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We saw many pelicans

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Merida has many interesting street signs

waterBEACH, BIRDS, AND BYGONE CITY

If you don’t fancy the crowds along the Maya Riviera, on the Caribbean coast south of Cancun, Mexico, a great alternative is to use Merida as a base. This pretty Colonial city on the northwest of the Yucatan Peninsula is within easy distance of many famous Mayan sites (Chichen Itza and the Puuc Route, with Uxmal), the northern biosphere, and good sand beaches.

On this daytrip, we went to Progresso for the beach, the sea, and the sun; to Uaymintun

beach

Progresso beach

for the lagoon and flamingo viewing; to Xtambo for a Mayan ruin and more flamingoes. We returned to Merida on side roads, passing through typical small Yucatecan villages.

We decided on this as an alternative to flamingo viewing at the Celestun Park to the west. On a previous visit to Celestun we felt concerned at how the tourist boats on the estuary are disturbing the birds, especially the flamingoes. Another plus—this way is free.

We drove north out of Merida on Paseo Montejo, noting the richer colonial side of the city, with wide streets, mansions and shopping complexes, and even a Sams Club!

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Part of the lagoon—if you look closely there are a few flamingoes there

Progresso, Merida’s port, is about a 30-minute drive, past a huge abandonned henequin factory (which produced ropes, mats etc), evidence of the previous wealth from this crop; and Dzibilchaltun, another ruined Mayan city with an excellent museum of Mayan history. It’s a worthwhile stop if you’re interested in the Maya. The site also has the famous House of the Seven Dolls, and an interesting cenote (steep-sided natural well.)

Progresso has progressed, compared to our visit four years before. Parking is plentiful along the esplanade, rebuilt after the hurricane a few years ago. All the usual tourist facilities line the esplanade, in a scaled-down version compared to the Caribbean coast, and we found it much more pleasant. A wide sand beach, with beach chairs, palapa huts, and beach restaurants, looks out over the calm blue water, tiny waves lapping.

After a swim, and lunch at one of the beach restaurants, we headed out east along the

flamingo

Beautiful birds

coastal road, palm trees on one side, stubby salt-flats bush on the other. There’s a string of development in the narrow strip between the sea and the biosphere, mostly brightly-painted houses, some holiday flats and hotels.

We followed the coastal road to Uaymintun, a small village with a tall wooden lookout tower over the lagoon; a great way to see part of the lagoon and biosphere preserve and do bird-watching, especially with binoculars. (The lookout tower is free, but you can rent binoculars there). The biosphere extends for hundreds of kilometers: lagoons, shallow lakes and waterways with small islands and mud flats. Scores of flamingoes were walking in the shallow water, many still bright pink even though this wasn’t nesting season. We saw many other birds too, including pelicans.

A few miles further on, the sign for Xtambo ruins is on the right. The drive is along a miles-long causeway over the lagoon with views of an amazing number of birds, especially flamingoes. The road is not busy, so stopping is easy. What a marvelous place for viewing and photographing birds in their natural environment: pelicans, oyster catchers, sandpipers, cormorants, white herons, blue herons, turkey buzzards.

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Xtambo

Xtambo ruins are just off to the right after the lagoon, along a narrow dirt road between tall grasses and stubby trees, swampy areas just to the side. The name means “place of the crocodile”, and we could easily imagine there might be a crocodile in there somewhere!

These Maya ruins are bigger than we expected, and much still remains to be excavated. It was a salt distribution center, reaching its peak around 600AD. The bases of two large structures are in a clearing before the main ruins: the low Pyramid of the Cross, and other buildings around a courtyard. All are grey stone, with little visible ornamentation now other than some stone masks. Xtambo was important as the port for Izamal, a bigger town inland, which was far away for people in those days. We’d known that the Maya traded, but did they travel by sea?

There were no other visitors, so we rambled happily around at will. The structures are not

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A mix of Mayan and Catholic beliefs

remarkable, compared to Chichen Itza, for example, but it’s an interesting little site. Of note is the small Catholic Chapel of the Virgin at the base of the temple, built 50-plus years ago after the Virgin of X’Cambo appeared here, showing us that old and new beliefs can co-exist. The view out is to scrubby palm trees and swamp, rather than jungle, but it’s completely isolated, giving us a real feel for what it must have been like thirteen centuries ago.

On smaller roads south back to Merida, prolific vines are creeping over almost everything, and the jungle encroaches on both sides of the road. It’s not hard to see how they could ‘eat up’ the area again. We passed through a number of villages, all arranged around a central square. This can be hazardous driving. Topes (speed bumps) slowed us down, but people walk along the road, or ride bikes, or pull carts loaded with firewood. Children play in the unpaved streets lined with banana trees, and animals wander at will. Huts with thatched roofs, or low houses with tin roofs and faded, chipped paint, are in dusty yards, with washing draped on fences, pigs tethered to small papaya trees, mangy dogs prowling under acacia trees, and a group of kids playing in the dirt, their noses running.

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Scrubby jungle around Xtambo

This is local life, as it really is, not a sanitized version for tourist viewing. We felt privileged to see this natural version of life in rural Yucatan.

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Merida’s cathedral—one of the oldest in the Americas

PRACTICAL INFORMATION—MERIDA:

Given the sometimes-poor state of the roads, this is more than enough in one day. Start early, especially if you want lots of swimming time. There are gas stations in Progresso, but not on the smaller roads.

Picking up a rental car at Merida airport is very easy. The airport has a Tourist Information desk and an ATM for cash. The best Tourist Information Office is on Calle 60 in town, on the edge of Parque de la Maternidad, two blocks north of the main square (see below). General information at www.travelyucatan.com/merida_mexico.php

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Balloon sellers are popular on the main square

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Traditional Yucatecan dancing

DSCF0045.JPGPlaza de la Independencia, the center of downtown Merida, is a green oasis. On Sundays, the streets around it are closed, so everyone can enjoy the bustling Sunday market, and free music concerts and traditional Yucatecan dancing. Don’t miss the huge cathedral, and the Governor’s Palace, with a series of enormous, strikingly colorful, abstract murals by Fernando Castro Pacheco of Merida, depicting the history of the Yucatan.

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Part of the colorful Merida market

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Many tasty tropical fruits

The Anthropological and Historical Museum on Paseo Montejo has an excellent, although small, collection of ancient Mayan artifacts.

Around the main plaza, and Park Hidalgo—another square one block north—are many restaurants, food stalls, bars, and coffee shops (most with internet connections).

Merida has many hotels in all price ranges. Two of our favorites (with swimming pools, and parking facilities offered) are Hotel Dolores Alba, with rooms arranged around the courtyard of a restored colonial house

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Imagine a hotel in a lovely old Colonial building

(www.doloresalba.com); and Gran Hotel, a grand 100-year-old Italianate building on Park Hidalgo. Tel: +52 999-924-7730, fax +52 999-924-7622, www.granhoteldemerida.com.mx

Friends stayed at Hotel Colonial and were very satisfied, www.hotelcolonial.com.mx (in Spanish)

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Variety of chile peppers

 

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The Markt and Stadhuis in evening light

The Markt and Stadhuis in evening light

Stadhuis and Markt on market day

Stadhuis and Markt on market day

The 't Mooswief statue

The ‘t Mooswief statue

The Markt is another big square in Maastricht that vies with the Vrijjthof as the city center. On Wednesdays and Fridays the Markt wins out because market days attract crowds of locals as well as day-trippers from Aachen and Liege. Even on other days the bars and cafes are crowded, the herring stall is busy and groups of students cluster around ‘t Mooswief, a statue of a plump stallholder.

The centerpiece of the square is the Stadhuis, the 17th century town hall built 1659-1664 in Classical style by architect Pieter Post, a pupil of Jacob van Campen. There are two sets of stairs to get to the interior, a reminder of the time when the two city authorities (the Dukes of Brabant and the Bishops of Liege) literally went their own way. In the entrance chamber with a rococo ceiling the Mayor hands over the keys of the city to the Carnival Prince.

The Stadhuis has a bell tower (1684) with 43 bells and if you are lucky you may hear the carillon of bells. The 17th-century council decided to abandon solemn dirges on the bells in favor of pretty folk tunes, and the custom continues—a very pretty sound.

Gorgeous fabrics

Gorgeous fabrics

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vegstall

asparagus2I spent a great morning wondering around the market, which is set out on the square around the City Hall. Fresh produce is roughly together on two sides—gorgeous flowers and plants, fruits and vegetables, breads, cheeses, meats—and clothes, cloths, crafts roughly on the other two sides. People browse, buy stuff, stop to chat and it’s a happening place. It was asparagus season, and the varieties and choices of the spears (green and white, thick and thin) was amazing to me—mostly in the USA we get just the green, and only one choice at that. It was also fun to see the special Dutch cheeses, such as Pinda Kaas, Boeren Kaas and Rommedou.

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View of market square from a cafe

View of market square from a cafe

The cafes around offer all kinds of local snacks, such as asparagus omelette, asparagus soup, trout, Limburgse Vlaai (fruit flans), waffles, or gingerbread. Any of these treats can be washed down with beer, which is the typical local drink, or Maastrichter wine—which is not common but very good if you can find it. But, it was also fun to just order a tea and sit watching all the activity, which I did at Tijl Uilenspiegel

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A relaxing cup of tea

A relaxing cup of tea

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A narrow stepped street

A narrow stepped street

A market street

A market street

We enter old Jerusalem at the Jaffa Gate (left)

We enter old Jerusalem at the Jaffa Gate (left)

Note: This post is picture-heavy, but the place is so photogenic that it’s hard not to try and capture it all. Please go all the way to the end, to see the T-shirts!

On a day trip to Jerusalem you’ll likely be doing a lot of walking, and much of it will be along the narrow market streets on the way to the major historical sights.

Our guide for our day trip was Shani Kotev (shanikotev@gmail.com ). He was a very good guide, with an incredible knowledge about his subject: Jerusalem and its history, including all the other cultures and religions.

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A plaque on the wall indicates that this is some of the original paving from the time of Jesus Christ

A plaque on the wall indicates that this is some of the original paving from the time of Jesus Christ

We entered the old city through the Jaffa Gate, one of 7 gates into the city. Jerusalem has no port, so for thousands of years Jaffa was the naval gateway. Shani told us the story of Suleiman the Magnificent building this gate and huge walls around the city in 1538. He was so pleased with them that he never wanted an imitation, so he had the two constructors killed. They are buried just inside the walls and we saw the two graves, guarded by a soldier. These walls define the old city, which has traditionally been divided into four; the Armenian, Christian, Jewish and Muslim Quarters.

We wandered along many narrow, sloping or stepped market streets, the paving stones shiny with use and slippery from rain that morning. Some of the huge old paving stones are very old, even from the times when Jesus may have walked here—it’s quite an amazing feeling to realize that we may be treading on the very stones that famous people walked on so many years ago.

I think we would have initially got lost if on our own in this maze of interconnected alleyways, but Shani has obviously done this many times. Small stalls and shops line both sides of the alleys, some with a vaulted clear roof, selling all kinds of goods, from shoes, to clothes, to pomegranates, to small thorn crosses and thorn crowns. We saw fruit of all kinds, huge slabs of halva, bowls of nuts, suitcases, lots of religious items and icons, and gorgeous, brightly-colored fabrics.

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thorns

You can also stop to have freshly-squeezed juices or a glass of tea, and many small hummus (hommos) and falafel cafes are dotted around. We even saw a western-style coffee and pizza café. And what about the Holy Rock Café!

A colorful cafe

A colorful cafe

The Holy Rock Cafe

The Holy Rock Cafe

priestsIt’s fascinating. Vendors call out, “Come buy” or “Look, I have a good deal” or “Best price here.” Local women with head scarves carry small children, workers trundle gas tanks on a small trolley, and religious leaders were chatting at the top of some stairs by the 8th Station of the Cross.

Chicago Bulls, Palestine, SuperJew

Chicago Bulls, Palestine, SuperJew

What really caught our eyes too—and what our hosts kept stopping to point out to us—were the T-shirt stalls. There’s an amazing selection, some the usual “I Love Jerusalem” type, and many with a US sports team theme. But, there are many that are overtly political, often related to Israel’s relationship with the USA, and about Palestine. All making a very definite statement. None of our group bought any though!Tshirts3

Shani points out many T-shirts with a Palestine motif

Shani points out many T-shirts with a Palestine motif

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That sure is a beautiful view

That sure is a beautiful view

signSOUTH AFRICA: MOOIBERGE FARM STALL

Mooiberge means “pretty mountains” and the view out here certainly is that, as it’s right below the Helderberg Mountains.

On the R44 road between Somerset West and Stellenbosch, this landmark farm stall is hard to miss, as much of the property is “fenced” with a line of colorful art creatures/’sculptures’ (can we call them sculptures?).

It started off as a regular farm stall and

Outside entrance to the kids' play area

Outside entrance to the kids’ play area

blossomed/mushroomed out into what we see today—a colorful, sprawling complex. It’s a great place to take kids in the strawberry season (November-January or February), as the strawberry picking is very popular, there’s a wonderful play area called the Thirsty Scarecrow, and a vast array of colorful ‘scarecrows’ and other creatures and transportation creations delight the eye.

Some might say it’s a kitschy produce market-cum-wine shop-cum-market for bottled goods (jams, sauces, olive oils for example), cakes, nuts, biltong, local crafts etc. But, it’s undoubtedly a lot of fun. We bought a bottle of wine for R25—one of their advertised specials. They seem to have many of the specials for various airlines.

Tasty bottled Cape gooseberries

Tasty bottled Cape gooseberries

restarantsignIn March it was too late for strawberry picking, but we ate there one lunch time by default, and it was great. The restaurant is called The Farmers Kitchen. It has a fun atmosphere because of the setting and the colorful statues and very good food—a tasty meal, with very generous servings, of fresh, locally-sourced ingredients. The deck where we sat looks out over the kids play area and across the pepper/strawberry fields to the mountains, the whole view enlivened by the bright, quirky, animals (mostly) sculptures—which in general you’d say don’t fit into this (wine) environment, and yet they’ve become a local fixture and a tourist feature and attraction.

Some of the more "respectable" animals!

Some of the more “respectable” animals!

Granny Peggy, Viv, Caroline, Anthea enjoy the wine

Granny Peggy, Viv, Caroline, Anthea enjoy the wine

Five of us shared a carafe of Du Toitskloof sauvignon blanc. One of our party had a huge lamb burger with Greek-style cucumber-yoghurt sauce, and salad; one had chicken wrap; another had a bacon, brie and walnut pizza, served with salad; and two of us had parma ham and fresh fig salad; followed by 2 espressos and a coffee. Total (without tip) was R452. At the exchange rate at the time that’s about US$43, which is amazingly good value!

The Farmer’s Kitchen re-opened in September 2011 after new owner Kelly Zetler revamped it, to “French colonial meets rustic countryside comfort”. Its hours are 8:30am-5pm, and they specialize in breakfast, snack meals and lunch, with many dishes featuring strawberries in season.

Also in the Mooiberge complex is the Thirsty Scarecrow Bistro-Pub, open Mon-Sun 11am-11:30pm.

Mooiberge the Farm Stall is open Mon-Sun 8:30am-6pm

Ham and fresh fig salad

Ham and fresh fig salad

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English sprouts here, not Brussel sprouts!

English sprouts here, not Brussel sprouts!

Croydon Market, London, UK

Wandering around this lively market the other day, I found a number of vegetables that go by another name here, compared to what people call them in our part of the USA and/or Asian countries we’ve visited.  It got me thinking about other vegetables that have multiple names depending on where you are: for example, eggplant/aubergine/brinjal.

Any other examples you can think of?

"Mooli" in Croydon, known as "Daikon" in USA and Japan

“Mooli” in Croydon, known as “Daikon” in USA and Japan

"Kanella" in Croydon, known as "Bitter Melon" (English name) in China

“Kanella” in Croydon, known as “Bitter Melon” (English name) in China

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Amsterdam's Flower Market lines the Singel Canal

Amsterdam’s Flower Market lines the Singel Canal—view from a bridge

Tulips from Amsterdam advertised

Tulips from Amsterdam advertised

A not-to-be-missed sight, in a country that’s famous for flowers and bulbs

Part tourist attraction, part garden shop for locals, it’s a little different from many other flower markets around the world that tend to focus on cut flowers and bouquets. This is more a market for bulbs, ornamental flowers, indoor plants, and garden/flower novelties, so it’s also geared for locals and not only for visitors—things the Dutch can grow in their apartments, or in planters, or can use as decorations.

Stalls and a few mini greenhouses line the Singel Canal for a whole long block and people parade up and down, wheeling their bikes as it’s a pedestrian zone. At one end are the Munt Tower and a Delft display in a lovely old building. At the other end is Konigsplein, where you can buy a fresh herring from the stand there and then wander easily into the Spui.

Tulip bulbs sold in ceramic clogs

Tulip bulbs sold in ceramic clogs

The market is very busy with an array of amazing growing things in every imaginable color, and bulbs or kits to begin growing an assortment of unusual plants. Not unexpectedly, some of the stalls at the beginning advertise “Tulips from Amsterdam”. Nowadays, the Netherlands is world famous for flower production, including tulips, but actually the tulip originated in Turkey (see an article on tulips here; http://www.viviennemackie.com/Natural_World/Tulips.html ).

Gorgeous flowering cacti

Gorgeous flowering cacti

The selection of goods is wide, bright and cheerful, with lots of fun stuff, like growing herb ‘hair’ on little clay monsters; tulip bulbs in pottery clogs or in tin cans; decorated ceramic balls for floating with water plants; painted wooden tulips; or cute garden gnomes. Many of the diverse plants are very unusual and very beautiful. We especially noted the Venus Flytrap in a glass jar, ready to go, and also “Bonsai to Go”. We also saw large nuts that grow into Buddha palms, kits for growing cannabis, and collections of pretty flowering cacti, so colorful that they actually don’t look real.

The variety of bulbs and seeds for sale is staggering—it would be a most gorgeous garden if you could grow them all. Of course there are tulips of many hues, but also dahlias, amaryllis lilies, even gloriosa superba (flame lilies). Of the flowering plants, we were delighted by orchids, peonies, amaryllis lilies, and even bright bougainvillea. A flower treasure trove indeed! amaryllis

Stop for a light lunch at Amarylles, one of the many small eating places opposite the flower market strip (Singel 540, opposite shop #622, open 7 days a week, 9am-6pm). It offers a good variety of soups, salads, sandwiches, some main dishes, cakes etc. We opted for the soup of the day, which was Dutch pea soup with smoked sausage, served with bread and butter—it was very good and perfect for a cool day. It was way to windy for us to sit at the outside tables but you can get a table inside next to the enormous front windows and still watch the outside activity.

Watching the world go by through the windows of the cafe

Watching the world go by through the windows of the cafe

And People Watching is a wonderful activity in Amsterdam, like a free “show” just for the price of a cup of coffee or a beer. At the flower market it’s just people on foot, or wheeling bikes, or pushing strollers or shopping carts, singly or in groups, stopping to buy something or to gawk at some of the plants, especially the Venus Flytrap. Tourists, locals, many nations, all mingling.

At any restaurant on a regular street beyond the market the “show” becomes more intricate, as it involves people and traffic. We sat outside for a meal at Panorama on Raadhuisstraat, and at Luden on Spuistraat and at both it was amazing to see how many people, wearing all kinds of clothes, ride bikes of all descriptions. They weave skillfully around various straying pedestrians, while some scooters also whizz by on the bike lane. People sit side-saddle as passengers, or kids in a back seat, or pets in a basket. We even saw a guy riding his bike in quite heavy traffic with his dog on a leash running next to him—the dog definitely knew what to do! The bike riders co-exist with buses, taxis and cars. There’s an art to riding a bike here, but people learn it early: we saw lots of kids on bikes too.

More market pics bellow, in no particular order.

Colorful wooden tulips

Colorful wooden tulips

From these nuts, I'll supposedly grow a Buddha palm!

From these nuts, I’ll supposedly grow a Buddha palm!

Some pretty cut flowers too

Some pretty cut flowers too

So many bulbs to buy

So many bulbs to buy

A Venus Flytrap

A Venus Flytrap

For us, this was a novelty but for some folk I guess they really do buy the kit!

For us, this was a novelty but for some folk I guess they really do buy the kit!

Tupil bulbs sold in cans/tins

Tupil bulbs sold in cans/tins

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Some of the vines at Blaauwklippen

Some of the vines at Blaauwklippen

Entrance to Blaauwklippen Estate

Entrance to Blaauwklippen Estate

The Wine Center, where wine tastings are held

The Wine Center, where wine tastings are held

A Cape Winery That Has It All

Blaauwklippen is situated on the slopes of the Stellenbosch Mountain, not far from the town of Stellenbosch, and is one of the oldest wine farms in South Africa. It was founded in 1682 by Gerrit Jansz Visser, which makes it 331 years old this year. The first vineyards were planted in 1688. Another interesting historic snippet is that Cecil John Rhodes became the owner of Blaauwklippen in 1899…but only for one day! “Blaauwklippen” means “blue stones” and is named after the blue granite outcrops on the estate.

In 1971 the Stellenbosch Wine Route was founded and Blaauwklippen was one of the first members. In our opinion, Blaauwklippen is one of the Cape wineries that pretty much has it all, as there are enough activities to keep the whole family happy. It’s in a gorgeous setting just off the road a bit, with expansive lawns, plenty of trees, and views up to the mountains. The first building that catches your eye after parking is the Wine Center—a white Cape Dutch-style building shaded by huge wild fig trees. Here you can taste and buy any/all of the superb Blaauwklippen wines, plus other wine-related products and some special “Weinwurst” (wine sausage). The estate has many wine offerings, notably cabernet sauvignon, malbec, merlot and shiraz for reds and a lovely sauvignon blanc. It is also well known for its zinfandel—zinfandel was first planted here in 1977. They also produce a number of good brandies.

Next door is a small Carriage Museum in the old carriage house, with a collection of old carriages. Next to that is a large

Entrance to the small, but interesting, Carriage Museum

Entrance to the small, but interesting, Carriage Museum

pen/paddock with animals—many goats, a couple of alpacas, and a couple of ponies. Kids love watching the animals, especially the goats jumping up and down on their special platforms. Here too is a small kids’ playground, with swings and a jungle gym, always well used. Many families sit on the grass nearby enjoying a picnic, of food provided by the restaurant—the waiters bring out white cloths and then baskets of picnic food (make reservations 24 hours in advance). More on the restaurant below.

Blaauwklippen hosts a Family Market every Sunday from 10am-3pm, a really fun event with food stalls, craft stalls, fresh produce, children’s entertainment, including pony rides, and music. And of course, Blaauwklippen wines.  People are encouraged to bring a blanket and relax under the trees.

The 3-year-old in our party has fun feeding one of the friendly goats

The 3-year-old in our party has fun feeding one of the friendly goats

At the moment Blaauwklippen is also hosting an African Sculpture collection, like a miniature Chapungu Sculpture Park. These are large stone sculptures from Zimbabwe that are designed to be displayed outdoors or in large indoor areas, such as foyers. There are a number of these eye-catching sculptures dotted around the grounds, so you can wander and admire (and buy, maybe?!).

The Barouche Restaurant (the name fits in with the carriage theme) is a very relaxed, family-friendly space with a large shaded outdoor terrace. Note: it’s also a free Wi-fi spot. We had lunch there one weekday and it’s perfect for sitting outside in sunny weather, at the tables with cheerful red and white umbrellas and awnings. The menu is innovative and the food is very good, based on fresh seasonal ingredients, all served on large white plates. Service is really friendly although a little slow, but it didn’t matter, as leisurely is the order of the day when in the winelands. To give an idea of the variety on the menu: our party sampled the avocado soup and gazpacho soup, which were very cleverly divided into two halves in one large bowl; salmon salad; oxtail-stuffed squid; butternut-filled ravioli; a cheese plate with a few fruits and preserves; and the 3-scoop sorbet with unusual flavors (melon, bitter orange, mango). All very tasty and perfect with a bottle of chilled Blaauwklippen sauvignon blanc, followed by coffee. There’s also a kids’ menu and the 3-year old with us loved the mac ‘n cheese and, of course, the scoops of regular icecream!

Lunch outdoors at the restaurant in the dappled shade

Lunch outdoors at the restaurant in the dappled shade

The restaurant is open daily 9am-5pm, except January 1st, and is closed Mondays and Tuesdays in winter. In summer, they have special Tapas Sundowners Wed-Fri, 4-7pm, and High Tea Mon-Fri, 2:30-5pm.

Chilled sauvignon blanc at lunch

Chilled sauvignon blanc at lunch

Two of our favorite Blaauwklippen wines are the Sauvignon Blanc (dry, crisp, hints of gooseberry and kiwi) and the Shiraz (very smooth and fruity with a hint of oak).

The estate is also a good setting for weddings, other special events like birthdays, or conferences.

Wine Tastings: Mon-Sat 10am-5pm (winter), 10am-6:30pm (summer), and 10am-4pm Sunday. Cellar tours are available by appointment only.

Find Blaauwklippen on R44 between Somerset West and Stellenbosch.

For more information go to www.blaauwklippen.com

Creamy avocado soup, and gazpacho artfully separated in one bowl

Creamy avocado soup, and gazpacho artfully separated in one bowl

An old wagon with wooden barrels

An old wagon with wooden barrels

Fun in the playground

Fun in the playground

Our 3-year-old grand-daughter devours her mac 'n cheese!

Our 3-year-old grand-daughter devours her mac ‘n cheese!

Gorgeous setting for the Barouche restaurant

Gorgeous setting for the Barouche restaurant

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