After almost a year we took a nice little holiday – away from work, the hustle and bustle of city living, the Internet and the kids (yes, they’ll get their turn too soon to go on holiday with us again – we just needed a much deserved break).
On a very early Thursday morning (6am in the office) my mate, Mielie, and I had some coffee and breakfast before diving into the day’s work so that we got our hours in to be able to leave at 3pm that afternoon. In the meantime our wives were preparing the packing for our long weekend away. We managed to leave the office just after 3pm. I headed home and packed the last things in the car (Dina had thoughtfully packed as much as she could already, leaving the bigger, heavy things for me). At about 4:30pm we hit the road, heading north on the N7 (which snakes north through South Africa, but not too far off from the west-coast.
Allandale Farm is just outside Citrusdal, (surrounded by the Cedarberg mountains) which is about 170km (102mi) outside of Cape Town. The drive through was pretty easy and we were there in a little over 2 hours (which included two police blockades since they were checking vehicle and driver’s licenses).
We arrived a little before 7pm that evening. Elmarie took us to the guest house and showed us around and handed us the keys. The guest house is situated a few kilometers from the main farm house and has a nice big covered patio with braai area 3 bedrooms and can sleep a total of 11 people although you’d probably only comfortably have about 6 people staying there at the same time.
Dina had arranged a nice big lasagne dish from the Italian Club for us for supper so that we didn’t need to cook that evening after a long day at work and the drive through. Freshly made with imported Italian pasta, needless to say, it was delicious! So much so, that I asked Dina to order some imported Italian pasta from them upon our return to Cape Town.
The weather played along with us perfectly – the days were quite warm (although never unbearable) and the evenings perfect, no wind and not cold – but one thing was for sure we had a fire going in the fireplace on the patio each and every night. And did we make a fire – just take a look at the photos below to give you an idea.
Again it also goes without saying that the evenings were filled with laughter, warmth and atmosphere from the fire, Jack on ice and Texas Hold’em Poker!
It was absolute bliss to not have to worry about how late we “partied” or how late we got up and everyone got up when they wanted – which was anything between 7 and 9 in the morning. I must say it was nice not having to drive into work the next morning or have to worry about work and strangely enough, 4 days without access to the Internet didn’t kill me!
The mornings we just hung around each doing their own thing or playing board-games or catching up on the weekend’s Rugby on the telly thanks to the satellite TV available to us.
There were lots of lovely Cosmos flowers around the guest-house, with a few bees too doing their pollen-collecting routine. I took a few photos of them to see how they’d come out with our Sony Cybershot.
At our disposal during the hot weather we had a pool – but no ordinary pool, a converted farm dam. They’d built a traditonal farm dam on top of a hill just a little way from the guest house. They’d sandblasted the inside and put tiles a filter and a pump with salt-chlorinator turning it into a lovely (and very chilled) pool. It shocks the system when you get in as the water was quite cold but very, very much appreciated in the warm weather and didn’t take too long to get acustomed to.
Another favourite spot in the late afternoons until after sundown was in the garden in front of the house – nice garden to relax in and take in the surroundings.
Someone, I won’t mention Mielie’s name, thought it’d be a great idea if we (not really active software developers) climbed up this little mountain viewed from the guest house.
So Sunday afternoon around 12:30 we packed our survival supplies (cooler bag with a couple ice-cold beers and the obligatory water bottle and some chocolates for energy), kissed our wives goodbye and told them we’d see them in about 3 days or so. They thought we were joking and just heading off to the pool. Little did they know we were crazy and were actually on our way along and up the montain. We took the camera with so that we could document our journey into the wild.
It appeared that not too long before we planned our trip there were a few fires on the mountain and surrounding areas. This protea plant seemed to be smack-bang in the middle of the fire-ravaged portion of the mountain, yet it was tough enough to survive. Just take a look at the close-up picture of one of the surviving plants.
Here’s what the kitchen-lounge area looks like inside the guest-house. You can view more information on the Allandale Farm website if you’d like to visit yourselves – we’re definitely going to make a plan to go next year again.