Sometimes, despite all your very best intentions, family holidays can just go extremely wrong.
I know it happens, but call it luck if you will, we had not yet had an awful holiday experience. Until now.
OK, OK, it wasn’t all bad, but coming off the wonderful experience of our trip to Spier, it didn’t even begin to compare. In hindsight we should have just stayed one more night with the kids and enjoyed more time at Spier, but to cut costs and still get to go away, we got a more affordable venue in a “nearby”, more affordable area called Wellington.
Right now, all the people in know the know are squirming and muttering, “Ew gross” under their breath, so let me explain.
Now, to me, all Winelands areas are the same you know. Beautifully picturesque with rolling vineyards and a wonderfully relaxed atmosphere. In the centre of the town there is a lot to do and see, with pretty places for coffee and warm farm baked bread. Granted that I based all these assumptions on the couple of times that we’d been to Stellenbosch and that one time I was in Franschhoek roughly 10 years ago.
Our soon to be had experience, might have been compounded in bleakness by the fact that we did actually pop into Franschhoek to fetch the kids (Seth’s parents were staying there for a couple more nights). What a freaking beautiful place. Bustling with adventure. We stopped for a quick cuppa and to soak in the vibe. It is definitely on my hit list of places to try in the future.
Then we drove off to our adventure in Wellington.
The closer we got to the place, the quieter the car became. Our high of living the life at Spier was slowly being sucked out of us with every “Are there yet” and the view were passing to get there. Also on the way we received a call from the owner to say that they had put the single mattress there for the kids, but did we bring bedding with us? I honestly did a double take. Of course we didn’t bring freaking bedding with us, we were paying for a guest house experience – usually that means there are blankets on the beds?! I mean come on!
Now the accommodation in and of itself was not terrible, it really wasn’t – but it wasn’t what I’d call good either. I’m not one to bash people online, so I’m not going to mention names, but don’t go there. 😉 It’s a working nursery and they had just fed their plants big piles of manure. The smell? It was not pleasant. Add to that we got the smallest room in the place (and despite there not being anyone else around and the fact that we were squeezing 5 people in there, they didn’t bother to upgrade us), it was dark and slightly dank. We all just kind of sat there in a state of shock.
Wouldn’t it be nice if every guest establishment bumped you up to a better room if no one else was in it for the night?! ?
— Cindy (@CindyAlfino) April 3, 2016
So we did what we always do when life is getting us down – we went out. The closest place was the Spice Route for pizza and it didn’t disappoint.
It was getting dark, so we headed back to our hole, uh, I mean room. As we were driving up the farm road we saw a man standing on the side of the road. This in itself is not scary or even unusual. The fact that he was wearing a black balaclava that covered everything except for his eyes, was. Needless to say we were kind of freaked out a bit.
Despite getting the kids to eventually drift off to sleep and filling our minds with humour (Antman – so good), I could not get over the fact that there was a man waiting outside ready to kill all of us and get away with it. Eventually around 3pm I decided that if he really was going to come and kill us, he better freaking well do it already because I can’t wait in anticipation any longer, so I went into a restless sleep.
As it turns out, we woke up the next morning. Not dead. Winning. Also, totally worth all the stress and lack of sleep. Not.
But there is one highlight in Wellington. And that my friends, is my favourite wine.
The Diemersfontein Pinotage is my entertaining or celebration wine. It’s just so good. So obviously we had to stop there on the way home and do wine tasting even though it was 10am. Worth it. It also turns out that you can actually stay at Diemersfontein, which would have been nice to know, like the night before that.
Anyway, we took a moment to chill on their little island and took turns taking some family pictures before heading home.
As it turns out it wasn’t that bad of a holiday after all.
As cliché as it sounds, it realy isn’t all that much about where you stay, it’s who you are staying with that counts.