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Stellenbosch Birthday Weekend

Updated: May 5, 2020

At the end of February Claudine and I flew to Cape Town to go and surprise our other best friend Lara and our friend Markus (Claudine's Boyfriend). Both of them are studying in Stellenbosch and we hadn't seen them in almost two months. We were extremely excited, but how would we surprise both Lara and Markus at the same time without dropping any hints? So let me start at the beginning.

I had been travelling for almost 20 hours (from Dubai) when I finally met Claudine on the last flight from Walvis Bay to Cape Town. After we settled in our seats we devised a plan and before we began to taxi I had sent Markus a voice note. I asked him to help me surprise Lara that evening. He was more than happy to help, but little did he know that Lara would not be the only one being surprised. Markus told me that he and Lara would be going to dinner that evening and once we arrived in Stellenbosch Claudine and I were so excited to finally see them again.

Even though we were such fantastic surprise planners we managed to come in through the side door of the restaurant and not the front door. As fate would have it Lara and Markus sat right across the door. Markus' face when he saw Clau was priceless and when Lara turned around and saw us she flew up immediately and in a matter of seconds she was hugging me .

Lara and I have practically been best friends since birth and she is the closest thing I have to a sister. She started crying and later she hit me on my arm and screeched; " Why didn't you tell me!" and " I knew it, I knew it, I knew it!". Finally we were all together again and it felt like we had never gone our separate ways. It was the perfect start to an epic weekend.


Day 1 - Night of the surprise

After the big surprise we all settled down and had a very nice dinner at Java Bistro. If you ever have the pleasure of eating there I would recommend the Smokey Jo pizza. It has smoked chicken, brie and caramelised onions on it and let me tell you it was absolutely divine. After dinner we took to the streets of the lively student town and the two locals showed us all the best spots. After a bit of a walk we had some frozen yogurt, sat outside under the starts and caught up some more. The perfect end to an already awesome day.

Day 2 - endless sushi and an unforgettable birthday dinner

The Saturday started of very relaxed with Lara and myself meeting for a late morning smoothie and Markus and Claudine spending some alone time together. While sipping our smoothies Lara told me about this all-you-can-eat sushi restaurant she had heard about. We decided to go and check it out before deciding to have lunch there and ended up taking our seats at the buffet conveyer belt as soon as we walked in the door. Lara and I have an unmatched love of sushi and we truly took advantage of the buffet. When Markus and Clau joined us an hour later we were still going strong. After our huge lunch we spent the rest of the afternoon strolling through the picturesk street of Stellenbosch with the sun shining through all the old trees covering the sidewalk. Even though the day had already been perfect it was about to get even better. Saturday evening was our special birthday dinner at The Fat Butcher and it was glorious! We shared shared one of the best steaks I have ever eaten and when dessert came around we were all blessed with dessert on-the-house as a Birthday gift from the restaurant and its staff. We felt truly pampered and it was one of the best dining experiences that I've ever had. I can not recommend this gem of a restaurant enough! And if the meat hasn't convinced you there is even the added bonus of being treated with jars of various different sweets on your way out.

Day 3 - Cape Town Shopping, Wine and an unfortunate trip to the emergency room

On Sunday we decided that we needed to pay the V&A mall a visit so we concocted a plan. We drove with an Uber to Cape Town and enjoyed a morning of shopping ( and waiting for Lara to finish in Zara ). We had some delicious brunch snacks at the V&A Food Market. Our Friend Nicolaas is studying in Cape Town and we convinced him to join us at Jonkershuis restaurant on the Groot Constantia wine estate for a cheese board and delicious wine and a non-alcoholic beverage for him ( he was the only one with a car ). We arrived at the wine estate around 3 pm and we spent around an hour enjoying the sites and lounging around, sipping wine and basking in the sun's warmth on that perfect Sunday afternoon. Little did we know that it would only be perfect up until that point. Clau started feeling ill and by the time we got back in Stellenbosch se was feeling horrible. It even got to a point were we had to go to the local emergency room. Luckily the doctor sorted her out with a drip and some medicine. We were all happy to help and comfort her.


On Monday we were due to leave. We were obviously sad to go, but we had such a nice visit and we made buckets of memories. All in all seeing our friends was the best part. Even when our plane soared through the rain my heart was happy.


Do you have those people in your life that you just instantly feel at home with?

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See ya soon!



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Ann Vos

Naturally Curious