Lunch in Stellenbosch

I have found a very nice spot for lunch in Stellenbosch.  There are a lot of good restaurants and coffee shops in the touristy part of town but I do like the option of going to a restaurant in the botanical gardens.

The restaurant is called the Katjiepiering and is named after one South Africa’s oldest garden plants.  An example of the species, Gardenia jasminoides can be found growing in pots near the door.  As an English speaker I am more familiar with the name Gardenia for this plant and only recently learnt that the Afrikaans name is Katjiepiering.  This plant is also native to parts of Asia and the Afrikaans name was derived from the Malay name “Kachapirang” or “Catshopiri”.  The Afrikaans culture and language has many Malay influences as a result of slaves that were brought over from Indonesia by the Dutch.

A picture of a Katjiepiering or Gardenia in a pot

The restaurant has a very nice setting in the Stellenbosch University Botanical Garden.  One of these days I will make time to explore more of the garden than just the path to the restaurant.  The Botanical Garden looks very very interesting and is of course a great place to learn a bit more about some of South Africa’s local plants.

Botanical garden

When the weather is good you can sit outside in the shade which includes an old gum tree and umbrellas.  When the weather is bad there is a small seating area indoors.

The Katjiepiering

The food is good and reasonably priced for what you get.  I think the portion sizes are good for a light lunch which is what you want when the weather is good.  When I visited a few days ago it very hot.  It has been for a few days now.  It seems like Cape Town went from winter to summer in about 2 weeks.  I’m sure that within a month we went from using the gas heater to swimming outdoors.  The temperature change has been quite a shock because it is not normally so hot in October.

Anyway because of the heat I decided to have the Cajun Chicken salad which was very tasty.  The cajun spices balance nicely with lettuce and cucumber.  I found it a little too spicy but then I’m not very good with hot food so I thing most people will be happy with level of spiciness for a salad.  Having had a salad I was feeling virtuous and decided that it would be OK to finish the meal off with some chocolate cake.

So I think the Katjiepiering is a good place for lunch in Stellenbosch and if you have time you can take a bit of time to enjoy the Botanical Garden.




The Chocolate Festival

Of course with so little notice of IT Guy’s arrival we did not have much time to make plans.

The first morning of his visit I needed to take care of a few work things before making some plans for his visit.  He was keen the Chocolate Festival in Stellenbosch and I found a Jazz Festival the following day so I suggested we spend a few days in the area. Normally I would aim to go to an event like the Chocolate festival when it opened but by the time we were ready to leave it was too late for that.  There there was a long queue to get into wine farm where the festival was being held.  I think we queued for about 20 mins to get parked.

Which of course meant that there were crowds everywhere including for the food vans as it was lunchtime when we arrived.  We headed for the building which housed the chocolate festival and after a bit of pushing and shoving we managed to get some chocolate covered strawberries from the fountain.  Then I had a cheese platter, it was very tasty but I would have liked more bread or crackers.  IT Guy had opted for a pie when we stopped for petrol, which seemed a bit wrong to me. Typical of many of these things there was not enough seating so we had to eat standing up.

We found a stand doing very nice gin cocktails based on various flavors of tonic.  There didn’t seem to be enough choice of chocolate to justify the title but maybe this was because I was already familiar with most of the brands (maybe I shouldn’t admit that) although I did find a very nice chocolate spread (without nuts) and some tasty chocolate.  So I ended up back at the chocolate fountain for a waffle.  Then we got some drinks and IT Guy found a table because the placed had started to empty a bit.  We sat for a while enjoying each other’s company, the good weather and the atmosphere.


Our guest house was only about 10 mins away so we stopped there briefly to check in and they recommended Paarl Mall for some food.  After snacking on various things we were definitely in need of a decent meal.

It was lovely day and while this kind of festival can get a bit expensive I the weather and the atmosphere made for a very nice day.


The Future of Heartbreak and Hope

This started out as a blog about online dating but since I met IT Guy I have deleted all my dating profiles.  Of course one can never be completely sure how long a relationship will last but right now the signs are good.  I’m sure anyone who has been following my blog for a while will have noticed that it has been evolving.  So I figured it was time to clarify the future of Heartbreak and Hope.

I have always found that writing is a great way of organizing my thoughts and making plans to sort out problems.  I could continue with a more personal journal about my search for a job and some of the challenges with a long-distance relationship.  Blogging about a job hunt seems rather dull and fraught with risks that something will come back to haunt me.  Plus, at the start I was aiming for something more lighthearted and entertaining.

I have already decided to be more cautious about what I share about IT Guy.  I want to be able to share this blog with him so it was frustrating that I published a post about the challenges of staying in touch a few days before he made his last-minute visit.  An important topic I had not been able to discuss with him was the most recent post which made sharing the blog rather awkward.

Also one of the goals of this blog was to learn more about blogging.  I had been trying to think of a topic for a while before I got the idea of an online dating blog.  This has been great for learning more about blogging and over time I have been using more features.  Another issue that has been bothering me is that the web address and title of my blog do not match.  For a while I have been thinking about starting a fresh blog.  Something without the online dating and allows me to share my name and face.

My dream is a joint project with IT Guy.  He has been doing websites for work and his cricket club so he knows a lot of about the with the technical aspects and marketing.  The first challenge is actually being able to show him my current blog.  I suspect he is going to find loads of things to fix.

And the content, you must be wondering by now.  I like the idea of a travel and lifestyle blog.  Something with a bit of humor and the odd ‘it didn’t really go according to plan‘ story.  Fun stories that give more of a sense of the experience of places I visit.  Nothing too serious there are plenty of websites that specialise in facts and figures.

For now I will continue writing here.  It will give me a chance to figure out the content, writing style and timing for a new blog.  Please feel free to let me know which posts you like and what you think of where this blog is going.





An Evening at the V&A Waterfront

The weather in Cape Town is steadily improving and last night the weather was perfect for sitting outside and where better to go than the V&A Waterfront.  Part of the harbor has been converted into a big development which includes shops, restaurants, hotels and housing.

When we first moved back to Cape Town in 1990 they had just finished the first phase of the development.  There used to be a place that did really nice ice-creams so we would go and get an ice-cream, have a walk around and watch the boats.  It is still a working harbor.  I also found it interesting looking at scale model of what was then a proposed development.

These days it is very popular especially when the weather is good.  While the V&A Waterfront caters to wealthy people there are still options for those with less money.  You can walk around looking at the different places and soaking up the atmosphere.  There is even an amphitheater that offers free entertainment although a cynic could argue this is a cunning ploy to encourage you to spend at the nearby restaurants.

the amphitheater at the waterfront

One of the things I love about the V&A Waterfront is that it is still a working harbor and there is a lot of activity with boats and yachts coming and going.  This part of harbor even includes the dock which would have taken numerous political prisoners including Nelson Mandela to Robben Island although these days the trips to Robben Island leave from another part of the harbor.

There are many restaurants overlooking the harbor and last night we went to Quay 4.  It has been there ever since I have been going to the V&A Waterfront.  I also remember it as a popular drinking spot many people while still at school even though they might not have reached the legal drinking age.  We sat on the top deck which give a nice view of the harbor

a view of the waterfront from Quay 4

It made an interesting start to the evening when I ordered an Appletiser (a soft drink) and the waiter had to clarify if I wanted one of their cocktails, an Apple-thai-zer.  Although I did later have a gin cocktail called a Blue Moon which was very tasty but not the poshest looking cocktail.  I also had a very tasty Salmon dish.

a food photo showing a plate of Salmon

Overall I had a very nice evening and would definitely recommend a visit to the V&A Waterfront.




Another visit from IT Guy

‘They gave us Thursday off so I took Sunday and Monday as well and my flight lands at 6pm tomorrow’ (Friday).

‘Wait you mean tomorrow?’

And so IT guy’s next visit to Cape Town in August was confirmed.


When we first talked about the next visit the idea was for me to go there.  Then he suggested that he was thinking of coming to Cape Town at the end of the month.  It seems there was a Muslim holiday at the end of August but the dates are only confirmed close to the time because it depends on the moon.  He was waiting to see what dates would be announced as holiday for private companies.

Typically this coincided with the deadline for an important project report.  I had sent the report to my boss for his comments on the Wednesday so I was waiting to see if he would require more changes.  On Friday morning the boss emailed to say the report was submitted so I figured it was safe to head out for an hour and sort some things for IT Guy’s visit.  Of course as soon as I left he called to say there was a problem with the submission and I ended up agreeing to sort it when I got home.

There were a few problems with the submission and for a while I thought that I was going to have to sort it on Monday.  I really didn’t want to be thinking of work after IT Guy arrived.  Just as I was stressing an email came through from my work colleague asking for stuff.  It wasn’t clear what she wanted and I started to stress about getting it done before leaving for the airport.  In the end I managed to submit the report and accept that I could not help my colleague.

It was later while I was at the airport waiting for IT Guy that I realised I always find some reason to stress before seeing IT Guy.  Perhaps some if it is down to seeing IT Guy.

It was a lovely evening so we decided to head for a collection of restaurants on the beachfront.  We went to a place that does good African food.  It turns out that the set menu special is not as good as the main menu.  It seems this is definitely one case where the reduced price reflects a reduced quality so the food was good but not great.  Apart from the food it was a really nice evening.  Great to be able to see each other again and have a proper face to face chat.

After a few stressful weeks and a very stressful day I was able to start to relax and enjoy some good company.