3 Dec

Ever since we told our buddy, Mark, we were going to South Africa, he’s been telling us we should stop by his parents’ place. We declined at first, but his insistence broke us and we acquiesced. The visit was well worth it.

His parents live in Stellenbosch, a town built up around the success of wine vineyards about a 40 minute drive inland from Cape Town. It was a quaint little town surrounded by vineyards.

Finding their place was a bit challenging. It was at the edge of town, and there were very few road signs. We ended up driving in the opposite direction twice before we finally got on the right path. We drove through windy roads wrapped around the bottom of mountains and past trees that rose up along the side of the road, shading us from the sun as we peered out at verdant rows of grape vines. The scenery made the extra time it took to find their place no worry. We were happy enough taking in the views.

We arrived at their house with warm greetings and the smell of chicken on the braai. We walked around the property a bit and took in a tremendous sunset with a view of the Cape of Good Hope and Table Mountain in the far distance.


Over dinner we chatted about Mark, Korea, and Michelle, Mark’s new fiancé whom they’ve only communicated with over Skype. They had lots of questions, and we did our best to provide answers.

We finished the night in front of the TV watching the Aston Villa game with Mark’s dad, and getting advice from Mark’s mom about different places to stop on the garden route. The one recommendation that made us do a double take was her telling us to stop at Ronnie’s Sex Shop for a beer or a bite to eat. Like everywhere she’s recommended so far, it turned out not to be a sex shop (well, in name only) and to be worth the stop.


In the morning we said our goodbyes and thanked them as best we could. They fed us two wonderful meals, poured us Stellenbosch wines, and gave us wonderful advice. We were really glad Mark talked us into staying with them, and we set off for Outdshoorn to begin our road trip up the garden route.


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