The day broke, rainy and cold. It made me think of England. That cold wet, that creeps into your bones, freezing you from the inside.
Decided to travel in land, as flowers, don’t show themselves in rainy weather. I guess it’s like hiding?
After about 2 hours of just cruising, I found myself, in a little town, called Darling. My eye caught the sign: Ormonde Wine Cellar. I thought, mmm, tasting wine, a cup of coffee and using the bathroom, might not be such bad idea. Great the disappointment. The beauty of the old farm house and the garden, did not prepare me for the lack of directions and hospitality. I stood for 25 minutes in the cellar, listening to people talking, without seeing them, when finally one of them realised there is a potential customer, waiting. I very politely declined to taste the wine, and I guess I never will.
Exploring the up and down streets of Darling, was amazing. The old mixed with the new. Muddy roads, mountain views, nature inside the little town. I pulled over at the museum, to google places of interest, cause by now, I was bursting. Darling Brewery, came up with a star rating of 5 out of 5. Ok, that’s lunch and bathroom break settled, off I went to find the Brewery.
On my way, to the Brewery, something tells me, turn, right. There, on the left, was “Evita se Perron” and “Tannie se tuin”
I had to stop. My mom is such a big fan of, Pieter Dirk Uys aka Evita. I was still staring at the brightly coloured containers, when a tour bus full of elderly people pulled up. I knew, there will be a queue at the ladies room, so I started browsing.
It’s a tribute to the politics of old South Africa with a hint of Evita’s subtle jests. If ever you are in Darling, you’ve got to stop here! Every possible space is taken up with relics, photos, newspaper clippings of yesteryear! Even in the bathroom, Eugene Terblance is staring at you, while sitting on the loo.
The restaurant was very busy, so I decided to move on to the Brewery. Steering the Datsun into a very slippery muddy road, I found the Brewery in the right. Hard to miss actually. But where do you park? Inside? Outside? On the street? This place are not very good with directions. Decided to park in the street in between two mud puddles. I looked at all the cars parked there at nearly 2pm. Big white 4×4 bakkies, with big white male drivers. When I say big, I mean, you see the belly first, dressed in either Khaki or Dishcloth tartan, then you see the beard and the man behind the belly. I decided to get my leftover pizza and another bottle of water from the boot, and drive on. I really can not be bothered with this crowd. Pity really.
Eating pizza, trying to steer the Datsun back to a tar toad and checking out google maps at the same time, is definitely not advisable.
I just drove in a direction to nowhere really, when I spotted Darling Cellars. It’s never been on my tick list nor have I ever tasted their wines. I had to stop.
As I stopped, I see that their Shiraz just one an award and decided, I’ve got to try it!
There was another couple there, with a teenager kid, on her phone and me. Such hospitality and friendless was not expected. And boy, that Shiraz was good! I bought a bottle. The Pinot noir was a bit fizzy, but with time, I think it will be a winner too.
It was nearly 4pm, and going home via Tienie Versveld Reserve, sounded like a good idea. Leaving the cellar, I ate my last piece of leftover pizza. Google maps directed me to turn left, it didn’t sound right, but not knowing the area, I followed. More wild flowers and ostriches next to the road. A soft drizzle, lulled by the wine and the beauty around me, I didn’t realized I drive all the way into Moorreesburg. Google maps, insured I’m at the reserve and I know, I’ve driven more than the allowed 200km per day that my rental allows.
I turned back to Darling, back to Paternoster, as the sun sets, kissing the sea in beautiful pink hues.
That evening, I was sitting with my back to the people in the restaurant, staring at the dark sea, and the rain, reflecting the neon sign, before running down the window, splashing into the cobbled street, below.
A couple started talking to me, wanting to know, why I’m alone. I said, I’m on a me-time break. By this time the 20 odd bikers at the next time was irritating me, so I took my bottle of wine and the rest of the chicken gordonbleu to my room.