We didn’t spend Valentine’s Day with chocolates or a candlelight dinner sprinkled with rose petals and a bottle of champagne. We spent it with The Galileo Open Air Cinema on Allee Bleue Wine Estate out in Franschhoek. However, seeing that the doors only opened at 5pm, I thought why not make a short trip to The Huguenot Monument.
Let me start by telling you that this was the shortest visit I ever experienced – 10 minutes preciously. Why you might ask? Let me explain: I work until 2pm while Courtney worked until 1. We ran into a mall to purchase everything for the movie like popcorn and sweets. By then it was 3pm and Courtney still had to pack his bag because he slept over at my house. From there, we drove to my house to collect blankets, pillows and a picnic basket and drove to Franschhoek itself which happens to be almost an hour drive and the Monument closes at 5pm. We arrived at exactly 4:45pm.
The Huguenot Monument is situated in the heart of Franschhoek and was first inaugurated in April 17th, 1948. According to the website, this female figure, with the Bible in her right hand the broken chain in her left, personifies the spirit of religious freedom. There are other symbols like her French Lily on her rope which represents her noble spirit and character. Her fixed gaze symbolises the vision of comings while her discarded cloak of suppression triumphs above the earth globe in its own spiritual space.
I visited this place with my parents at the age of two and thought it would be special to revisit it again during my adult years. Before making the decision to go, I checked what the entrance price was which stated R10.00 per person. So with only a R20.00 in my purse, we walked up to the ticket office with a sign saying it’s R20.00 per person. The guy behind the counter looked at his watch while I asked if they had a card facility. The answer was no and yet I truly never learn my lesson to not have cash on me. But because it was 10 minutes till closing time, he took the R20.00 we had and firmly told us to be out at exactly 5pm.
The entire garden felt like we were in an enchanted forest; surrounded by majestic mountains on a beautiful summers day. This place is perfect for having a picnic on the lawns or a stroll along the various plants and flowers planted along the pathways. The overall structure makes you think of French buildings and historical portrays from the 1600s, leaving it’s imprint in South Africa. Besides this picturesque garden, it also has a wildflower garden and a restaurant too.
They also have a museum where one can learn more about the Huguenots themselves and view an array of old artefacts with antique items of furniture brought in on trading ships from the East and items related to Huguenot church congregations and farming methods.
I’m heartbroken that we never got to fully experience Franschhoek for all it’s beauty in the way I wanted too. Courtney and I will be planning a full day trip next month on all interesting activities there are in the wine region.
Until the next adventure.