On Sunday, 26 July I departed on a road trip with my mom to check out my possible future university. I applied to study an LLB (law degree) and was accepted, and while I am still waiting on confirmation from other, nearby universities; I will only hear back from them in October. I felt I had to go and get a feel for how my possible future home may look like, so my mom and I made the long drive up.
We left early in the morning to drive to Plettenberg Bay, our stop before Grahamstown, as it takes 2 full days to drive from where I live to our destination. After about an hour of driving, we encountered the worst mist I have ever seen coming over a mountain pass. We couldn't see for more than about 5 meters in front of us, and although it looked beautiful from on top of the mountain, driving in the thick of it was dangerous. We made the decision to put our hazard lights on due to the incredibly bad visibility and we seemed to be driving in the mist for almost 2 hours!
Eventually, we stopped at a farm stall to eat a late breakfast and the mist slowly cleared up while we were in the cafe. I took over from my mom and drove for a while in the rain. We drove the rest of the way in light mist, and reached our guesthouse in Plettenberg bay at around 3:00pm. Our room was a short walk to the beach, so we walked about 6km along the shore and took many photos of the cascading waves and the surrounding mountains. For supper, we headed off to the Lookout Deck, a popular daytime restaurant for tourists which has views of the ocean and beyond. We had an early night to prepare for the next morning.
We woke up very early and were lucky enough to catch the beautiful winter sunrise across the ocean from our deck outside our room. I spent a while taking photos and after we packed up, we went to the dining area to be served food. After a hearty English breakfast, we were off in the rain again.
After an hour of driving, I took over the driver's seat for just over an hour and the weather had cleared to become sunny and open. For lunch, we stopped at one of our favourite farm stalls in the country: Nanaga farmstall. They have the most amazing homemade pies ( I opted for the venison one) and we bought 3 jars of their hand made gooseberry jam, for my dad, grandparents and some family friends of ours. After a short stop, we were on our way and after about 2 more hours of driving, we arrived at our guesthouse in Grahamstown. It was attached to a house on the most beautiful property, and the house was an old colonial clad stone building with large white windows and a lush garden. Our room had been renovated from an old tack room and warm perfectly cosy and warm compared to the cold winter weather outside.
For supper, we headed to the Highlander, which is part of a guesthouse that has a restaurant. I ordered a steak and the food was lovely. We went back to our guesthouse and again had an early night as the next day was our university tour.
We woke up early and decided to miss breakfast to get to our university tour guide early. His name was Michael, and he has worked at Rhodes University for the past 35 years! He took us around the campus for 3 hours in a golf cart. We saw the various residences where students stay - I really loved the old ones as they were larger and more inviting. We also toured various halls, lecture theatres, and libraries as well as recreational areas like the campus gym, pool, radio station, and gardens.
Afterwards, we headed to have lunch at Gino's, an Italian restaurant attached to the back of the Hotel Victoria. My mom and I both ordered very unhealthy, but very cheesy pizza's and after we stuffed ourselves we made our way back to our room. For dinner, we decided to try Saint's Bistro, which promised a 2-for-1 pasta deal on a Tuesday night.What a disaster! Half the stuff on the menu wasn't available, the waiter was terrible and the food wasn't great either - mine was okay, but my mom's chicken wings were bone dry (I didn't even know that was possible!). After a rather disappointing meal, we headed back and watched TV for the rest of the evening.
We had a late sleep in the morning and ate some fruit in our room for breakfast. We walked around a small shopping centre for about an hour and then my mother and I drove up to the top of a hill overlooking the town where there is a large hall that holds various ceremonies for the arts festival and graduations for the university. The settler's monument is also there and there are a bunch of different statues and monuments around there.
After walking around for a while we headed to Provost café for some coffee. We planned to have lunch there, but it wasn't that great, so we decided to go to the Spur for lunch. we walked back to the car and headed to our room, to pack up our bags and have a relaxing afternoon to read and simply laze about.
We woke up bright and early and packed our bags into the car to start our journey back home. We drove for about an hour until we reached the PE mall, where we had breakfast at the Mugg & Bean. After our meal, we browsed around the shops for a short while and continued driving. We drove the whole way through to Knysna without stopping again, and managed to get there at 13:30, so we had a while to explore. We unpacked our things and then drove off to the Waterfront shopping centre and browsed around at all of the shops. After about an hour and a half, we decided to have an early supper. My mom and I shared a sushi platter for 2 and it was so good! We headed back to our hotel room and spent the night curled up in bed watching TV.
I woke up early to a freezing cold room, and the rain poured for the rest of the day. My mom and I headed over t the breakfast room at around 8:00am and I made myself a warm Nespresso cappuccino. We were served a traditional English breakfast and a breakfast fruit salad. After packing our bags and paying, we left in the grey weather. We drove for a while without stopping, and only had some coffee at a farm stall as we were still quite full from breakfast. At one point in the trip, a beautiful, full rainbow appeared in the stormy weather, and I made sure to take lots of pictures. With about an hour left to go, we decided to stop at Houwhoek farm stall for a homemade pie for lunch, and they were so good! We ate in the car and then drove our last leg of the journey.
I hope you enjoyed reading about the road trip and stay tuned as I have another post coming up soon - this time, I'll be flying to the Drakensberg for a week holiday, exciting stuff!
-The Traveling Oyster xxx