I am a self-confessed city slicker. I adore the conglomerate of towering buildings, diverse cultures, incessant tra c sounds and rough
edges. It breaks my spirit when I have to leave it all behind at the end of a work day for my commute back to unvaried suburbia. So when I received an invite to spend a weekend in Paarl, naturally, my reaction was blasé. Would I survive two days in a small town?
I had never been to Paarl. I travelled halfway across the world to holiday in Barbados, but never thought to visit Paarl. Living in Cape Town, it’s hard to miss the blue signboards along the roadside signalling the way to Paarl via the N1. Yet in spite of this subliminal messaging, I was not sold on the notion of taking a detour there. Even the name itself doesn’t sound as exotic as its acclaimed rivals Franschhoek and Stellenbosch.
The drive to Paarl took around 50 minutes. Along the way, we were blessed with scenes of lush forest hugged by the rolling mountains of the Cape.