Lost in Paarl

This morning, it being a Saturday and our usual ‘going to the shops’ day, we set off early for the shopping mecca of Century City and from thence to the rather pretty Willowbridge shopping centre (behind that utterly confusing behemoth of Tygervalley Shopping Centre, where I can never remember near which entrance and which level I left my car).

A considerable amount of money poorer, we turned to each other and said, “This is ridiculous. It’s a long weekend, and we’re inside a shopping mall where we can’t even enjoy this glorious weather! Let’s go for a drive!”

A few minutes later, we were headed outwards on the N1 in the general direction of the pretty town of Stellenbosch in the heart of the winefarming area of the Western Cape to have coffee at “the quaintest little coffee shop we can find”! Hubby was beaming with delight… and somehow, we missed the turn-off.

It was only when we saw the Afrikaner Taal Monument reaching into the sky right next to us, that we realised we were now in Paarl – “die Pêrel” (the Pearl), as it is known in Afrikaans. Well, then, I suggested bravely, perhaps we can find a coffee shop here instead?

And thus we cruised, very slowly, along the very, very long Main Road of Paarl. Apparently, Paarl has the longest Main Road in South Africa – it is 12 km long. I have rarely seen a town where the wine estates are literally ON the main road. Here, there were rows upon rows of vines stretching up the hillside, interspersed among delightful old houses, many of which have been renovated and converted into cute little shops. We passed a school or two, and a turn-off to the Mall, which looks like malls everywhere (in the countryside, I prefer to avoid malls).

We u-turned around a big church and ended up at the cutest little Afrikaans coffee shop – Chat Coffi Café (yes, I know Coffi is misspelt, but I suppose that’s the phonetic Afrikaans spelling) on the Main Road, in a big house called “Klein Amsterdam”. One of the adjoining rooms was a treatment room, offering facials and manicures, I think, and there were a few other rooms inside too.

The restaurant itself fitted into two or three fairly small rooms with high beamed ceilings and huge recessed windows looking out onto the Main Road. In the first room there was a big cupboard containing all kinds of homemade goodies for sale. We had a fabulous breakfast of toast, fried eggs, grilled tomatoes and crispy bacon, together with a big pot of tea, all of which cost far less and was tastier than the breakfasts we occasionally have near home.

Paarl is definitely worth another visit – and next time, I want to amble along the Main Road and pop into those cute little shops I spotted. And I’m bringing my camera!

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2 thoughts on “Lost in Paarl

  1. Next time you head to Paarl, do go try some wine at Seidelberg – it’s the perfect tasting: great wines, lovely cellar setting, very personal and informative service. Completely different to Fairview, almost next door, which is however a lovely venue for lunch.

  2. Hi Robynn!

    Thank you for re-entering this comment after I accidentally deleted it – realllly appreciate it!

    I checked out the Seidelberg website – http://www.seidelberg.co.za/ – and I see that they have a “Venetian-style glass blowing studios”. It looks like they produce absolutely exquisite works of art.

    Definitely adding this to my ‘when next in Paarl’ list.

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