Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Déjà vu - Another long and winding road

And so it came to pass, another year has thankfully ground to an inevitable end.

Once again we are heading back on the road for another long winding road trip to Cape Town and beyond, why Cape Town again you ask, well firstly it is a nice long drive, and secondly other than the Pilanesberg it is the only other place I like in South Africa, well other than the Karoo through which we will pass en-route.

The route will follow thus; Johannesburg - Gariep Dam - Prince Albert - Swartberg Pass - Fish Hoek (Cape Town) - ..... - Prince Albert - Graaf Reinett - Nieuw Bathesda - Gariep Dam - Johannesburg (bleuugh)

Firstly lots and lots of packing, Pam likes to travel large, me, I need a shirt, swimming shorts, shorts and strops (canvas sandals) oh and a tooth brush.

So we will drive and drive and drive ...... And drive.....

600km down the road to our first stop at De Stijl hotel at Gariep Dam

Our room at the De Stijl Hotel

View from our room

The view from our room was spectacular, albeit that the dam is very low due to the drought being experienced in South Africa at the moment.

Gariep Dam seen from our room

The front side of the wall showed just how badly the water level had dropped since our visit of last year due to the drought now being experienced across the country.

Gariep Dam Wall

A rather vertiginous look over the overflow side of the Gariep dam wall

The next day we set off for our next stop, that being the town of Prince Albert another approximately 500 km down the road, now I can't be too accurate on this as we have a propensity for minor detours en route, I.e. We deviate off the main road into other little towns such as Richmond to have a peek around and to purchase much needed victuals such as biltong (dried beef or game meat) to sustain us on the long drive.

Unfortunately there is a lot of road maintenance going on on the road, so this involved stop-go places, and we were often held up for 20 -30 minutes - good leg and back stretch opportunity and a photo opportunity - apologies for the bluish photo! my camera decided to go on the blink and later I had to do a minor reset of all settings.
During the trip, we found the need to stop in at Beaufort West for some scones and jam all washed down with a vanilla milkshakes then we hit a rain storm, not as bad as our last trip that was to all intents and purposes a prelude to the gates of hell but pretty bad all the same.

Stop / Go 

And then onto Prince Albert, I don't have words for this exquisite little town, it is all I could ever want in a small Karoo town, peace, quiet, a museum, excellent food, and we can walk the streets safely day and night.
It does however get a tad hot, as seen in the below photo at 07:30 in the morning it had already reached 26C / 78F and this is on a day that is mostly cloudy with massive storms the day before.

The museum of Prince Albert is now housed in a ex-residence, and also proved to be a very interesting visit during the morning

Prince Albert Museum

Dinner was had at the Gallery restaurant on the upper floor of a building called the Seven Arches (See Below) as always a gastronomic affair, of figs and Gorgonzola cheese to start, then Pork fillet with ginger for Pam and a Kudu fillet for me.
I then had a trio of homemade ice cream for desert

Starters of figs and Gorgonzola

Pork Fillet

Kudu Fillet

Seven Arches and Gallery restaurant

The below photo is the self catering cottage we are staying in called Karoo View

Our cottage

And now to catch up to today this being Tuesday 10th December, we strolled around Prince Albert for most of the morning doing a bit of shopping and sightseeing and maybe just a bit of trying to walk off last nights dinner but then stopping in at the lazy lizard for scones, apple tart and tea to sustain through the morning.
And this led to a discussion on what was for dinner, and lo and behold what did we spy on said menu, none other than a plough mans platter, chicken, cheese, lamb, figs, salad and bread etc ( see below) after enquiry we requested to have it prepared and packed up for collection at 17:00 to be taken back to our cottage for dinner again to be washed down with a very passable Sauvignon blanc from the local area

We then went for another stroll around the town to walk off dinner and to get some exercise, we did think there was going to be another big storm tonight, but all it produces was a rather spectacular sunset.
And as I sit here on our patio looking out into the pitch darkness and typing, it is 20:21, the temperature is a mild 24C / 72F

Tomorrow we set off again hopefully crossing the Swartberg pass, and onwards to Cape Town, for us approximately a 6 -7 hour journey of about 500 - 600 kilometers again accuracy does not count because of said deviations to sniff out interesting places to see and eat.

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