stellenbosch *south africa*
The historic centre of this wealthy university town envelopes you in a charming village of cafes, boutique stores and art galleries. The streets are framed by oak trees dating back to 1760, climbing greenery and an array of architectural beauties that are declared historical monuments. To add to the feel of history of this European-influenced town (and hazards for a vision-impaired wanderer!), open stone drains run down the streets, setting off a meander of autumn leaves on the first wave of clear water. The enjoyment of alfresco dining is evident by the constant presence of well-dressed locals spread across the pathway, including the occasional handsome dog to complete the image. Artisan bread, handmade chocolates and South African coffee fill the nose and taste buds. African wooden homewares and ornaments, hand spun yarn throws and paintings tempt the souvenir or gift seeker. We wandered to De Volkskombuis for traditional South African fare served on white tablecloths, with soothing music playing and copper cooking ware hanging from the walls. Our home for the two nights Coopmanhuijs Hotel, built in 1713, was nestled in the middle of this beautiful area. It was a delight all of its own and a welcome retreat when my eyes needed rest from the bright sun. Our room looked over the pool and outdoor breakfast area – the wooden door pictured with the greenery wrapping our verandah was a favourite sight for me. What a delight.