Wednesday, 10 April 2013

The Old Village, Citrusdal

Gentle grounding

It is always surprising how quickly things become rural even when leaving the bigger South African cities like Cape Town. I was excited to be heading North from the Mother City, on the N7 towards the West Coast and Cederberg Mountains. Under 3 hours from the airport, following the simple directions “turn right at Piekenierskloofpass”, an old world awaits.

On the 1795 Modderfontein Farm, The Old Village at Citrusdal offers a collection of beautifully preserved self-catering cottages. With whitewashed stone walls, the deep windows enhance the crisp light of the Cederberg open skies. The decor shows off the original wood features by being simple and calm, making effective use of subtle country classics like matching florals and stripes. Touches like antique relics and green painted window shutters complete the nostalgic effect.

Of course I chose to stay in The Smithy, the oldest house in the valley. The softness of the cottage surprised me, with pretty beds, peaceful views and spotless bathrooms. The marvellous long barn-style lounge has a raised fireplace at one end, complete with wonky wooden beams. Comfortable wingback chairs and sofa make for long evenings by the fire with a bottle of Sherry and good company.

What I love about The Old Village, Citrusdal
  • The commitment to the preservation of authentic and historical features and original buildings
  • Thick, whitewashed stone walls, thatched roofs, green window shutters and wooden ceiling beams
  • Understated and stylish country decor
  • The experience of staying on a working farm, complete with donkeys and tractor
  • The convenient location, just off the N7, but without sounds of traffic and a feeling of being at a remote country retreat

Accommodation experience:
It can be difficult to transition straight from a hectic work life into a holiday space. And for me characterful accommodation provides a sensory transition into relaxation. This is what I found at The Old Village in Citrusdal. I had just received some disturbing feedback about a report that I had submitted, and I felt uncomfortable in my own skin as I squirmed hard to escape the present. Yet the authentic buildings drew me out of my chaotic head space into their physical and grounding presence. As I wandered around the village cottages I could feel their wise ancient calm seep away my humiliation, leaving only a hint of sadness. The word humiliation has its roots in “humus”, to be grounded, and I found myself in a kind and comforting place to soften this fall.

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