has a ridiculously high concentration of exceptional restaurants.

I have to thank JamieWho who recommended Pierneef a La Motte, where I could eat every day for the rest of my life (try the Springbok, Red Wine & Truffle Risotto). We also went to Mange Tout at La Rochelle for spectacular views and traditional fine dining. Completely delectable and completely relaxing.

The wedding at Vrede en Lust was breathtakingly elegant and beautiful. Beyond words really. Charne and Andrew are uniquely kind and special people, never cynical or disingenuous. Time with them is always refreshing. So of course everyone cried, even me, and then we danced until late under the super-full moon.

When Al and I got back to the cottage, we couldn’t resist a 1am skinny-dip under the stars. Everything felt just right for the first time in a long time. That’s the magic of Franschhoek for me.

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