Alicia’s Travel Diary

Wednesday, 25 Aug 2010

Location: Hermanus/Stanford, South Africa

MapWe started the morning off slowly with breakfast and packing in order to head to our next destination, Stanford. After breakfast we opted for a last walk around the town and as we were walking we noticed something out in the bay. It wasn't whales, it was was smaller, or rather, they were smaller. There was a whole pod or school of something swimming out in the bay. We watched as they eventually circled back closer to the shore we were standing on. Mike got out his camera and put on his telephoto lens to try to determine what we were looking at. Finally, Mike exclaimed that they were dolphins! A whole pod of dolphins was swimming through the bay with several whales tailing behind them. There must have been at least a hundred dolphins leaping through the water, we had no idea what they and the whales were doing, but if we figure it out we will post an update.

We left Hermanus and took a detour down to the Hemel-en-Aarde (Heaven and Earth) valley to stop at some wineries in the area. We stopped at two award winning wineries and left slightly tipsy with three bottles of wine and a bottle of the best olive oil I've ever tasted. I can only imagine that we will be solidly drunk for the full two days we spend in Franschhoek in the wine country. Our book told us that there was a great spot to have lunch at then end of the wine route we were on so we followed the road to the end and turned off on a little dirt road that lead to a cottage deeper in the valley. I don't think I have the eloquence to put into words how lovely and delicious our lunch was at Mogg's Country Cookhouse. We sat outside on a little porch at a picnic table overlooking a pond, the valley, and the mountains in the distance. At the picnic table next to us was a older couple from Johannesburg with 5 golden retrievers that were alternating between sitting quietly in the shade and running around the yard and swimming in the pond. The older couple was eventually joined by another older couple who brought another golden retriever and a three legged black lab. In addition, the place already housed a chocolate lab and two smaller dogs so it was quite the animal circus. The older man who arrived later was a fricken hoot! He constantly added commentary to every situation saying things like "do i look like a man who only has one glass of wine?" When we weren't monopolizing the attention of the dogs we were chatting with the folks at the table next to us. The older guy knew someone who raised Alaskan Malamutes in Wisconsin, so he knew exactly where we were from. The lunch we experienced would have been wonderful even if the food itself was awful due to the beautiful scenery and the fun company of the two couples and their dogs, but the food is what really put it over the top. Our meal was delicious! We also drank one of the bottles of wine that we picked up on the road; because, after all, we can't take it all back home with us! We lingered around after lunch talking with the people and ended up being included in photos that were being taken to put up on the restaurants website, how cool is that?

Eventually we made our way to Stanford and arrived at the Mosaic Lagoon Lodge. It's pretty far out in the country and we have amazing views of the lagoon right out our door and then views of the mountains beyond as well. We have our own little cabin and porch and plenty of activities to choose from while we are here. We relaxed for the rest of the afternoon and took a dip in the heated pool before dinner. We had dinner in the main lodge and met a couple who moved here from Germany 8 years ago to retire and ended up opening a small guesthouse in Camps Bay in Cape Town.