Hello, dear reader! 🙂
It’s once again the weekend, so it’s time to scroll through my latest visual highlights. Last weekend was absolutely lovely as we spent most of it in Wellington. First, we got through the usual end-of week things…
Friday, 20 January 2017: Quiet evening with the doggies
Top-left is Bertie’s happy grin when his dad said he could come with to collect me from the bus station that eve, bottom left is my glee at passing Shaw Academy’s second weekly Photoshop diploma assignment with full marks, and the right is Bassie and her dad watching the cricket on TV. Yes. Much excitement!
Saturday, 21 January 2017: What to do in Wellington during summer
We were up bright and early on Saturday as we had a great many things to do that day. We managed to wait until the respectable hour of 9am before heading off for breakfast though – we opted for Reload in Parklands. See Husband sugaring his cappuccino in front of the ‘bokkie wall’ on the left, my caramel latte top right, and the chocolate-strawberry waffle and breakfast wrap beneath. I’m sure you can guess who ate which plate of food!
After a few of the usual weekend chores it was time to pack our bags and hit the road, Jack! We were expected at Val du Charron in Wellington, which we last visited in Winter ( click here for a reminder). This time it was a sunny summer’s day with not a cloud in sight.
We were making such good time that we stopped off at The Bell Inn while winding through the outskirts of town. Typical cool, dark interior.
Husband was more than happy to hop aboard this big red tractor and demonstrate how he’d drive it. Teehee.
Then we were there! The driveway up to the parking lot and the five-star Coachhouse where we stayed last time are on the left, with the Local Grill restaurant and four-star Guesthouse to the right.
Once checked in, we were escorted to our room – it was hidden behind the impressive wine display. See our bed top right, and both of us enjoying the view from the balcony – Husband with a beer, me with a Terbodore coffee he kindly brewed for me.
Look. at. that. VIEW! This was snapped while standing on our balcony, gazing out towards the Hawequa mountains.
The stripy zebra artwork in the Guesthouse conference room is very pretty. We peeped in on our way to the piano, where Husband taught me to play a quick tune before we scampered out into the sunshine.
Next up: An explore of the grounds! We didn’t even think of strolling around and seeing the vineyard when we visited in Winter. It’s such a lovely spot we didn’t leave Val du Charron once during our stay.
Ahh. It was a hot day (Wellington gets so hot it’s sometimes called ‘Hellington’ – my former boss Justin grew up in the town, so he knows), so once we’d settled into the room and completed that quick explore of the grounds it was off to the pool with us! We were surprised to be the only ones there. The loungers beside the pool were comfy and sun-warmed, just to spot to dry off after a few dips.
Here you can see some of our relaxing in and around the pool.
Dinner on the patio at Piza e Vino. Every single table was full by the time we left, around 9:30pm. See Husband’s mojito bottom left and the delicious Biscotti milkshake I was lucky enough to try. There are many more words to describe it. Click here for my full review on Biz!
The food! It’s worth the hour’s drive from Cape Town if you’re going for lunch, I’d say. Have what we had: The Parmesan-crusted zucchini bites with honey-mustard dipping aioli are left top and bottom, the Sesame Street chicken salad with feta-stuffed Peppadews in the middle, and the dark chocolate torte with ice cream on the right. And don’t forget to order mains…
I went for a half-half pizza pie – that’s Porky the Pig on the left half and the Frango Tandoori on the right, with Husband’s Fettuccini di Mare. All lip-smackingly good.
The Piza e Vino patio was also the ideal spot from which to snap the setting sun. There’s just no better scenery to me!
I saved the best for last. Gorgeous colours.
Sunday, 22 January 2017: Exploring Bain’s Kloof Pass
The breakfast options for Val du Charron’s overnight guest are all served in the Local Grill and included in your stay (apart from any speciality coffees, of course).
The breakfast view, our morning food and the coffee that got me going for the day.
We’d not yet attempted the Bain’s Kloof Pass trip, so set off to do so after checking out. I took a few photos of the scenery and signage along the way. It must be super scary at night as there are no lights along the way, it’s rumoured to be haunted, and those low rock walls you see are the only thing between the road and the deep valleys below.
We even spotted a troop of baboons that scarpered off into the bushes when we came close – apart from this fellow, who was examining his paw on a tree stump.
That’s all, folks! It’s Husband’s birthday this Sunday so expect pics of him in the birthday hat in next week’s update. 🙂
*Disclaimer: Obviously our accommodation and meals at Val du Charron were part of our review package. All else came from our own pockets. All enjoyed equally.
It’s well and truly winter in Cape Town, which means things are for the most part sad and grey. One way to revive your spirits when all around you is gloomy and glum is to get away from the weekend, as we just did, with no better town than Wellington to do so. It’s just over an hour from home, making it the perfect ‘feels so far away but doesn’t take all day to get there’ destination.
Click here for my official review, as the professional pics do a much better job than these from our phones, below…
The detour-filled roadtrip
If you’re only going away for the night, you don’t want to leave your leaving time to late – you also don’t want to drive straight there, missing all the sights on the way. Notice all the pretty trees and puffy clouds just a little off the daily commute-beaten track.
Instead of travelling directly from A to Z we took a slight detour through Paarl. Look at the wonderful waterwheel I’d have missed if my eyes were simply on the road ahead (note: Obviously this is a better idea for the passenger than the driver).
The reason for our Paarl detour? We’d popped into KWV for a wine-tasting last Father’s Day ( click here for a reminder) and Husband was keen to try out their brandy tasting. He went for the ‘brandy and Huguenot chocolate pairing’ – all this for R55, and you get French chocolate as it melts on the tongue faster than our SA brands, so is better suited to bringing our those brandy flavours.
Husband savouring those KWV flavours.
Relaxing in your room
We were soon back on the road and found Val du Charron in no time – that palm tree-lined driveway is quite impressive!
Look how lovely! Alas the wind was just too chilly for us to even consider sitting on that deck, but I think it’s just the thing on a Summer’s day.
That tree is super enormous. Doesn’t look it as there’s a palm tree cut off in front of it but take my word for it. Shaded almost the entire Coach House.
I think Husband was quite pleased with our room in the Coach House.
Beautiful stained-glass work above the pool – so cold I can guarantee you’d get ill from a full dip in Winter, but must be the most amazing thing in summer. (Note to self: Return to Val du Charron in Summer!)
Welcome to the five-star Coach House suite. The pool is positively giving off frost it’s so chilly. But beautiful, sure.
There’s a natural rock wall inside, behind me, and you can just see the bathroom in the distance.
Of course we tried out the bathrobes in our room much later that night, after a soak in the tub. It’s all part of the reviewing process.
I was soon warming up with a coffee Husband kindly created from the in-room plunger. Actually downed two cups as he made a full ‘plunge’. Plus gobbled up the crunchy ginger biscuits in the kitchen area while gazing at that remarkable view.
Husband in front of the internal rock wall (and TV). We watched a spot of rugby, then freshened up to go sightseeing…
Exploring the town
These kitties were willing to pose for a photo or two while sunning themselves on the tin roof.
This was the prettiest thing in the town of Wellington. Almost everything was closed, at 3pm. On a Saturday afternoon. Certainly not a bustling town.
And so, back we went to Val du Charron. Such a truly tranquil setting.
Wine tasting is included in your stay at Val du Charron – go just to hear the stories behind their three flagship wines: Four White Legs, Erasmus and the Black Countess. I summarised them here if you just can’t wait.
We met this resident doggy while wandering around the grounds. He wasn’t interested in any form of communication with us.
In fact, this horsey was much more talkative than the dog. Lol 🙂
Husband quite enjoyed horsing around. (I’m just too punny). That’s the four-star accommodation behind him.
Watching the Wellington sunset
Soon the sun began to set. It was one of the most remarkable – and chilliest – sunsets I’ve seen, with snow on the mountains…
See? T’was so cold that we lit the fire on our patio.
Presenting: Sun setting over the Hawequa mountains.
The sunset. Made all the more surreal by that line of palm trees. I’d go back just to see this again. For reals.
Dining in The Local Grill
One of Val du Charron’s biggest drawcards is the on site restaurant, The Local Grill, which opened its doors in October 2015. Here’s a civilised snap of us at our table for dinner that evening.
The helpful place mats at the Local Grill explain where those mysteriously named pieces of beef actually come from.
Husband went for the salmon starter. He gave it a big thumbs up.
For mains, Husband went for the grass-fed fillet, rubbed in pepper. Pic on the left is how it arrived. Pic on the right is how he ate it – smothered in a side of mushrooms and ‘Dijon mustard and chives’ sauce. He deemed it ‘Excellent’ – high praise indeed.
I went for a chocolate milkshake and the cheddar melt burger with a side of fries. Embarrassed to admit I barely managed to finish, and couldn’t even think of dessert. Means I can’t report back on the delicious-sounding local things like pecan nut pie, chocolate brownie, milk tart and malva pudding. Sob. There was nothing to do but sleep it off.
Mmm, breakfast. There’s no better way to start the day. Back in The Local Grill the next morning, I opted for the muesli, yoghurt and fruit bowl, as well as a croissant with cheese, and a Terbodore cappuccino. Your eyes do not deceive you, that IS a second cappuccino cup on the table…
Because even Mr ‘Coca-Cola for breakfast’ himself (that’s Husband) tried the cappuccino (after a Coke, of course.). He paired it with the omelette and brown toast. Bellies full again, all too soon we had checked out and made our way back home. We gave Bainskloof Pass a miss after all the wine-tasting ghost stories about it… maybe next time!
That’s all, folks, check in again next week for my next update. If you missed my other Winter 2016 overviews of what to do in Stellenbosch in May and in Franschhoek in June, click
here and here. 🙂
*Disclaimer: Obviously our accommodation at Val du Charron and meals at the Local Grill were part of our review package. All else came from our own pockets. All enjoyed equally.