Saturday, April 22, 2006

A view from the

We left Swellendam late Monday morning to the accompaniment of a light drizzle. We expected to hit some traffic, but we were leaving early enough in the day that we didn't expect to hit a great deal. The rain, however, was an unexpected complication. Once out on the N2 we found ourselves driving through intermittent downpours that actually made it difficult for us to see the road. Hubby being diabetic, skipping lunch is not an option for us, so as the rain slowed the traffic and stacked it up, we decided to take a side trip down to Hermanus for lunch, a decision that was, ultimately, a mixed blessing.

We found a restaurant in Hermanus that was upstairs, with windows on three sides. It was just after the lunch rush, so we were shown to one of the premiere tables, right in the corner with spectacular views in two directions. The rain and wind continued, giving us quite a show to accompany our dinner!

The traffic in and out of Hermanus was horrifying! The main road through the town was choked literally from the eastern entrance to the town all the way through town and out onto the highway. At first we assumed it was simply holiday traffic clogging the roadways, but eventually discovered the cause: two traffic lights at the western end of town were holding up traffic by not allowing enough cars through at each cycle...the lights were programmed for normal Monday traffic, not holiday traffic in which the majority of the cars were all going in one direction. To add insult to injury, at both intersections there were police cars and a gaggle of cops standing around (including Traffic Department cops) looking at the snarl of cars and doing absolutely nothing!

Eventually we got out of town and the traffic moved along nicely until we came to the back up where the holidayers from various destinations all were trying to get onto the same road back to Cape Town at the same time:

The traffic behind us

The traffic ahead of us...

More of the traffic ahead of us

The scary part about all of this traffic is that it was way out in the middle of nowhere and we had no way to gauge how far the jam stretched! But people were, for the most part, polite and good natured and despite all the congestion, we managed to make it home in one piece before the sun went down.

All things considered, it was a nice holiday and I definitely recommend the guesthouses we stayed at: WedgeView in Stellenbosch and Rothman Manor in Swellendam. Lovely, lovely places, well-kept, beautifully appointed, stunning grounds, excellent meals and gracious hosts. We'll be visiting both places again!

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