The first thing I did after waking up this morning, was trying to record my dreams. Unfortunately, I was so sleepy while doing it, that even the recordings were just slurry nonsense - like my dreams. I'll try again tomorrow. I greeted my wonderful hosts and finally, after five days (what happened to two nights only!?) set off again to continue my journey down to Cape Town.
I got lost in the back streets of Britannia Bay one last time (which makes no sense since the place is so small) and headed out to my next destination, Stellenbosch. With Mika, Relax, Take It Easy in the background I made my way to my first stop, Hopefield. It was a tiny little town with giant wind turbines on the horizon. I had one mission - to buy honey. I ended up getting some fine fynbos honey at Simply Bee(1).
Driving further I admired the landscape. The open yellow field with a tractor leaving dust standing, a few skinny cows, an old crooked fence and some eucalyptus trees in the distance. Picture perfect. As I got back onto the N7 again, also called the Cape Namibia Route, I wondered how my Dutch friend was doing with his cycling trip(2). I drove through a mountain pass with grapes and fruit trees down in the valley, the very beauty of which filling my heart with joy. This is how I remember the Western Cape to look like.
Stopping at another small town, Riebeek-Kasteel(3), my quote of the day appeared before me:
You can’t buy Happiness but You can Buy Plants, and that’s Pretty Much the Same Thing.
How delightful. That lured me straight into a colourful little eclectic shop with a South African-Buddhism fusion vibe going on, music switching between Johannes Kerkorrel and some Balinese-like music. I bought a lovely dress made by the locals. Passing The Gallery on the main street, my attention was grabbed by some striking desert-flower art, by artist Pippa Lea Pennington. What a charming little town. Small towns in the Western Cape are quite different from small towns in the North West (see day 1).
Drifting over the rolling golden fields with Tame Impala in the background I made my way south. As I drove over a hill, I came down on Wellington, welcoming me with grapes and palms and roses along the road and names like Soetendal (Sweet Valley) and Kanaan (Canaan), everything just breathtakingly beautiful! Passing through, I made my way to my next stop, Paarl, home of the Afrikaanse Taalmonument (Afrikaans Language Monument).
As you drive up the hill, you can see the undulating granite spires grazing the sky. I stopped next to the monument to prepare my picnic lunch and brew some coffee while gazing out over Paarl beneath. My avo-, smoked ham-, black pepper-and-paprika-goat's-cheese wrap, nearly got trampled by a flock of Dutch tourists coming to see what has become of their language. Most of the afternoon was spent walking around the monument, reading some of the poems along the path, before heading to my final destination for the day, the student town of Stellenbosch.
I had the best evening with my dear friend Elaine, who happened to be in town as she is currently busy with her Masters in Journalism. The catch-up was long overdue. Wine, wine and more wine and stories about boys and all the fun things girls like to talk about. The night ended with ice-cream at McDonald's among the drunken students, taking us full circle back to our undergrad days at Tukkies(4).
(1) Simply Bee also offers a wide variety of skin care products free from harsh chemicals for those with sensitive skin. They are big on bee conservation and responsible practices and even have an observation area where you can see and learn more about bees. Out of all their honey, the fynbos was my favourite, with fynbos beeing a distinctive type of shrubland vegetation found exclusively in the Cape area.
(2) Referring back to an earlier post, Day 3_Garies. (Side Note: by the time this entry was published, he would have already made his way to Zimbabwe.)
(3) Riebeek-Kasteel is named after the Dutch commander, Jan van Riebeeck, whom colonised the Cape in 1652 to set up a little way station at the tip of the continent for the fleets of the Dutch East India Company (VOC) making their way to the East - and that's how this colourful country was founded.
(4) Tukkies is the name used for The University of Pretoria where we became friends.