Tag Archives: Fransvliet

The Surprise Continues

Saturday 8 October 2022

After a comfortable night in our luxurious suite, we were woken by Simon who has become an amazingly competent barista. The kitchen has an awesome coffee maker and the Illy beans are provided. Lauren and Allan joined us for our morning beverage and the cat came to visit too.

We all had the use of these luxurious robes
Kitty snuggled in contentedly

Breakfast was served at the bistro and we managed to get everyone there on time. Our hostess, Cathy along with the two chefs, John and Victor were super friendly and accommodating. Before we put in our egg order we were treated to fresh fruit salad with Greek or vanilla yogurt. We all had variations on scrambled eggs and the table was laden with croissants and pastries. Everybody raved about the fresh-pressed fruit juice too.

After breakfast, Simon and Allan went to fetch Shannon from Stellenbosch while Grandpa, Lauren, Josh, Lisa and I visited the Babylonstoren Gardens. Laurie and Jay decided to chill at the lodge.

It was a very warm day and as it is still school holidays there were lots of visitors around. My kids are all animal mad so when they saw the donkeys they headed straight over to pet them.

Fortunately, most of the paths were shady and all the routes were beautiful. It was amazing to see so many different varieties of clivia. The clivia walk was by far the best.

A Cape Canary cooling off in the stream
Still a little boy at heart – Josh had to climb a tree
Resting in the shade
A wonderful experience
Babylonstoren now ticked off Lauren’s Bucket List
The Cape White-eye enjoying the garden too

Allan really had every minute of my day organised. His attention to detail was amazing. After the garden visit, we went to La Bri for wine and chocolate tasting.

Entering La Bri
Our awesome sommelier – Julian

My wine of choice is sauvignon blanc so I left my comfort zone and instead choose to taste red. The menu had an interesting selection of red wines with chocolate pairings. And it was awesome. Our amazing sommelier knew her stuff and it was just such a wonderful experience to hear what she had to say and to enjoy the combination of tastes.

We also ordered a cheese and biltong platter for the table which was meant for two but was plenty for the five of us.

Lollz also chose the wine/chocolate pairing

On our way back to the lodge Shan, Si and I hopped off to explore the market. The rest of the family joined us half an hour later and we all went to the Huguenot Chocolate Shop.

Franschoek is famous for its market
At the Chocolate Shop – It was beyond awesome (Yes we bought lots)
But love is good too
This is so true

Franschoek is where the refugee Huguenots settled in the Seventeenth Century. Jay and Joshua’s dad told them that there are Huguenots in their ancestry so we had to take a photo.

Jay and Josh posing in front of the Huguenot Monument

The fun was not over yet. We all set off to Chamonix for dinner at their restaurant Arkeste.

The Restaurant overlooks the forest
View from our table

This was really the cherry on top of my surprise. The service at this restaurant is amazing and the chef came to chat to us too.

You can see how blown away I am
The starter – a selection of sushi delights

The chef explained all the specials to us and Allan and Earl chose the lamb which measured up to their high expectations.

My main was Duck – What a treat!
Allan and sister-in-law Lisa
Allan and sister-in-law Laurie

The chef pre-warned me not to order dessert as he had something special for me.

I got all four desserts in mini-portions! They were all delicious but the milk tart ice cream was the best.
Lisa really loves her dessert
Taste mine, Mom.

It was just the most awesome evening with excellent wine, wonderful food and all my favourite people around me. Who could ask for a better birthday celebration?

The Moon shone upon us too

Sunday 9 October 2022

Finally, the weekend was over. Once again we were treated to a wonderful breakfast before we left. Today’s breakfast was poached eggs on a mushroom with smoked ham and a hollandaise sauce drizzled on top. It was to die for.

Happy Family enjoying breakfast
All ten of us – Lisa, Lauren, Simon, Josh, Shannon, Allan, Laurie, Me, Earl, Jay

I feel so privileged that my son-in-law orchestrated this whole weekend for me. I enjoyed every second of it and I am blown away by the excellent organization and especially the love that went into it all. Thank you to all my family but most especially to Allan. I love you all so much.

A Super Surprise – Day 1

On Thursday my darling husband announced that he was taking me away to an unknown destination. “It’s a surprise,” he said. And refused to give me any further details. Now he has done this before but not for a long time as he usually relies on me to do the bookings. All I knew was that we would not be taking the caravan so I suspected it would be to a Spa where a bit of pampering would be involved. He likes that sort of thing as do I.

Friday 7 October 2022

The morning was cool but looked like it might warm up so I dressed in white jeans and a cool blouse topped with a cardigan. We did not go in the direction I suspected. In fact, when we were headed toward Cape Town I wondered whether the airport might be involved. But no, I doubted he would book flights without my input. We usually stop Peregrine for coffee when we travel that way but today’s stop was a little before that at Dassiesfontein.


Soon after that we turned toward Villiersdorp and Worcester. Aha somewhere in the Winelands then! The drive was beautiful. The sun came out, the temperature rose and spring flowers were growing on the mountainside. Theewaterskloof was full and it was just the most scenic drive ever.

View over the Franschhoek Valley
Feasting on sour figs

When we got to Franschoek, the Earl drove down a long dirt road. “Now what?” I asked. “Where are we going?” He answered that we were going to Glenwood Wine Estate for lunch. “You know who the manager is,” he said. “DP – I want to see his farm!” Yes, indeed I did. DP is a fishing friend who visits Struisbaai often.

What lovely proteas at the entrance

Ah so we were stopping at a lovely restaurant for lunch. What a lovely hubby I have! But then – as I climbed out of the car and approached the steps up to the restaurant some familiar people appeared! What the heck?! Lisa? followed by my entire offspring and theirs! But why?

“Happy Early 70th!” said Lauren.

My birthday is in November when the students of the family are busy with exams. We are all scattered so getting us all together for a weekend would be a mission! So this was part one of the BIG SURPRISE. Shannon, our granddaughter cut her visit to her boyfriend in Bloemfontein short and flew in to join us. Two of her friends who are students at Stellenbosch university collected her from the airport and brought her to the venue. After lunch Shan went back to Stellenbosch with her friends but would return the next morning for the rest of our festivities.

Granddaughter Shannon, Son-in-law Allan, Grandson Jay, Grandson Josh, Hubby Earl

Lunch was to die for. We had a choice of miso soup, smoke salmon salad or calamari for starters followed by some sushi platters for the table.

Calamari tenticle starter
Smoked Salmon Salad Starter
Sushi is a family favourite so this went down very well!
“Well, this was unexpected – thank you everyone”
Grandpa and Shan

The mastermind behind this was my amazing son-in-law, Allan. He rallied the troops and organised every last tiny detail which as you will see as I continue this blog was not only lunch at Glenwood!

After lunch, Lauren whisked me away and said, “The fun is not over yet – Allan has organised a Mom and Daughter massage for us.” Oh wow – an hour of pure bliss.

Only after this wonderful spoil did we join everyone at Fransvliet, the lodge where we were to spend the weekend. Lauren and Allan and Earl and I had the main cottage each with its own double room and ensuite bathroom. The open-plan living area was big enough for us all together and the kitchenette was fully equipped but as we soon found out we would not be cooking at home! The rest of the family shared three one bed-roomed cottages which were just as luxurious. These cottages are set in the most beautiful garden.

The garden
Relaxing before the next treat

The outdoor area is awesome and has its own plunge pool.

The weather was so good we could have lounged next to the pool all day weekend long. But there were things to do and places to go!

Another big surprise was finding an iced carrot cake with my name on it! The boys insisted on posing with me and the cake.

My three grandsons – Jay 25, Josh 24. Simon 17
The Man who planned it all
My girls and me – Laurie, Me, Lisa, Lauren

At five we all set off for sundowners and a snack supper at Anemos Deck, Old Road Winery. The views of the mountains were sensational and we thoroughly enjoyed watching the Wine Tram pass by. Click on the link to find out what a great experience you can have by taking this tram when you visit the Winelands – You won’t need to drink and drive! We, of course, did quite a bit of wine tasting but we made sure we had a designated driver with us.

Pizzas were good
The Wine Tram
Allan, Simon, Lisa, Lauren, Laurie, Jay, Earl, me with the awesome view in the background.

How awesome was Day One? Never in a million years would I have expected a surprise quite like this. And yet that was not the end! Dear Allan had more up his sleeve for the following day. Watch this space for more.