Sunday, November 16, 2008

2 September 2008

Kraaifontein Cottage

Here I am, writing by the light of an oil lamp--Kraaifontein Cottage does not have electricity, which isn't a problem for anything other than the cell phone, which needs to be charged. 

Jesse and I went for a little birding walk at Enjolife this morning after breakfast. Saw some weavers over the river, a barbet in a thorn tree, a longspur in a bush near the farmhouse and both a fiscal flycatcher and a fiscal shrike. We then checked out and headed on our way. 

Morning light from our Enjolife chalet.

We first went to Wupperthal and bought some overpriced soap made with rooibos [red tea... the area we were in is where most rooibos is grown. Also where Hoodia, a "diet supplement" currently popular in the US, is grown]. Then we visited the veldskoen [field shoe... simple leather shoes] factory but didn't buy anything. Jesse got a Stony Ginger Beer from the Mission Winkel [store... it was a *very* Afrikaans town] and I bought a loaf of fresh white bread from the bakery, the taste of which took my back on my Parkview days [Parkview is the suburb of Johannesburg I grew up in, and our local Spar store carried fresh, government-subsidized bread loaves. I would sometimes buy a fresh loaf and rip it open to eat the soft, warm innards]! Jesse liked it too, so we ate slice after slice of it as we drove back to the Biedouw Valley turnoff.

Me at the Rhenish Mission church in Wupperthal.

Sheep at a farm at the turnoff to the Biedouw Valley.

Just past the turnoff was a rooibos farm and packing shed, so we went in at the same time as a car full of Swiss and I tracked down the owner to see if we could buy some tea [I just thought to add that there was a bench-full of cute kittens and cats sitting in the sun outside the farmhouse door]. We got a kilogram (!) [~2 pounds] of loose tea for R35 (!!) [that was something like $4.50 at the time] and bought a few boxes of bagged tea as gifts for a bit more money. Then we stopped a zillion times for me to take photos of flowers and scenery ;-)
Jesse took this photo of me at one of our flower-photo-taking stops.

We slowly made our way to Nieuwoudtville, stopping at a single-lane river crossing  next to a very remote farm for lunch. We passed (and were passed by) the same motorcyclists numerous times--we saw them on the way to Wupperthal, in Wupperthal (they were looking for the tea room), at our lunch site, and a few other places.
The one-lane bridge where we stopped to have our lunch.

Finally around 4:30 pm, we made it to Kliprivier Guesthouse, ~1 km from Kraaifontein, and where our hostess, Heidi, lives. I hadn't realized that the cottage doesn't have electricity, but it does have gas stove and hot water. We have a fire going again too, since it is quite chilly here.

The entrance road to Kraaifontein Cottage. The light was beautiful that evening.

The front entrance to the cottage.

The cottage looked a little rundown from the outside, but it has quite a bit of charm and is nicely stocked [and was really nice inside]. And, it has a good supply of blankets, unlike Enjolife! Speaking of Enjolife, Andrea and Moritz Conrad, the proprietors of Enjolife, came over from Germany 3 years ago and have a 2-year old, a 2-month old kid, and a dog, Rocko, who barks at rocks, chases after them, and drags them through the dirt! Cute dog. 

Off to my chilly bed I go.

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