Monday, August 26, 2013

2009 road trip.Part 1


In 2009 my daughter returned from her studies in France.
While in Paris,she had been offered work in Cape Town.
Having not seen her for the two years that she was abroad,
it was decided that I would drive her to her new home...
1405km's (873 miles) lay ahead for both of us..
The trip normally takes two days...
It was going to take us nine!
This is the story of that trip.


Johannesburg to Winburg.
We left at 9.30 on an unseasonably rainy Saturday morning in August.
Driving down the N1 towards Bloemfontein we passed a sign for Mooiuitsight and Heuningpoort.
We crossed the Heuning River on our way to the thriving metropolis of Winburg!
Why I chose this as our first overnight stop I will never know.

The town seems to still be stuck in the old South Africa, with memorabilia from our past.
Strange to see a flag that I grew up with now relegated to a hotel bar wall.

Always has to be a church...even if the rest of the town has fallen into disrepair.


If you are a vegetarian this is not the place for you.
Winberg is proof that chicken is actually a vegetable!
For my daughter, who is vegetarian, her dinner had to be a Greek Salad…not the ideal meal on a cold winter night. But for the carnivores there is plenty to sink your teeth into…
The service from the manager of the Guesthouse was wonderful and it is what makes me enjoy small town South Africa. 

According to the local hotel manager the elephant statue in the town is the geographical centre of either the Free State or of South Africa.
You can take your pick as there is no plaque to confirm or deny either claim. 

There is a peanut plantation and the nearest big supermarket is in Bloem or Welkom.
Like many small towns this one seems to survive by being supported by the local farming community. 

Winberg architecture...


We were directed to this "restaurant" by the owner of the guest house.
She said that it MIGHT offer vegetarian food.
It was just a "cafe" and it only served toasted sandwiches and chips!


It’s just a pity that most travelers are not willing to take the 8km journey from the main road to discover this little gem


  Day 2: Winburg to Graaf Reinet (via Colesberg, Noupoort and Nieu Bethesda) about 550kms


As far as the eye can see...
Valley of Desolation.


 We stopped off for lunch in Nieu Bethesda,
which is always worth a visit as the coffee shop offers great food at reasonable prices.


Unfortunately it seems as if the 21st century has eventually arrived and the grocery store in the centre of town was sold and turned into a bookstore and gallery.

A visit to the Owl House is a must.



The main street of Graaf Reinet.
By British "standards" it is a town as it does not have a cathedral.
Dutch standards differ...
they say it is a city as it has a prominent Dutch Reformed Church in the centre of town



Our accommodation in Graaf Reinet was an eye-opener! We had an entire house to ourselves. Without sounding like an estate agent, it was everything I would want in a property to retire to.


The bed with it’s mound of pillows and warm duvet was so comfortable that I did not even get to read.

Another town...
another church.


We found no actual antiques in this shop.
Perhaps the owners were alluding to the tinned food stock?


Each town has a charm of its own...
I made a point of driving through each town on our route
rather than bypassing them like the majority of drivers do.
But, to be fair we had time to do that.

Part 2: http://www.davidbatzofin.com/2013/08/2009-road-trippart-2.html
My return trip: http://www.davidbatzofin.com/2013/08/2009-road-tripthe-return-journey.html

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