Dear friends –
I’m starting over, hopefully giving you a bit more of an insight into our Down the garden path tour of 2012. There are SO many pictures to choose from that I just chose what jumped out at me. Off course there are also pictures on Face Book you can check out. I’ve been good and post cards are on their way. Here is a some background from Day 1 until Day 9. I hope to post from Day 9 onwards tomorrow, but that king size, fluffy bed is calling.
Day 1 – 23 February 2012
Noid and I left home in the early hours of 23 February 2012. I had shopped and stocked up for Kevin who is looking at our kittens and since the kids don’t live with us, all that was left was to miss them. I felt nervous knowing we will be gone for a long time but as my Mammie (is what I call me Mom, never anything else lol) said, sooner or later they all leave and what is left then? You and your husband… so get cracking.
We packed the Suzi (our 4×4) with ease, including our new fridge cooler box thing that reminds me of camping that you blog into the cigarette holder bit in the car and there you go. Noid had made some CD’s from top 100 hits over the last decade or so, so we were all set and off we went. Our first day was to be our longest stretch of almost 600km, with the main aim to see Gariep Dam as I had never been there. Flown over but never driven.
It was spectacular in beauty and vast in size. I am not big on nature but I honestly enjoyed this. There was a cool dam wall, much like at Harties, just so much bigger and more impressive. I must say Noid has truly taken me places I have never been and thankfully he understands that I don’t camp!
Noid had requested we sleep near the dam well, I interpreted dam as in water and found a spot on the Orange River – kilometres from the dam, but hey water is water and the dam feeds the river, or the river feeds the dam, so I figure water is water, the dam is over 100km long after all. When you research holiday accommodation on the internet you are either hugely surprised in a happy way when you arrive or befok vererg.
Well, “Destiny River Lodge” was our first stop and to be honest, I had expected it to be more well, rustic (in Wenchy language COMMON) BUT, while it was basic, the man who greeted us was friendly, the room clean, the bed comfortable and Noid made a kick ass fire, we had bought some salads pre-packaged, don’t worry, I didn’t make it, along and a feast it was.
It was a most pleasant stay, we got in the river, I sat in a boat, okay so the boat wasn’t in water, but it sounds cool right? Noid slept on the grass, I wrote post cards (I am not even half way yet with the post cards, good thing we still have lots of travelling to do.) and all was well. The following morning we were late for a full English breakfast which was seriously over-priced if you looked at what the accommodation costs. The lady person who served us breakfast had that fresh “I just fell out my bed” look and not cause she got lucky, but because that is simply how she rolls.
Day 2 – 24 February 2012
We had approximately 450km to drive to Beaufort-West and stopped at various places along the way – where we were to stay the night at another internet solution( www.wheretostay.co.za is a particular favourite of mine as we are also Honey Stay members, we get 15% discount at affiliated establishments), “Cape Karoo Guest House”. Now this was so much more me. Sigh. Big trees, rows of roses, antique furniture, fluffy duvet and pillows – and not TV in the bedroom) it had a small lounge with TV (all sports channels), the bathroom was less impressive and then the main bedroom was beautifully decorated. There was also an old fashioned looking coffee/tea station with actual rusks and I would bet they were homemade, or at least bought from the home industry! My Mammie and my mother in law. Mother Mary would have loved this place. The décor is so them (and moi, although I live in a contemporary Dainfern type house in Johannesburg with clean lines – bull). I fell in love with the place immediately. The look, the feel, the tranquillity (and air conditioning in a 38 degree desert) sucked me in, and that is where I stayed. My husband watched some sport, I read and it was glorious. At supper time we contemplated going out, but I admit I did not feel like moving a muscle and really wasn’t a contender for the worlds thinnest woman, and Noid also didn’t feel like it, so we kind of skipped supper, only to find ice cold pancakes I had bought at Spar in our fanTy car fridge. So that was supper.
Breakfast was served in the main house with the same kind of décor and the biggest tea cups I have ever seen. No I have, Elize you gave me such an orange one once!! They did serve the smallest sausage I had ever seen but thankfully I am not a fan. We had full English breakfast and I still do not know why it is called that? I am not gonna Google it either. Anyhow, hugely pleasant place, lovely friendly people and a room that was my kind of heaven.
My great-grandparents were married there in the Karoo and didn’t amble far so was buried there also. My Ouma Chrissie was baptised in the church there and was placed in a Children’s home with two of her sisters as her mom had passed away. My Ouma Chrissie said at 16 you had to leave, good luck to you. Thankfully she had many, many siblings and an older brother and his wife took her in who lived in Johannesburg where she worked in the post office who then still did the “nommer asseblief?” She was invited to a dance soon after where she met my Oupa Mike in Potchefstroom (he had ventured quite a bit as he fought in WW2 – many medals including one presented to him by the late Queen Mom for bravery and afterwards saw the world and spoke many languages. I still can’t write about him without a tear.) Anyway, my grandfather was 13 years older than my Ouma Chrissie and she told him he is an old man when he said that same night he wants to marry her, and asked her father. LOL They were engaged soon after on her birthday 12 August and married on his birthday 22 December of the same year. No, my mom did not arrive within the next year. LOL In the end they were happily married for 56 years and I am yet to meet a couple who adored each other as much as they did. He died in his sleep, peacefully at 85 and she prayed to die from that day on. Her prayers were answered 18 months later.
My Mammie had on a previous trip gone to see all the documentation as her and my Dad Alex took my grand-parents on a trip to the Cape, often with my Ouma’s sister, Tannie Connie every February. Yes, I still have resentment that I was never invited with- but we shall leave that for some therapist to sort out one day. I looked at the church, took a picture. Noid asked if I wanted to go in. I said no. I don’t feel like crying today. So I didn’t and off we drove.
Days 3 –> Day 7 – 25, 26, 27, 28, 29 February 2012 We drove to Stellenbosch the next day which was also approximately 450km. The drive is beautiful. Lots of beautiful.
Our next googled inspired spot, “Ryneveld Country Lodge”. Well, now this one threw me a little. It didn’t quite (or at all) look like the pictures on the internet – (Lisa ek het toe mos nou so aan jou gedink daar dame!) It was situated in the heart of the town, near the university. If I was a student I would want to attend that university. Minimum clothing required.
The entrance hall and dining room of the lodge was very beautifully decorated, the staff very eager to please but I have no idea where the country bit in their name came in. Next we were escorted (no porters at any places we had stayed so far, I must remember to tip Noid) out the front door, across the street, through a remote control gate with electric fencing, through another door with a lock into a baby courtyard with pretend ducks and little benches and through another locked door at which point I started to feel a little like Alice in Wonderland….. We ended up in what I can only describe as a room who tried to dress up for the ball and the fairy godmother was maybe tipsy and the pumpkin came way too late. There was nothing ACTUALLY wrong with the room. It simply didn’t meet my expectations. It had a double bed, very nicely decorated with huge cushions, one chair and a TV…. and an antique type writing table from where I did my blogging. The one really cool thing was that the wireless in the area was running on steroids and I enjoyed that. The bathroom also had no window so extractor fan was it, which I am not a huge fan of. I travel with enough Tranquil Body Treats to make any bathroom smell like a vanilla pod so all was soon sorted.
Noid stayed one evening in the “country” with me before he went to play golf with his colleagues, came back to grab his bags and off we went to drop him at his conference in Somerset-West. Thankfully I quite enjoy my own company and being alone doesn’t scare me, although I always miss Noid and my kids.
After dropping Noid I went to the beach and listened to the most bizarre thing which only South African’s would get…. There was a live band playing while I had an early supper on my own… a coloured dude who played a mean guitar and sang in a Cape coloured accent which was all hugely entertaining…… until he gave it a bit of WE DON’T NEED NO EDUCATION in this cool accent. Well, that was just another brick in the wall and I laughed very loud… and made a prompt exit.
Breakfast at the “country “is served in the main building across the street in a gorgeous setting. Really smart and very proper with lots of knives and forks and cups and stuff to make you feel confused like. Now the breakfast here in the “country” was fucking fabulous. Besides the usual bacon and egg blah blah, they had PLAAT KOEKIES…. I guess in English that is like a crumpet of so iets. Well, I love that. Just plain – no need to add anything I eat it just like that…. So I had that every day with tea in a big pot. Proper crockery makes such a difference in a tea experience. I loved that.
Anyhow for my days I stayed in Stellenbosch I did go to the mall which I discovered quite by accident where I purchased a pair of slip on shoes for R50 because my black ones hurt my feet. Thinking about it now I should have bought lots more shoes there and I am NOT a shoe person.
As my husband or anyone who really knows me. I wear shoes as little as humanly possible. I’ve served tea in a client meeting in a boardroom when I use to work with no shoes on. My feet may be as ugly as the next but they are pedicured and painted and all. So tough. Actually my feet look better than some people’s shoes!In this mall I found quite by accident in the middle of the town I found a post office and I posted the cards I had already written. Send me your address if you would like a card, I will mail, even international with pleasure – firstname.lastname@example.org although they may not always be posted in the town I wrote them! I also had some carrot cake and shopped a little at Edgars as they now had a 75% special off sale on. I bought two t-shirts, some blue glitter for my eyes in case I want to go as a member of ABBA to some or other function, like a funeral or something and an Alice Band with a purple flower in it. You never know when you may need such a flower at R8. Then at Woolworths I picked up two more fashion sunglasses at R30 each! On sale yes, these big goggle looking sunglasses that makes one look like a wee frog. I LOVE EM. Noid hates them. Did I mention one is purple and the other a kick ass orange? Hehehhehe will compliment my skin tone so beautifully! I bought myself a lovely Alfredo for supper, only to realise once I got to the “country” that there was no microwave. Bright I am. I also thankfully bought cheese sticks with cucumber sticks and ham. I still have the Alfredo in our plug in camping style fridge.
On another evening I ordered a pizza. The “country” only provided one with breakfast after that you could at your leisure eat in fabulous little bistros and such but although I have dined on my own before I was far more interested in reading, writing and after just finishing the book “Room” I was really grasping the concept quite literally, except that I was not raped. I will bring the book to book club, it was awesome. I can’t remember from day to day exactly but Noid snuck out of conference one evening and I went to fetch him at say 3am…. I was seriously telling myself that he was telling me I was irresistible while his mouth moved and said his roommate snored terribly and hence he wanted to share my bed. After that he took Suzi with him, so no more mall for me as it was too far to walk and I really didn’t mind. I had a jolly good time, although the place we stayed in was nothing like I had imagined. Thankfully my imagination goes everywhere with me.
Day 8 – 1 March 2012
I had overslept (meaning I had woken up, made coffee, Noid left, I lay down = sleep) the final morning in the “country” and woke at 9h15 and breakfast is only served until 9am. I phoned and said there may be a croissant left. Well in a bit of a PJ l leaped across the room with the students walking to university giving me a small look. I felt like saying “oh fuck off!” because Billy (Connolly) speaks in my head like my conscious. He doesn’t mind he isn’t a grasshopper. Anyhow I think hotel personnel is trained not to give odd guests an odd look cause they let me in and to my surprised I was able to have what I had every morning including my ta in my lovely white teapot. My new short hair doesn’t have that slept in look like my long hair did, my short hair just looks like I don’t own a comb so I forgave the people looking as I made my way back to the room to pack. I showered and packed all our stuffs. I am not sure what I have more off… books or Tranquil Body Treats?
Noid bought four bottles of wine which he smelled and swirled and ohhhh and ahhhhhed over. I thought it tasted like cough mixture…. But I am a tad common.
In Hermanus I had booked a place called “Baleens”, another www.wheretostay.co.za find. I was a tad apprehensive of this one, as it was really cheap and included breakfast. I insisted on a sea facing room and they didn’t ask for a deposit. Mmmmmm. I love this game or money or the box I play in my head with accommodation.”Baleens” turned out to be a guest house with hotel potential. It has its own little won restaurant, I think it may be called “The Smelly Dog”- seriously but I will double check. It is antique furniture with a touch of Africa. I realised I was becoming someone I didn’t like when the words “the TV in our room is the size of our microwave at home!” came out my mouth. Cow Wenchy. The bed and bedding is fluffy and nice, the room is spacious and the bathroom a bit of an after-thought really. There is nothing happening there. The people are super friendly and helpful; the owner is 100% involved and also makes your breakfast with a lovely Afrikaans accent and asked me if I want “spek” Baie beindruk was ek. The restaurant serves you whatever they have and keep serving it until they run out and then the menu is wiped from the black board and a new one is put up. I’ve really enjoyed “Baleens” and will happily stay here again. It is so affordable and the water pressure in that shower is fantastic.
I went with Noid to play golf at Hermanus.
He played with a husband and wife team who are from Canada and Albania or something but live in Iraq or Afghanistan? I was fine for the first 9 holes but I did fall asleep during the second. Must have looked dead sexy – NOT. I felt horrible and bi-polar is motion is not pretty and poor Noid kept asking me if I had taken tablets or something? I really hadn’t. I’m naturally fucking bonkers.
We also went to have waffles, well I had a waffle, and Noid had a steak roll that was like halve a French loaf long. Yikes. Noid played with his kite on the beach a bit, I cried for my kids a bit, thankfully you can’t hear that in the wind, then Noid tried to teach me about the kite but I sucked but he was kind and patient and pretended not to see my red eyes. The beach near “Baleens” is empty for kilometres. It is beautiful with little river type ponds and scrubs and bushes hiding the path which is why there is nobody there…. They don’t know how to get to it. A bit of secret garden action happening there.
Day 9 – 2 March 2012
Besides going for breakfast and writing this blog, I’ve done pretty much nothing else and I’ve enjoyed it tremendously. Noid went to play golf at Hermanus again which I really did not mind. He got back wanting me to go swim. I said sorry about that but I am still blogging. He doesn’t believe one can blog for hours… but one can. We had dinner at a very popular Italian restaurant. We got one of the last reserved tables while everything was empty but reserved. 15 minutes later the place was packed!!! The food was good, but I admit, not one of my best days emotionally. Some days coming from both poles sucks.
Why wasn’t I born bi-sexual instead of bi-polar?
I wish you enough,
PS. It won’t hurt to subscribe to my blog, nor to leave a comment dammit.