We rented a car, which was an adventure in itself considering they drive on the left side of the road and generally don’t obey traffic laws here. After a few test drives around the block, we were ready to hit the road. The drive to Mcgregor was absolutely stunning, through mountains and vineyards. There were also baboons all over the road, and despite my dislike for these guys, I was worried they might end up as road kill. We finally found our way down a country raod to the campsite/hostel we had booked
. We were on a dirt road in the middle of absolutely nowhere when we came upon a small house with the name of the hostel on it. We got out and rang the door bell, which played a jaunty little tune when we rang it, but nobody came. The house was surrounded by a couple of garage-like shacks built of sheet metal. Nobody seemed to be there and it seemed a bit sketchy, so we got back in the car and headed down the road. A bit further down, we came upon another building with the name of the hostel on it, this one surrounded by barbed wire and dogs barking furiously. We didn’t last long there before running back into the car. We had almost abandoned hope when we happened upon a camp that didn’t have barbed wire, barking dogs, or metal shacks, and we knew we were in luck! (Third time's a charm!)
Turns out the camp and farm were recently purchased by a lovely family, who said it had really been falling into disrepair and they were working on fixing it up and trying to make a living from it. We moved into our rustic accommodations and piled back into the car to head into the village.
The wine festival was held in a community center and under the tents outside. It was a beautiful afternoon, and it cost about $7 for entrance, which included a wine glass, free food and wine tastings, and live music (I’m trying to post a video here, look at the bottom of this entry)
. There were lots of vendors selling food, wine, and crafts, and giving out samples. It was a wonderful, delicious afternoon! We were all feeling a bit glazed over by the time we left the festival about 3 hours later, and we strolled around the small village, which had several neat art galleries, a few little craft shops and cafes, a post office, a school, and a small grocery store. We also enjoyed a refreshing run through a sprinkler. (So quaint! I love the small-town feel of it all. Many of the people we spoke with were shocked that college students from the USA and Europe had managed to find their way all the way to this tiny village in Africa!) We tried to find a place to eat dinner, but the few restaurants were already booked for the night. So we stopped by the little store and bought all the fixings for a braai and headed back to the campsite.
We had a delicious dinner and were proud of ourselves for pulling off a braai- feels like we’ve had an official South African initiation now. The owners of our campsite came by with a couple bottles of wine for us, and we shared some of our crackers and pesto spread we bought at the festival with them. Then we made s’mores around the campfire, played some games, talked a bit, laughed a lot, and went to bed before 11! We woke up early (the rooster crowing got everybody up and moving) to try to watch the sun rise, but I think we somehow missed it
. (Cape LC buddies, bring back any memories?!) Eventually the sun made its way around the mountains, and our different nationalities were evident as we all pulled out a different snack to share- we munched on goat cheese (Norwegian), cereal with hot milk (French) and crackers with peanut butter (American). We also drank tea out of mugs that said corny things like “love is togetherness,” which we took on as our motto of the weekend. Then some of the group had to head back to Stellenbosch, so we all headed out. Those of us that didn’t have anywhere to be headed back into the village for coffee, and then enjoyed a leisurely ride home, singing the whole way. The only radio station we could get was doing a top 40 count down, but we didn’t seem to know very many of the songs, so we just sang whatever popped into our heads.
We had a few hours before we had to have the rental car back, so we stopped at a place that had brightly colored metal sculptures out front. Turns out they grow strawberries, sell wine and gourmet foods in a little shop, have a restaurant, ice cream, and a playground, in addition to the many brightly colored sculptures of animals. This is quite possibly my new favorite place. After a lovely afternoon there, we headed back to the 'Bosch to do homework and get ready for another busy week.
Saturday morning I woke up early to head out with some friends on an adventure to a place called Mcgregor Village, for a wine festival one of my friends had heard about. The town's motto is "the place where time stood still" so we were looking forward to a quaint weekend filled with wine and good friends (representing 4 different nationalities!) . We were not disappointed!