We left home on Sunday, 15 May at 7am. As usual, I'd packed a box of sandwiches and Grant made a flask of filter coffee. We stopped at Bloemfontein Engen One-Stop and warmed our hands around the stainless steel coffee cup. We only have one [cup] on the flask and share. No place for extras on a motorbike!
Grant and moi on the first day of our bike trip
For me, a classic photo, is always of the bike on a bridge over one of our many rivers in South Africa. Our next stop was about 200kms/125m from Bloemfontein on the Orange River which is the border between the Free State and the Cape province
We travelled onto the nearby town of Colesberg to refuel the bike. While there two little children approached me and asked for R2/US$.28c to buy sweets/candy. I said I don't give money so they asked for Coca Cola. I went into the shop and bought a loaf of bread, two bottles of flavoured milk, a sausage roll and a packed of buns. When I asked where they lived, they said on the hill behind the fuel station. I said they could have all the treats but to take the sliced bread home to their mum. When I asked their names, the little girl looked at her brother and told him to say it. He told me it was Patricia. When I asked her how come she had an English name, she said: "Dis my ma se skuld, merrim. It's my mother's fault, madam!" The people in the Cape speak mostly Afrikaans and these little ones had a lovely way of expressing themselves. When I asked the little boy what his name was, he said: "Speelman, merrim/Playboy madame" To which his sister exclaimed: "Hy jock merrim/he lies madam! Sy naam is Jonatan, merrim/His name is Jonathan, madam! "Too precious.
Patricia and [Playboy!] Jonathan of Colesberg
Then it was time to get on the road again. Our next stop was Graaff Reinet, about 500km/312m ahead, where we intended to have lunch. We arrived at about 2.45 and being Sunday afternoon in a sleepy Karoo town, everything was shut!
The Dutch Reformed Church in the centre of Graaff Reinet, is a replica of the cathedral in Salisbury. This beautiful church was built in 1886 and has been declared a National Monument (now known as a Heritage Site) Graaff Reinet has the most heritage sites in South Africa. (The biker in the photo was starving and at this stage not at all interested in my history lesson, LOL!)
We rode on to our final destination for the day, Aberdeen, where we'd spend the night.
The comfortable Aberdeen Self-catering accommodations where we spent the first night
Before leaving home, I'd googled "Things to do in Aberdeen" and read up on the many different styles of buildings in this little town. I also read that the Aberdeen Cemetery was a must-visit when in this town. My poor husband was not too thrilled with the idea of wandering through graves on a Sunday afternoon after a long day in the saddle, but he went along with me anyway. (We'd heard that the person who used to maintain this tourist attraction, was now lying in that very place and that the cemetry had become rather neglected)
Yep! I cajoled my darling husband into visiting the Aberdeen Cemetery with me
And yes, we did find signs of neglect
Wandering back into the town, we stopped at the Dutch Reformed Church with its 50 - meter spire, apparently the highest in South Africa. When I downloaded the photos onto my computer, I spent an age trying to straighten the horizon on the church photo. Then I read that the spire leans over and is known as the Leaning Tower of Aberdeen! Take a look and see for yourself!
The Dutch Reformed Church of Aberdeen with its 50 meter spire, the tallest in South Africa and is 45cm off centre due to the weight of the roof tiles. The large olive tree in the church garden (not shown here) originates from the Garden of Gethsemane
Many of the houses are richly decorated and intricately designed with domes, gables, turrets, ‘broekie lace’ and plaster motifs
Aberdeen is an architectural conservation area of the Karoo. Walking tours can be arranged where you can view the Victorian, Georgian, Cape Dutch, German, Gothic, Russian and Flemish influences on the local architecture, as well as examples of houses built by the legendary ostrich barons. The Dutch Reformed Church spire is 45cm off centre and is the tallest in South Africa. The local Anglican, Methodist and Apostolic churches are all around 100 years old.
The Magistrates Court - Aberdeen
Abderdeen Post Office
This old building fascinated me so I had to photograph it. We suspect it was the old Aberdeen Hotel
Next morning (Monday) we saddled up and got onto the road early. We stopped in the flat, silent Karoo landscape to photograph the long road seeming to stretch on forever. I also wanted a photo of a mountain which resembled a chimney.
At the turnoff to Skoorsteenberg/Chimney Mountain
Skoorsteenberg/Chimney Mountain in the distance behind the bike
The road through the Karoo stretches into the distance
We arrived in Oudtshoorn at mid-morning.
While looking for a place to have breakfast, we passed the CP Nel Museum. In front of the old building which started off as a boys' school in 1907, was a colourful display of ostrich feather dusters for sale
We had breakfast in the Queen's Hotel, a four star hotel with very reasonable rates and meal prices
I've had trouble with Blogger not saving my photos and text. I will continue our journey as soon as I have worked out a solution.
Note: I've highlighted the towns and places of interest on our journey. Do click on the links to read more about our beautiful country, South Africa.
Have a wonderful wekeend, everyone!