Welcome back to my weekly Journal Entry series. It’s hard to believe a whole week has gone by since I published my previous journal entry, which ended up being way more personal than my normal content and probably a good way to dive back into more personal sharing on this website. I actually had a Barcelona travel post planned for this week, but I ended up running out of time, so keep an eye out for it next week if you’re interested in a list of 5 things to do in Barcelona solo.
This week ended up being really busy and I did a lots of nice things, so I have a lot to tell you about. I know last week’s post was really all about feelings and emotions and my deepest thoughts, but I had a lot of feelings and emotions and my deepest thoughts to write about. I also had a lot to catch you up on in terms of my summer travels. This week I’m really just sharing more of what I got up to. I anticipate every week’s journal entry will be different because I’m a human person with many layers and really, how often can I write about my feelings, you know?
So let’s pick up where we left off last week. The weekend was an absolute write-off for me. After unpacking my emotions on Friday, I went out for a couple of drinks and a late-night burger with friends and then that was me done for the next 48 hours. I think my body and mind just collapsed in a heap and I didn’t leave the house the entire weekend. I didn’t really even watch tv. I just hung about, series on in the background, scrolling, checking property listings online, napping and ordering in. Pathetic, but needed I guess.
This week I felt much better and the days absolutely flew by. On Monday I spend the night at Majeka House, a 5 star boutique hotel in Stellenbosch. I’d been invited to learn more about the hotel’s Makaron Restaurant and their farm-to-table ethos and obsession with hyper-local produce. The visit included a trip to Mason Farms, where the chef sources most of his organic seasonal vegetables, to see the whole process from start to finish – literally from the farm to our tables. In fact, everything on the table was sourced within a 25km radius – including the exceptional Vriesenhof wines (Chardonnay lovers you need to get on the Vriesenhof train!)
I stayed in the famous Flamingo Room – a dusty pink and geometric print wallpapered dream, with a flamingo feature wall and plush velvet jewel tone scatter cushions. The room opens onto a splash pool, which would be a dream in the sweltering Stellenbosch summer. Majeka House is famous for its breakfast spread – a buffet table with a selection of pastries, homemade yogurts, fresh pressed juices and a hot menu to order. The whole stay really did wonders for my mood. By the way, they have a spring special running until the end of September, so have a look at their website if you need a luxurious break.
I spent the next night at Grande Roche Hotel in Paarl, to experience their new restaurant, Viande. The historic property has incredible views across the vineyards to the mountains from their Terrace Suites, and although the view is stunning now, it must be breathtaking in Spring! Dinner at Viande was absolutely delicious – it’s brasserie style food done fancy, by Chef Pete Goffee-Wood. Although I normally try not to eat too much meat, I had the bone marrow toast for starters and T-bone steak for mains. My mouth is actually watering as I type this – the bone marrow with herby salad, red onion and capers! The bernaise sauce with the steak *chef’s kiss*! My only regret is that I don’t have my normal appetite right now, so by the time my chocolate Sundae arrived for desert I could hardly lift the spoon to my mouth. I’m definitely visiting again in the summer and it’s the kind of restaurant I can see my dad loving – it’s ‘proper food’ as he likes to call it. Grande Roche is actually also running a Spring special until the 31st of October, so visit their website for details on that.
On Wednesday night I joined the Cape Winemakers Guild for a tasting of some of the wines that will be on offer at their annual auction on the 5th of October at Spier in Stellenbosch. The Cape Winemakers Guild Auction showcases the finest and most exclusive wines produced in small batches by some of South Africa’s top winemakers. It’s open to the public – all you have to do is register and pay a deposit of R5000. (Yes, it’s refundable – it’s really just to ensure that people who attend aren’t just there for the free wine and food with absolutely no intention of getting involved) Can you imagine how much fun it would be to round up your wine-loving friends, put together a communal kitty and bid on a case of something amazing at the auction? Sounds like a fun day out to me! We ended up drinking so much incredible wine at the tasting that I only got home at 1am and had a killed headache all day Thursday. Classic me.
On Thursday night I had dinner with some friends at Bao Down in Gardens. It’s one of my top 5 restaurants in Cape Town right now and every single thing on the menu is just absolutely delicious. My favourite dishes are the prawn toast and the cucumber salad, but you could literally put anything from their kitchen down in front of me and I would be most grateful.
And that brings us to today. I am feeling pretty round in the face after that week of indulgence, but I won’t let that stop me from starting the weekend at right at Café Caprice this evening. I’ll admit, Caprice is not my normal weekend haunt, BUT they have bottomless Boschendal bubbly for R190 every Friday from 5pm to 8pm and who am I to look such a gift horse in the mouth? How much bubbly can you realistically drink in 3 hours, you ask? Oh, I think I will get my money’s worth.
This weekend is going to be all about studying because I need to get through my PADI Open Water Diver Digital Certification before I leave for Mauritius on Tuesday. I’m going to be staying at the Zilwa Attitude Hotel in the north of Mauritius and completing my dive course with Dodo Divers, who are right next door. I became interested in doing my PADI after I doing a discovery dive with Dodo when I was in Mauritius in May. I researched getting certified in Thailand or Egypt, but in the end I decided to head back to where I started. Mauritius is just so close and easy to get to, I absolutely LOVE the Zilwa and I was so comfortable with the Dodo team during my discovery dive. I’ll be sharing a full blog post about what to expect, what the course entails and how much it costs when I get back, but feel free to send me any other questions you might have about PADI and Mauritius in the meantime.
That’s it from me for this week,