Travelling from Stellenbosch to Hermanus was a real treat. We climbed through mountains, snaked through the clouds, and passed vineyards on our way to this seaside retreat. The bus dropped me off at a different town, where a shuttle came and picked us up. The first thing I noticed was the super cute dog who came to greet us. The dog jumped into the front seat, but then knowing I was a dog person, stared at me, jumped down and crawled into my lap. The dog slept in my lap for the 30 minute ride to the hostel.
The hostel I stayed at, the Hermanus Backpacker, was amazing. Inside it looked like the coziest house imaginable. I loved all the bright colors, windows, and sofas. It was perfect. The staff was super friendly and I felt instantly welcome. I headed into town to go exploring before my whale watching boat tour.
I looked up this cool place to eat and I was pretty determined to find it and consume some seafood there. So I walked to the center of town and I fell in love. It had the perfect little square right next to the cliffs overlooking the ocean. Rocky crags and grassy knolls. Beautiful. I quickly found the place I wanted for lunch. The stairs down into the cave were incredibly inviting and I knew this was going to be a good meal. The kitchen didn’t open for another 30 minutes so I grabbed a table near the cliff and settled for a glass of wine and patience. This girl was ready to eat, so I ordered a giant platter of food. As I sat waiting for my food I watched as whales surfaced just a football field away from my table.
Then my food came.
And I only had eyes for it. Do you see that? Do you see that the platter of food is the epitome of food for me? Greek salad (favorite). Fresh grilled fish, giant prawns, calamari, mussels, and french fries. Honestly, this is one of my favorite meals of all time. Seafood extravaganza! I ate all of it, minus the fries. I nibbled on those. Oh yeah there was rice down there too. I devoured my meal and then waddled my way along the coast back to my hostel. I grabbed my camera, and headed off to the boat tour.
The 30 minute walk to the wharf was amazing. The houses were dreamy, the view was breath taking. Everything about it called to me. It kept saying: “move here….live here….you know you are enamored.” I stopped and gapped at the flowers. I took picture after picture. With every second, I fell more in love with the place.
A thatch roof cottage is my dream home. When I saw this place I almost cried. It is an inn, don’t worry I have plans to stay there again in my future. Finally, I made it to the wharf and I boarded my boat headed to whale territory. It didn’t take long before we saw whales. Maybe 10 minutes. And that’s all the time it took for people to start getting sea sick. And bad. Half the boat was projectile vomiting overboard. I chilled up top, gazing at the beautiful Southern Right Whales that were putting on a show for us.
We saw probably between 10-15 whales, maybe more. One was Albino and that was pretty damn cool. Most of the time they were in pairs or here at the end there were 4 of them. They got incredibly close to the boat, passing right in front of the bow even. I was so impressed with how loud they were. Whenever they breathed it sounded like a water pipe valve releasing pressure. It was absolutely incredible. I loved every minute of it. Seeing such giant, gentle creatures that close in the wild, was fascinating. When I was a little girl I wanted to be a marine biologist/or dolphin trainer, so being close to whales was a true treat for me. I also wanted to be a naval architect and ship captain, so just being on a boat was also nice. (Revealing a secret here! Some days I still wish that I would have gone to naval school.)
After the 3 hour boat tour, I walked back to the hostel. The sun was about to set and the light was casting glorious shadows and hugging every flower. It looked like the whole scene was painted by Monet. That evening I joined the locals and fellow guests in a South African holiday tradition, it was Heritage Day, which is Braai day. Everyone barbeques on Heritage Day and oh hell yeah I was eating steak.
I got my steak and it was a big, fat, juice hunk of meat. It was accompanied by a salad and baked potato which I then lathered in Ranch Dressing (no seriously the plate was swimming in ranch). Even though I ate a giant platter of seafood earlier in the day, I ate every single bite of that meal. Do you have any idea how Ranch Dressing reinvigorates this girl? It is like giving water to Aquaman or having Superman get some sun rays. Like Iron Man getting a new core. It was like I was a new person, I was ready to take on the world. So naturally I passed out and slept soundly, ready for the next day, which would prove to be life-changing.