The weather was perfect as we rode up to Oudtshoorn then on to De Rus along the R62. Stopped for petrol and a cooldrink at a little café that had old Humphrey Bogart and Marilyn Monroe movie posters on the wall. From there we rode up through Meiringspoort – what can I say about this awesome Pass? It is a must do for any biker and in fact, for anyone who is passionate about our beautiful natural heritage in South Africa. The mountains and rock formations are tilted at such weird and wonderful angles that as you come around some corners leaning (as one does on a bike) you can lose your sense of where’s up and where’s down. We didn’t linger for too long in the Pass as we wanted to get on to Prins Albert.
Headed along the R407 – a road I’ve never been on. I love the colours and barrenness of the Great Karoo, everything is washed out by the sun, even the mountains look white. Imagine my surprise then as we went through a small mountain pass and looked down on a green and fertile valley. Olives, apricots and grapes were growing abundantly and as we came into Prins Albert I could see why it’s such a special place. All the houses have leiwater so the gardens were full of flowers. The houses have all been beautifully restored so it’s like stepping back in time. We went to the Bush Pub to try and find breakfast but they were expecting a large group of muscle cars from Cape Town and couldn’t help us – it is an interesting spot though and we’ll try them again sometime. There were some beautiful hams hanging from the ceiling behind the bar which apparently sell for R2500- a pop – the owner didn’t want to let Andre cut a slice off with his pen knife. Went to the Lazy Lizard (a little shop in town) and to my joy found some artwork by Outa Lappies, a man who has always fascinated me ( He lives in a tree and wanders around the Karoo picking up junk at the roadside and turning it into art – what can I say, he’s my kind of guy). Andre very kindly bought me a piece of his work (certificate and all!) and feels he has now joined the ranks of the insane by paying rather a lot of money for something made out of two Fanta Grape tins and some broken indicator lights. I love it and it’s hanging in my ‘space’ upstairs reflecting coloured light.
We decided to head back to Meiringspoort to explore it better- when we got there we stopped at the information centre in one of the lay byes. It is laid out so well, is informative and spotlessly clean – really a pleasure to wander around.(Pics in Bikers drop down tab). We heard a wonderful V8 burble reverberating around the mountains and a ’69 Pontiac pulled into the car park, chatted to the driver for a while then drove back to Oudtshoorn just in time for lunch then came home via the Outeniqua Pass.
It was such a lovely ride – next time we’ll try Swartberg Pass instead of Meiringspoort.
On the home front it’s been a week of babies – our resident sparrows’ babies left the nest (thank heavens, they were the noisiest tenants we’ve ever had), the three baby fiscal shrikes left their nest and I uncovered a nest of seven baby field mice in my garden shed, pictures under Fauna. The snake in the dam seems to have moved in permanently – he lies on the floating islands of grass and eats frogs I think.
The mosaic table is finished and installed – it looks really good. Photos are in the Craft Gallery drop down tab. I made my first cheese this week – it was supposed to be cream cheese but is more like soft butter with an interesting flavour. The dogs and chickens shared the whey left over from the cheese making process so nothing was wasted.
We hope to do some painting this coming week and I’m starting to make small items to sell at the Christmas markets – I’m so inspired to do something creative after seeing Outa Lappie’s work!