Saturday in Hermanus

It’s our last full day in Hermanus. The sky is slightly overcast; every once in a while we get a few sprinkles of rain but not enough to warrant wearing our new raincoats. After another nice breakfast at our Lavender Manor B&B the boys put on their ‘hiking’ shoes and prepare to ‘scale’ the craggy mountain behind our place; the girls will walk 6kms along the cliff walk to the town centre. We arrange to meet there for lunch.

Robert has walked this hike quite a few times when he was here in 2008 and 2009, and it’s on his ‘to-do’ list. Today’s his last chance; tomorrow the Dycks are going back to Cape Town for one last night before flying home on Monday morning. It’s not nearly as misty and foggy today as it was when Sue and I did this hike with Paul and Shirley early in the week. Still, with all that ‘experience’, Robert and I manage to take the ‘wrong’ path up the hill, going the ‘long way round’. No problem. Just a few more steps on my ‘MapMyRide’ distance tracker app. We have a nice walk up to the marker at the top, It’s still amazing that what from the ground seems like an incredibly high and nearly vertical climb is really quite a manageable and maybe even comfortable hike — it’s that “zig-zagging” back and forth that makes it so.

We’re nearly all the way back down, by another circuitous route that is NOT the way we intended (but you can’t REALLY go wrong here! just keep walking DOWNHILL!) when my phone dings. “Where are you at? Should we reserve a table at The Pear for lunch?”

Half an hour later Robert and I have showered and are driving the 6-minute drive into town. I park the Volvo next to a Maserati in the public parking lot (South Africa seems to have more than its fair share of expensive and exotic cars!) and head to the Pear restaurant. There are Sue and Arlene, sitting at a table under a big sun umbrella, waiting for us. It is noon, time for lunch. The Pear is a very nice restaurant. We are served by a sweet young girl. Hake and chips, beet-root salad, wasabi prawns, along with cold draught beers and a glass of wine. So civilized! So courteous and polite. It’s Saturday and lots of ‘locals’ are out and about, including school kids.

After lunch we go to the big Checkers grocery store. We’re in charge of the meat for tonight’s braai at Paul and Shirley’s. Robert and Sue select the lamb chops, chicken skewers, and Boer wurst. By 3 o’clock we’re back at our B&B. The nice lady who is our host gladly puts the meat in her fridge for us. Time for a bit of R&R in our rooms before we meet again in the big room for our last happy hour here.

At 5pm we head to the big room. The little lighthouse lamp on the bar is lit — that means the bar is open. Two small bowls of chips are on the bar, a jug of ice cubes, a lime — hey, i’ll have a G&T today! We sit and visit for an hour. Now there’s a text message from Shirley and Paul: Come on by!

The four of us set out, carrying a bag of meat for the braai and another with a couple of bottles of wine. When we get to Paul and Shirleys the braais are already lit and Meghan and Casper are already sipping a glass of wine in the backyard. We join them. Robert gets the ‘wurst’ going on the barbecue — it is delicious! Paul has set out a row of assorted wines and announces that all the bottles will be opened tonight — they all need to be tasted! So we have our work cut out for us! I ask for, and get, a tour of the house from Shirley. It’s a very nice house indeed!

Once we’ve eaten the wurst Robert gets the chicken skewers and lamb chops cooking on the braai. Soon we are all seated around the big table outside in the backyard. The food before us is fantastic! the meat is perfectly cooked, small potatoes and a big salad, and Casper has made a couple of braaibroodjie, a toasted sandwich of bread with tomato, onions, butter, salt and pepper (and it could have cheese, although these didn’t) that is toasted in a closed grid over mild coals on the braai. All the food (and drink) is delicious.

Paul is leaving tomorrow morning at 7, flying to Indonesia. Still, he seems unconcerned about that — and doesn’t act at all perturbed or anxious about leaving. That’s what we’ve come to know as ‘the South African way’.

We sat around the table and visited — talked about South Africa, the history and the direction its headed. A good visit that went on until about 10:30, when we took our leave.

When we got home I wrote my journal entry and went to bed. It’s been a great Saturday in Hermanus!