A sparkling champagne winters day, a 40th birthday lunch, an exquisite location in the Winelands.
Babylonstoren is to be seen to be fully believed. I don't think anyone's photos or words could really do it justice.
Cape Dutch architecture, such as this iconic gable here, is a childhood trigger for anyone who's grown up in the Cape. Cool white dusty walls, oak trees - either in full green mantle or spindly winter limbs, red gravel and the smell of old wood - wine barrels, shutters, great gates and doors.
The main restaurant is achingly charming - so understated, so immaculate, so warm and comfy despite its pared-down look.
I really wanted to hate this place a bit, wanted to be able to roll my eyes and declare it all too bourgeois and curated.
It IS bourgeois (as is anywhere which takes its beauty a mite too seriously), is IS curated to the nth degree (even the bread table looked like a decor mag centre piece), but it is really undeniably beautiful and accessible and just so very pleasing to the eye and the soul - I had to immerse myself and drink it all in.
These gardens, can I tell you how they smelled?
Like flowers (obviously) and the freshest fruit and the crispest white wine. Like the pages of an old beloved fairy tale and the most nostalgic drawer of your granny's dressing table. They smelled like those far off mountains look.
We feasted, we drank a lot of wine, we celebrated the birthday girl and we inhaled the magic.
A spectacular afternoon for the senses and the soul.