23 February 2010
The next morning, Tuesday, I crept out of Pagel House at dawn and made my way to the N9. It was drizzling slightly. I had no socks on, just motorcycle boots, because my clothes were still not dry. I rode off in the rain in the expectation of getting my clothes dry en route.
After about 105 km on the N9, and about 19 km before Willowmore, I stopped at Beervlei Dam. The dam wall is very interesting because one is able to examine both sides (wet and dry!) from the top of the dam wall. There is no water in the dam so examining the engineering was interesting. The dam wall was built in 1957.
It was more than an hour since I had left Aberdeen and breakfast was needed. The road into Willowmore seemed like a possibility. It turned into a certainty, because I soon found this delightful little restaurant called 'Sophie's Choice' (S33 17 42.3 E023 29 11.9).
The time was 08:00 and the timing was perfect. The coffee, bacon and eggs here were excellent. I have only just noticed the bicycle on the roof!
After breakfast the rain eased up quite a lot and I set off again to join the N9.
Dry river beds fascinate me. This part of South Africa, unlike most of the country, had had very little rain in recent months. It was desperately needed. It had stopped drizzling!!!
On the R341 I saw this little creature crossing carefully. I thought that maybe he was being a little too careful in the middle of the carriageway, so I picked him up and deposited him on the far side. I hope that is where he wanted to go!!
This very impressive gateway caused me to slew to a stop and to admire the flowers and the wall. Congratulations to Henry & Martie van der Westhuizen on a beautiful front gate!
De Rust is a popular tourist destination - so I didn't stay long. It was nice but not my kind of place. I like rustic with no tourists (except me of course).
I refuelled at De Rust (Trip: 6,301 km) and stopped briefly on the Meiringspoort Road to check out these ostriches. They quite liked the motorbike ..........
The road from here to Prince Albert was very interesting and spectacular, especially through Meiringspoort and the Groot Swartberge. It was raining again, so no photos unfortunately.
By the time that I reached Prince Albert, after 79 km, the rain had stopped and the sun was shining - hooray! It was time for a cup of tea and a toasted sandwich. 'Mix' looked perfect ........
..... so I parked the bike and went in. The shop is delightful and, in addition to breakfasts, lunches, sandwiches, soups, quiches, salads, chocolate and ice cream, it has for sale; furniture, collectables, bric-a-brac, crafts, knitwear, soft furnishings and recycled clothing.
'Mix' is owned and run by Nicola, and here she is on the veranda of her lovely shop. No toasties on the menu today, but her butternut soup & roll were delicious. It was a good decision stopping here for a bite! The telephone number for 'Mix' is 083 270 6003.
I needed to buy a memory card for my camera. I was directed to the Lazy Lizard.
The Lazy Lizard is an internet cafe. No memory cards were available, but the proprietress said, "Why don't you let us download your memory card to a DVD disc and then re-format the card?" What a brilliant idea. Two hours later (Juan and Matthew hit a few snags - but got it sorted) I had all my photos on disc and the picture above is the first on the re-formatted memory card. Thank you Juan and Matthew. Prince Albert is a very good place I am beginning to think!
No change here ...... I ride around the streets of the town and take pics of the houses and churches ........
Now THIS is my idea of a church. I would even consider going sometimes if I lived in one of Prince Albert's lovely houses.
Nicola at 'Mix' had convinced me to take the Swartberg Pass to Oudtshoorn, but the pass was closed and I had, therefore, to retrace my track on the R407 and the N12 to De Rust. From there it would be the R62, the road I intended to take to Robertson.
It was raining again, but conditions were not unpleasant. The weather, though, was the reason for the lack of photos from here to Calitzdorp where I found the perfect place to stay overnight.
I found a self-catering place called Sunshine Cottages. I pulled up outside and was contemplating what to do when a very friendly lady came out and introduced herself as Sandy. She was so nice that I decided there and then to check in.
Sandy recommended a walk into the town to the N.G. Kerk (Dutch Reformed Church) where, every evening, Dr Noel-Jean Kriel plays organ recitals at 6 pm.
After washing my stuff and hanging it up - it was good to get out of the motorcycle gear (!) I showered and changed and walked into the town. It was raining slightly, but not too much. The N.G. Kerk was easy to find with its spire as a beacon. As I approached, the most beautiful organ music could be heard. I found a door eventually and went inside. There were perhaps 10 people sitting in the pews listening to Dr Kriel's recitals. He played magnificently, and explained each piece beforehand. Thank you Dr Kriel for a wonderful 45 minutes of beautiful Mendelssohn, Beethoven, Bach ......
After leaving the kerk the weather had improved. By now it was virtually dark. A beer and some dinner were the next priorities.
Very near to the kerk I found Die Dorpshuis restaurant. It looked just fine - and had a veranda option if one wanted to eat outside. I ordered a Windhoek lager and a Lamb Shank with Roast Potatoes and Vegetables. It was a good meal, good value and with very good service.
After a pleasant walk back to Sunshine Cottages I wrote up my journal for the day and then went to bed.
Again, it had been a brilliant day.
Here are the contacts for Sunshine Cottages and Die Dorpshuis:
Tel: 044 213 3204/078 129 6498
Tel: 044 213 3453