2023 - 08 - Wild Coast, South Africa
A long way ...
From now on we had to work off the kilometers, because the first, really attractive destination Knysna, a town on the tourist route "Garden Route" in the province of Western Cape, was 1000 kilometers away, thus to be reached in three bearable day trips. At least once again listening to lots of music, Little Feat, Lou Reed, Stones, etc.
First to Port Edward, a settlement similar to St. Lucia, the infrastructure again on the through road, but much poorer - like our dinner at 6 pm: hamburger with fries.
In the morning we continued to Port St. John, and road-wise even worse, lots of potholes (pot holes), a word Paloma pronounced "potóles" and thus became a running joke. "Los putos potóles!" with accent on the second O. Then fog, that sometimes you could not see your hand in front of your eyes. And the poorer the area, the more brutal and numerous were the harassments before and after each village crossing. Soon we summed up that there are benign and malignant chicanes. The benign ones rise gently and fall just as gently, regularly about three meters wide. The vicious ones, on the other hand, measure only about 60 centimeters in width and are rather sharp-edged on both sides.
On both sides of the road, there is a myriad of people on foot on their way to work or elsewhere in the morning, as well as cows, sheep and goats grazing very close to the roadside. And every now and then a dead dog, once we even passed a group of four dogs that were disemboweling a dead donkey.
A stopover in Ballito, where our Cape Town Duesenberg dealer owns a chalet in a fully gated, white enclave. After some Garmin-induced wandering, he picked us up with his red Vespa at the strictly guarded entrance gate. My driver's license was scanned by an armed black man. Then into the resort, everything very beautiful, wonderfully gardened, flora and fauna, golf courses etc.. Unfortunately, as usual, we had forgotten to take the golf equipment with us on the trip. But this is sheltered living, you feel safer, but in the end you are the one locked up. Those on the outside can't get in without authorization, and you can't get out without it either.
And Andreas, our host, served a super Rosé sparkling wine "Graham Beck", which was in no way inferior to the "Rotari Brut" or our "Cava de Nit".
After the "scanning" of my driver's license by one of the entry guards, we continued to our destination for today. Port St. Johns (in the Eastern Cape province) is not much different from Port Edwards, but is located at a wide estuary. Rump steak with fries was the best that could be found for food.
Onward. Chintsa, an actually beautiful and unguarded urbanization with sea view and huge wide beach. Since I had discovered in Tripadvisor except for a hotel restaurant "Prana" practically only fish & chips restaurants and pizzerias, we called at noon shortly before arrival there to reserve a table. Bad connection, the woman wanted to know my name and first name, took everything awkwardly, to give me at the end to understand that they were "fully booked" his. At least nothing else could be inferred from the choppy words. In our accommodation I asked the landlord to call there again, because the thing seemed strange to me. And indeed, he managed to book us the table for 7 p.m. (strange time for South Africa), not without the woman on the phone asking for my complete VISA data.
At a quarter to seven, total power failure as often in this country, we fought our way through dark streets to this with lots of advance praise provided restaurant. The Prana is located in a huge park area, you first drive 200 meters through a hedge-lined driveway and, after passing a guard post, get to the parking lot. The parking attendant guided us another estimated 150m over paths with flagstones to the restaurant.
Four tables lavishly set with a myriad of cutlery, we were the only guests. The extremely servile waiter turned up the flame of the mushroom heater and soon brought us the ordered bottle of red wine of the best quality. When asked where the other guests were (fully booked), he explained that the rich hotel guests had their food brought to their suites. Meieomei, the poor "boy" who constantly stepped outside with meals from the kitchen! In general, it always has a stale taste to see poor people slaving away while the rich at least try to ultimately enjoy life at their expense.
Opera music an Amuese Geulle, consisting of two croquettes each, a sweet crossaint and a thumb-thick white bread finger so as 3 "egg cups" with oil, balsamic vinegar and small chopped nuts. So you could dip the white bread into the oil and then into the nut cup to stick the nut mixture to it. What for? And absolutely nothing special.
Then came a well and somewhat spicy lentil and bean soup, followed by an Arabic-style lamb ragout and, for my partner, a fried fish covered in a sauce that ruined even the last semblance of flavor. Meanwhile, on the white tablecloth, the incredible array of cutlery thinned out.
The cinnamon-infused ice cream was okay, but the cheese platter for dessert was nothing special either. Always these tasteless mozarella balls!
80 euros for the two of us, with the excellent wine costing 30 euros. Why all this credit card theater, these thousands of knives, forks and spoons and this extreme servility? And where did all those 5-point ratings of this place in Chintsa come from? Among the blind, the one-eyed man is king!
Knysna (pronounced: Neisna)
Province of Cape Town, on the way again and again large rivers that pour out of deep valleys into the sea. A perfect country road and soon a quite luxurious suite in an establishment on an island.
As always, all the staff, waiters, etc. black, and all the guests white. And the same in the bars and restaurants, waiters and staff always black, the guests almost exclusively white. And that stems from the fact that most blacks simply can't afford to go to restaurants. They stand on the street and wave you in for a tip, even though you don't want to park. Or they offer oranges or flowers for sale, even after night has fallen.
Somehow the real life is missing in many places, there are no centers, hardly any beach bars, at the latest at 9 p.m. the power goes off and you can't go out anymore. Everything is somehow different!
People say that it is better not to be out and about at night in South Africa. But where should you go if the electricity is always cut off at 9 p.m. at the latest? One could come up with conspiracy theories: A mechanism of "power", starting at 9 pm, to keep people from dangerous activities (alcohol consumption etc.).
And what are people joking about here?
What did we use as a light source before the candles? Electricity.
Or: What must a South African man have to impress women? A generator.
Trip to George (about 45km): Someone says "George" is beautiful. But George is not worth mentioning, it is nothing, just again this long thoroughfare with shopping malls, gas stations, computer stores and car repair stores. That's how it is: quite often you go or drive off hopefully, find nothing and return frustrated. Or you have actually found a bar, but the waiter tells you that he can't serve anything because of the load shedding.
Knysna, after all: here on Theissen Island the very first funky restaurant and bar! And what is it called: Tapas. The Spaniard feels honored. Colorful hustle and bustle. There were even oysters and live music, rocked by a white trio. And lots of white young people, with the white South African usually extremely inelegantly dressed.
Franschoek: From poor to rich - from black to white ...
Sunday morning, on towards the wine region, Franschoek. At 12 o'clock the women's soccer final Spain - England started. No rest stop with TV (rather unusual), but we found a local radio station with a very old, funny lady, who of course commented everything in Zulu (or whatever the local language is called here). All kinds of Spanish words like Real Madrid, Barcelona, Atletic Club, Olga, Hermoso ... could be identified, especially several times the word "Spain" at the 1:0 of our team.
Franschoek means "French Angle", because about 200 persecuted Frenchmen (Hugenots) emigrated here already around 1688. This mild spot of earth lies in a valley, surrounded by a bizarre mountain range in a breathtaking landscape and was praised to us by an acquaintance as "the most beautiful place of whole South Africa". Well, all I can say to that is that any small village in Franconia or Andalusia is about ten times more beautiful. Again, all the infrastructure is on the thoroughfare, though admittedly the fancy houses are built and plastered correctly. But it's that Disney-land-like, "here's the award-winning South African model village!" kind of thing, like the German island of Spiekeroog or Fornalutx in Mallorca. The only thing missing are the garden gnomes in the front gardens! And all this with the painting "paradise for fine wine lovers". This little town is bursting with expensive boutiques, delicatessens and liquor stores, posh restaurants and correspondingly rich, upper-middle-class clientele, which seems all the more disgusting in the interplay with the few poor blacks who sit here on the street or beg for money.
Our establishment was a bit outside, cypress-lined driveway like in Tuscany, stylishly furnished and run by a super nice German employee. By far the best breakfast here so far in the fireplace heated ambience, with an outside temperature of 7 degrees and rain. It warms up to 14 degrees during the day and drops sharply again in the evening as you make your way to one of the many food spots.
Oyster breast on morel cream with Waldheini emulsion
Among the numerous restaurants, unfortunately, there is hardly one that does not have a fixed menu. This bad habit began when some ambitious chefs increased their menu from four to fourteen courses with the aim of earning the 3-star Michelin points of this French elite organization. Oh dear, those tiny, pimpled, sculpted portions, draped, bedded, gravy-rimmed and possibly adorned with edible flower blossoms, one plate at a time. I'm tired of it, whereas on the first night after all the basic eating on the Wild Coast here, after all, we had the best dinner yet. But it doesn't take much to trump fish & chips and hamburgers, and the oysters were to be taken with a grain of salt: diarrhea and vomiting at night!
Everything seems contrived, and if you eat well and authentically in Spain, you see things with different eyes. If you have the best material available, you don't need to spice it up with foams, seeds and other decorative elements!
What is really worth seeing and tasting, however, is the wine, be it red, white, rosé or sparkling. What the winegrowers produce here is really absolute top class. Even the Italians and Spaniards have to take their hats off, while the French have no choice but to put on envious expressions and tip their completely overpriced Moet & Chandon down the toilet.
Delaire Graff - the "must visit" bodega just outside Stellenbosch. "Must visit!" we were told. A grand entrance with security guards, scanning the driver's license, a large parking lot, and into the hallowed halls! "What can we do here besides testing wine or having lunch?" was my question to the receptionist. "Shopping, diamonds, clothes, etc.", the reply. We proceeded to the wine testing room and were seated. Different classified test wine groups, we ordered the most expensive and an olive-carrot platter (€ 50,-). As the price suggested, the drinks then presented (1 Cava, 2x white wine and 2x red wine) were absolutely nothing special. In addition, behind us a couple, from whose cell phone it resounded loudly, and next to us an older gentleman with a slim, fully beauty-operated lady of indeterminable age. Once again a lot of fuss about little!
If there is a nice place in this area at all, it is Hermanus, located on the coast, inviting like a North Sea resort, although instead of seals on the beach out in the sea, you can occasionally see whales.
One finds parking lots everywhere. But wait until with increasing prosperity all the blacks finally have cars. Then you can look around, here! Everything will be just as unbearable as in all European cities.
Actually, everything is super here, flora and fauna, animals and again animals, on water and on land, highly impressive landscapes, pure nature! But in the end it is, let's call it generously, little things that keep you from spending more than a vacation in this beautiful country.
Bidets seem to be unknown in this country. But they do have fancy bathtubs!
The Dussie spends about 95% of his time resting. During this time it can often be seen sunbathing, sometimes forming "piles" where several animals pile on top of each other. This is thought to be an element of its complex thermoregulation.