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Local travels: Hermanus

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It had been 15 years since our last reunion, a bunch of old varsity friends getting together for a major catch up to fill in the blanks left untold on Facebook. All we had were three days in Hermanus and we needed to make them count!

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Day 1: The Sisterhood gathers at La Vierge (the virgin) in the Hemel-en-Aarde valley – an irony not entirely lost on this bunch of middle-aged broads!

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After some wine tasting we settled down to lunch. The 2011 Shiraz is apparently drinking well this year, as am I, so I drank quite a lot of it.

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The restaurant is owned and run by Ultimate Braai Master champions, The Tikka Boys. I was skeptical, but my rib-eye with roast carrots and mushrooms was good, and the portion generous.

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The others had burgers and said the patties had a bobotie flavour which they enjoyed. I traded my sweet potatoes wrapped in phyllo pastry for an onion ring, but it was a poor trade. The chocolate pud looked good but the cheeseboard I had was disappointing. Lovely views, friendly service and good coffee made it a pleasant experience on the whole and the weekend was off to a great start!

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Our accommodation was superb. We stayed in the lap of luxury because our friend Deborah is connected and knows the owners of this gorgeous house, who kindly rented the place to us for a song.

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I called ‘special needs’ and scored the private flat in the garden for easier access to the great outdoors and my nicotine addiction. It was like staying in a five star hotel, complete with swimming pool on my doorstep.

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Day 2: The village of Hermanus lies between the mountains and the deep blue sea, making it a hikers paradise. We chose the Cliff Path which is long and flat and winds for 12 kilometers from one end of town to the other. Despite the developed coastline, the views remain spectacular and frequently stopped us in our tracks.

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All the walking, talking and gawking, combined with the fresh sea air soon made us hungry – we needed to find food…

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And where better to find a healthy meal than at a local food market. The weekly Hermanus Country Market was buzzing. It’s well supported and well stocked with local, home made fare. We bought pies, roast vegetables, olives, cheese and grapes which we took home and ate in our cozzies around the pool.

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Country music at a country market.

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There’s no better way to end a long summer’s day than with sun-downers on the beach. To our east coast friends the thought of the sun setting over the ocean was obscure, so we took them down to Grotto beach and watched as it slipped away. When it was dark and they were convinced, we walked over to Duchies where we wrapped ourselves in warm blankets and feasted on hot tomato soup, and plates of grilled calamari and fresh angelfish. It’s not the best food I’ve eaten, but their location right on the beach is pretty spectacular.

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Day 3: While the ladies walked the beach I strolled around the village to window shop, listen to the locals and watch the few remaining tourists still hopeful of seeing a whale.

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The shops in the vicinity of Marine drive are fun to explore – there’s a touristy market area and a whole bunch of small boutiques with gorgeous clothes, jewellery, knickknacks and art. And a lot of restaurants. Most shops stay open until 3pm on a Sunday.

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For a good coffee alfresco, try these guys in the gardens outside the Whale House Museum.

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We said our goodbyes over lunch at the Fisherman’s Cottage, a cute little restaurant tucked away next to Market Square. My friends had battered hake and chips which looked good, I had a seafood curry which was great. I enjoyed every morsel – and you can’t beat a curried morsel!

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Despite its proximity to Cape Town (only an hour and a half’s drive), Hermanus remains a charming seaside village with a strong holiday vibe. It was good to spend time with old friends and explore new sights and sounds. And despite not visiting in season, we still had a whale of a time!

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4 Comments

  1. Irene

    Gill, what an awesome time you had! Love Hermanus, and would not mind a visit to Paternoster too! Did you notice that all five ‘broads’ seem to have blue eyes? Just saying xxx

  2. Moegie

    Wonderful Jo, as usual, gorgeous photos + THE WITTY BANTER – ALWAYS (oh shit hit the caps) love your blogs – so now await Paternostra (haha get it) with bated breath!!!

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