Tag Archives: Wine

South Africa – Hermanus, Swellendam and Franschoek

A two hour drive took us to the charming town of Hermanus – especially famous for its whales – and we did see some from the hotel deck. But the real “Wow factor” for me here was the stunning hotel we were in – The Birkenhead House – designed by the same people as the Silo Hotel mentioned in my previous post. This is what I call classy luxuries bliss – and it was complimented by amazing food – all meals included – and while this is not something I would usually do – once you get here you are glad you did as you don’t want to leave the place for even a minute.

Public areas in the Birkenhead Hotel

Contemporary and comfortable design is key at the Birkenhead House

My bedroom and plunge pool at the Birkenhead House

Then after a breakfast that looked like this ……

Luxe brekkie at the Birkenhead House Hotel

it was wonderful to take a 90 minute cliff walk into Hermanus to walk some of it off and enjoy the views along the way……

Cliff walk into Hermanus

Only to return to this ……

Home made scones with a view at the Birkenhead House Hotel

Just as well I only stayed for two nights….

Another two hour drive took us to the town of Swellendam. A very pretty small town and nice to stop at a less touristy place for a night. The scenery en-route was stunning and the local Drodsky Museum was nicely done.

Classic views on the road to Swellendam

Dutch cape houses including our bed and breakfast at Hotel Roosje van der Kopp

Finally, we finished our time in South Africa with a visit to the lovely Franschoek – a much busier place than when Trudy and I last visited decades ago but still absolutely charming.

We loved the Hugenot memorial and museum – really interesting info on how they came to settle in the western Cape and who knew Roger Federer was descended from them and had visited his relatives there?!

The Hugenot Memorial in Franschoek

The Hugenot Museum – with boy in pink hot pants ?!?

As for the food – goodness it was good. The first night we went to Reuben’s which we loved (and the chef is a local) and I enjoyed two kinds of steak tartare.

Eating at Reuben’s

and the the second, to officially recognise Trudy’s birthday year, was the fantastical La Petite Colombe – the pictures are only half as good as the food and the experience. A must visit if you are in the area.

A zen feel to the food at La Petite Colombe

The surprises keep on coming at La Petite Colombe

Yummmmm

We also enjoyed our stay at Plumwood Inn – very convenient for the Main Street yet tucked away too.

And of course you can’t visit this area without doing at least one wine tasting day which we enjoyed in Stellenbosch for the whole of our last day – forgetting we had to be up at 5am for our flight to …….?(watch this space)

Scenery around Stellenbosch and the vineyards are looking good

Trudy, Alan and I enjoying a day at some local wineries in Stellenbosch

Have already booked a longer stay in SA for early 2021!

Portugal, Evora surrounds – megaliths, wine and Monsaraz

I took a day out of the walled city of Evora to visit the 8000 year old megaliths about 15 km outside of the town. There are 98 stones and they are in great shape as they were only discovered in 1964 so were not damaged by various marauders of the past who seems to have come this way. The are in pretty area and surrounded by cork trees – apparently Portugal produces 70% of the world’s cork but it is an expensive proposition as cork can only be harvested every 8 or so years at the moment – they are trying to speed this up as cork is in high demand – it doesn’t burn and it is very lightweight but durable.

The views looking back to Evora and the surrounding countryside are lovely once you can get up a bit higher and look down on the verdant plains. April is a great time to be there as everything is very green

Last stops were a winery (Alentejo is second only to the Douro valley for production of Portuguese wines) and then the picturesque hillside town of Monsaraz – perfect for a movie but it is all real.

Australia – Adelaide – “the little city that can”

Two days in Adelaide to sleep in a “non rattling bed” after three nights on the train. I slept very well. 

As I know the city quite well I signed up for a foodie tour which had me trying four different restaurants for savouries and a final creperie for dessert. Very enjoyable as the group was fun – and included locals too. My favourite was the escargot en gratin at The Delicatessen so had to go back today for lunch so that I could have a full plate that I didn’t need to share with anyone! (I’m an only child!). Followed by one of my favourites – steak tartare.  Along the way (back on the foodie tour) there was a nice selection of street art in the Laneways which are being developed to look a bit like the Melbourne scene – so far so good. I think it will be really helpful to keep central Adelaide vibrant at night. 

Foodie tour in Adelaide that of course started outside the Haigh’s chocolate flagship shop.


After an evening of food tasting it seemed appropriate to end my visit with a day of wine tasting. This one focussed on the nearby Adelaide Hills and was using a company called Hills Luxury Day tours so only five of us which made it more leisurely. I especially enjoyed Pike and Joyce’s gurner veltliner and Goldings Shiraz so although I’m trying to reduce my wine collection pre moving from my apartment I bought a bottle of each. 

Wineries in the Adelaide Hills


Back home for a couple of days and then away for another long trip. 

Watch this space. 

Where now? Margaret River in WA – wine and food capital of Australia?

Fantastic couple of days in Margaret River which has meant me mainly eating and tasting as many wines as possible. Just know that I did my best on both fronts!

Stayed at cute little guest house – Margaret River Guest House – which was a very short walk to the main high street – nice feel to it and excellent breakfasts too. 

Amongst many wineries visited  we included Leeuwin, Vasse Felix, Watershed, Stella Bella and an excellent bio dynamic winery called McHenry Hohnen. Love the way Leeuwin mix wine and art – two of my favourite things. Also found a fun farmer’s market in Margaret River – they love their food almost as much as their wine. Another wonderful spot in Australia. More to come.