One of the countless things to do in Franschhoek, is learn about the village’s history.
Since arriving in this very historical village, my interest in history has increased a thousand fold. It was never my favourite subject at school because I have always struggled with remembering endless dates! But when you concentrate on only one area, and you live in it, the dates start to make sense and stick in the memory far easier.
The Franschhoek High School in Akademie Street is part of our Historical Village Walking Tour. The school was founded in 1850 and is not the oldest school in the country as some people mistakenly believe. This misconception comes from the fact that the French Huguenot’s insisted on bringing their own teacher with them when they ventured down south to this new world and when they arrived in Franschhoek in 1688, it was the first time that children were brought together as a group and were taught by a teacher and given actual lessons. Until then they were “educated” at home on the farms, although I doubt they were very well educated at all. So this was the first form of schooling in the country but the actual Franschhoek High School as we know it today did not come into existence for almost 200 years after that.
It’s almost Spring! Just a few days to go and we can officially throw off the winter blues and head out into the sunshine. And not a moment too soon. It’s been a long, cold, rainy winter, which is a good thing as it means we have plenty of water for the upcoming Summer season. Our dams are over-flowing and the ground water table has been replenished. Quite a relief after our 3 years of drought. But now we are ready for an action-packed summer season full of exploring, fun and adventure.
I’d like to introduce you to a new member of staff. Addy the Adventure dog is our absolutely adorable Yorkie-Russel who is now just over 5 months old. He has won the hearts of every single person who meets him. He has the most amazing friendly personality and loves every single dog and human he meets. He is super friendly, loves to play and loves to go on long hikes and walks. He is so fast, I think I should have called him Bullet, and his favourite thing to do is race around a big open space at the speed of light! Addy joins us on our hikes and History walks and also on our bike rides (in his very own doggy backpack, thanks to our beautiful friends who brought us one from the UK). Tasting everything he sniffs out on the ground, is also a firm favourite activity, as is chewing wood.
The leaves have taken on their autumn colours and are dropping rapidly. Soon the vinyards will be bare as the days get cooler and cooler. We hope the rain will begin to fall to fill up our dams for the next hot summer. We'll be watching out for the snow-capped mountain tops and rooting out our winter woolies from the back of the cupboard. It's that time of year when we batten down the hatches and prepare ourselves for cold couple of months.
Autumn in Franschhoek is undoubtedly the best season of the year, albeit a short one. The cooler days bring us relief from the summer heat, invigorates and revives us and tells us to get outdoors before the cold winter days start. The vine leaves are starting to change from dark green to rich reds, rusts and yellows. They will soon drop to carpet the ground beneath the bare stalls so get your camera out and enjoy the riot of colour while you can.
Our village is blessed to be surrounded by majestic mountains. It is what lures tourists to our valley and what keeps the locals here. Every day we get to see these giant guardians standing on our horizon watching over us. Fortunately, we don’t only have to look at them from afar, we can walk in them and experience nature on their many hiking trails, get some exercise and take in the big blue sky.
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