Monday, 28 February 2011

Leg 8 of an epic journey

We left early in the morning to find breakfast. After waiting for a while for the little shop to open, we then had a simple meal and headed over to Clarens. The road there was spectacular.

However, in Clarens, the road was so bad from all the rain, that pretty much only the main road was drivable. We did have to ask around a little for a place to stay, but eventually found one close to the main road. Rosewood Corner B&B was welcoming, so we dropped our stuff and headed into town. We were told that there is so much to see in this little town, that one day won't be enough to see everything. This was not our experience, and maybe a combination of being a Saturday and holidays we saw all the shops and most of the art galleries by 12h00.

We then had the most scrumptious lunch at, I think, the Old Posthouse. Say pancakes with coriander, dried cranberries and cream cheese, and for dessert Ice Cream with brandied cherries...... (they did not skimp on the cherries either!!!) oh, Yummy, Yummy, Yum.

Somewhere along the way it started to rain, and I mean cats and dogs. We were seated inside by that time and awaited our food. By the time we were done, the rain was too.

Because the best time to go to Golden Gate National Park is at sunset, we drove late afternoon to the park. As usual, the animals were absent, but the water wasn't (yes, my little car drove through this dip!)

 The Drakensberg in the background in the photo above.

These ominous looking clouds were lurking in the background, so our hike was cut short :(
Our last adventure for the day was at a restaurant that evening. We had ordered drinks, started chatting and the thunderstorm started - and I mean really started. Lightning eventually took out the whole of Clarens' electricity and we had to find our way back to the B&B in the pitch dark. Lucky for us, we were not that far away, but with the dodgy roads we were not sure whether we were going to wind up in the ditches, dongas or puddles. So, the lesson leart was: never leave home without a flash light in a small Freestate town :) We were greeted by the B&B owners with candles and accompanied to our room. There we had an emergency lamp. The electricity only came on during the night, when we were fast asleep.

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Leg 7 of an epic journey

Well, I noticed that I forgot my double adapter at the dodgy B&B (that wasn't one), so had to borrow one from the friendly receptionist at the Kloof Lodge.
This meant that after a good night's sleep and lots and lots of rain (the foyer was flooded) we had to go on a shopping spree in the City of Roses. We also just had to visit the Hobbit House (a bit too pricey for our pockets, but beautifully done. Each room is named after one of the characters in Lord of the Rings, and decorated with the most awesome wall papers and linens).

We then did some shopping, so did not take any pictures. At around mid-day we departed towards the Golden Gate National Park, since we had a day to spare.

We took the route towards Lesotho and then just past the border post to Fochville and Ficksburg and on to Fouriesburg. Because it was getting late, and I did not want to drive to Clarens (CLAAAAAARENCE), we decided to take a tiny detour to Camelroc guest farm. We got a whole bungalow to ourselves, that could have easily housed 6 people. Air was fresh, the moon was bright and the night was quiet, since the border post closed at 9h00 or 10h00 PM. The cherries of Ficksburg - the fresh ones were sold out, but the liqueur was not and neither were the brandied ones. YUM.

 Yep, that is the moooooooooonnnn :)
The camel, after which the farm is named.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

The REAL leg 6 of an epic journey

After a night we'd rather have spent in more agreeable accommodations, we packed our bags, headed off into Graaff-Reinet and did our internet thingies. Then we hit the road again to Nieu Bethesda. Well, I can call it "hitting" the road, since the dirt road was not very good and after all that rain probably even worse...

Anyway, there is only one thing to see in Nieu Bethesda, and that is the OWL HOUSE. Everything centres on the house and if you want to do anything more, you need to ge tout of town. The surrounding areas are very Karoo-like, but the mountains are stunning!!!

Me, myself and Irene out front
K greeting the hostess :)

Other parts of the garden.....

 And just a few things that stood out for me inside the house....

The rest of the town is TINY - sorry tiny..... 
They do have a post-office, though, and I'm wondering whether that postcard found its way to Germany?? Hmmmm K? 
The church is beautiful, 
 and since it is an arty town, there was this beauty on the side of the road

The road out the other side of town was really, really, really, really, really (ok you get the drift) bad. My poor little car suffered to such an extent, that at times it popped out of gear and I was in free-flow around corners. *sjoe* not a great thing. BUT we did see a whole family of meercat run across the road, but as usual (and this was the case for our journey) they did not re-appear :(
The road to Bloemfontein (the City of Roses) awaited us, but we only arrived very late at night. We had booked ahead and were greeted by a very friendly receptionist. The room was clean the bed inviting and we just keeled over. (if you follow the link, the pictures are slightly outdated, but the rest of the reviews are good.)
And a little inspirational scenery from the journey

mmmmmmmm rain the Karoo - there is no smell like it. Breathe in deep!!!

Friday, 4 February 2011

Leg 6 edits

I forgot to mention the amazing food we had at the end of leg 5. Yummy lamb-rack with strawberry-mint sauce and Springbok steak with cranberry and Camembert sauce.

AND our first not so amazing accommodation. Pokey and dark, three beds squeezed into the tiniest room. We could not even open the cupboard. the swimming pool was green and murky. At least there was parking at the back. We did not take a picture of Uncle Heini's place, because we blocked it from our memory.

So, for this one, no pictures. Back next time with leg 7,8,9,10 or so....