Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Teaching Frenzy

This week is when practically everyone's on holiday (me included!) and it's when I start substitute teaching yoga classes. I'll be teaching from Monday through Wednesday at 9am, and this Saturday, I start my first REGULAR TEACHING GIG! Yup, I've been offered a regular 9am slot at Shanti on Saturday. Did I forget to mention it before?

Plus this evening, I was also substituting for another teacher who does classes at a hotel. So including Shanti's class this morning, I would've taught 2 classes today except the hotel guests/ tourists were probably in complete holiday mode and no one pitched up to class this evening!

It didn't really matter though, the garden where classes are taught is just spectacular, and I ended up doing a self-practice instead. It's weird doing a headstand on grass - kinda feels unstable and like you're gonna fall over!

Right in front of where the mats are placed is where a "river" flows through the hotel grounds. It's more like a glorified drain, but since it doesn't stink maybe it's really a fresh(ish) water source of sorts. There's also a little bridge to cross from one part of the hotel to the next. Very pretty!

The "river" is slightly stepped, and there's a mini waterfall as well, so you're completely surrounded by nature from the gurgling water sounds to the birds tweeting in the trees.

The light on the pictures above was a little off. This is more like what it looks like. So even though no one pitched this evening, I still had a pretty spectacular practice. :)

Monday, December 29, 2008

Weekend in Hermanus

Sorry I've been slow with the updates... This week is when I teach all the substitute yoga classes at Shanti since it's holidays and everyone's away, so I've been busy prepping classes and organizing my music selects (the iPod is miraculously working again. Yay!)

In any case, Kelly and I went to "Stonehaven, The Artists House" this weekend. His best friend, Fabio's dad, is an artist and lives on a stunning property out near Hermanus, and we were invited to spend the weekend there.

It's a 1.5hr drive from Cape Town to Hermanus, and along the way we passed some townships, Khayalitsha and Gugulethu. (Don't worry mom, we were on the highway, not IN the township!)

It's a beautiful drive through the countryside, passing vineyards and mountains along the way.

We took a wrong turn and found ourselves by some stables.

It was quite clearly sign-posted, dunno how we could've missed it!

Once we turned down the path, it was like entering a magical fairy land - completely rustic, down to the dirt path amidst the shrubs.

This place is STUNNING. As its name suggests, it's a haven for artists, and Fabio's dad along with another artist live there. The main house on the property has about 6 rooms, and there are another 2 separate cottages with another 3 - 4 rooms in each. This place could very well be a B&B!

Their art is displayed all over the house.

I poked my head into one of the studios. There's no work-in-progress to be seen, but the number of paints and tools used is fascinating!

There are sprawling gardens overlooking a dam, and the immenseness of the place is staggering.

Spot the Garden Gnome.

There are two friendly guard-dogs there as well, Oscar the Bulldog and Annabel the Bullmastiff.

They seemed interested in food and cuddles and would wait patiently for scraps while we braai'd or ate breakfast. We didn't give them any! (coz it's bad for dogs to eat human food laden with salt and fat. DUH.)

The boys (except Kelly) went surfing in Hermanus in the afternoon. K & I just hung out on the beach. The wind was pretty manic and we were literally getting sand-blasted. You couldn't quite hold a conversation or you'd have to spit out a mouth full of sand. Hence, there are no pix of the beach. (What, and get sand in the nooks and crannies of my precious camera? No thanks!)

Unfortunately it was quite a short trip, we were there for only about 24hrs but had to come back on Sunday evening. Just as well we did as the weather turned and it was a terrible, wet drive back to Cape Town.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Round House

If you're looking for exquisite service and fine dining, this is the place to be. Robs brought us here for dinner on Boxing Day and though we were still stuffed from Christmas the day before, we happily tucked in yet again.

The Round House is a gazetted national monument as well as World Heritage Site. (Wow, we've been to 2 World Heritage Sites in the space of 1 week! Check out when we went to the Kirstenbosch Gardens here). The Round House has been a guard house, tea room, hotel and the hunting lodge of Lord Charles Somerset. For more on its fascinating history, click here.

After being shut for yonks, its been given a new lease of life now as a contemporary French fine dining restaurant. We went for sundowners before dinner, and the view overlooking Camps Bay was pretty spectacular. Pity about the Cape wind that threatened to blow our glasses over every now and again.

The interior of the restaurant's a pretty cozy affair - I didn't want to be the "Asian tourist" snapping away with my flash the whole night, hence the pictures are all a bit fuzzy and dark. Anyways, I hate using the flash as it never really captures the mood and lighting as it should be.

The view from the inside looks over Camps Bay, and since the beach strip was heaving with parties that night, the power supply to the Round House was a little flakey. No seriously. Every now and again the lights would flicker and we were told that Camps Bay gets priority power, so if they were busy the Round House is supplied with less electricity! ...I guess for all its first-world comforts, this is still a third-world country after all.

For a fixed price, you can order a 3-course, 4-course or 5-course (?!?) dinner and you can mix and match from anything they've got on the menu. All portions are small to medium, kind of halfway between starter and main course sizes. Which makes it perfect coz you don't feel too stuffed at the end of the night. For a little bit more, they've also got a wine-pairing menu that goes with each course.

I started with the Butternut Tortelli, then had the Whiskey & Vanilla-cured Salmon "Mi Cuit", apple puree and Hamilton Russel Olive Oil. Finished off with the Felchin Chocolate Daquoise Cake with Chocolate Sorbet (I'm not a freak who can remember all of that - found it on their menu online. Ha!)

I'm no food critic, but the food was absolutely delicious and the service impeccable! It's so refreshing to be in a place where the waiters know what they're doing. For more pictures, check out the restaurant's website here.
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