Thursday, February 07, 2008

A drive in the country part 3

Yesterday we paused our journey among the lovely wild flowers on the mountaintop. From the top of the mountain, we get glimpses of the Gamtoos River Valley, which is a very fertile farming area.

We begin to leave the flower covered mountain top, and the rolling hills on the coastal side of the road take on a barren look.

Trees are few and far between, especially indigenous ones like this pretty acacia thorn tree.

But as we decend into the valley, we begin to see signs of lush farmlands. There is a string of little farming towns running through the valley, their produce watered by irrigation from the Gamtoos River, which eventually runs into the sea through a wonderful dune field that creates miles and miles of unspoilt white beaches.

We are heading for Patensie, a delightful citrus growing area. As we descend into the valley, there is one farm that really catches the eye. The farmer has enclosed his entire orchard with netting! In the picture on the right you can see the extent of it behind the people walking along the road.

These little rural towns have a charm all their own, and Patensie is still a very clean, well organised area, with a massive citrus co-op. Trailers wait along the road verge next to an orchard, while farm workers are taken home after church on a trailer.....

By this time it was 3pm, and apart from the fruit we had eaten nothing since about 6am. We were ravenous, so imagine our delight when we saw a sign directing us to a farmstall/restaurant.

What made it even better was seeing these two beauties outside!

It turned out to be just as charming inside as it was outside......

.....and even better, they were still serving lunch, and the food was great! After the hot windy journey, it was such a treat sitting in a cute cool restaurant looking out over peaceful farmlands. The placemats were laminated pages from vintage farming magazines (Landbou Weekblad from 1960) so it was really entertaining reading the old adverts and readers letters from that era while waiting for our meal.

From there we travelled home through the valley, stopping briefly at the town of Hankey to visit the grave of Sarah Baartman.

This is a fascinating story, of a woman who was enslaved and degraded, treated as a freak in her lifetime, and whose body was recently returned to the place of her birth so that her dignity could finally be restored.

The grave is on top of a kopje (small hill) just outside town, so it offers views across Hankey. In this part of the Eastern Cape, aloes are a very typical sight.

And, as the somewhat unique sundial seen from the Kopje pointed out, it was time to head for home.

Hope you enjoyed the trip as much as we did.


Anonymous said...

I laughed at your description of the prickly acacia - yes, it is beautiful, but here they are a terrible introduced pest!
The story of Sarah Baartman is heartbreaking. The poem about her is lovely and so moving. Here's hoping she is at peace.

quintarantino said...

Lovely photos from a nice ride through the countryside.
Makes me sigh and say: "Wish I was there!".
Touching story that one about Sarah Baartman.

Old Wom Tigley said...

Hi Suzi
I have enjoyed this trip from the start.
Todays high lights for me was the Acacia tree, the beautiful Sundial, and the old trucks. The restaurant did look nice and had some great things on show.
What was really moving today was Sarah's Story... It reminded me of the crulty which man can and still dose inflict on others. I remembered the sadness I felt for John Merrick, the Elephant Man after reading and watching the film. For Sarah her live and treatment of is is sorrowful. But did not find solice in death. I feel saddened now.
A great post Suzi, one thats had me smiling and shedding tears in one go.
Thank you.

Jenty said...

I love the photo of the acacia, and the old cars!!

dot said...

I've enjoyed the trip very much. All the pictures are wonderful. So where are we going next??? lol

Suzi-k said...

hehe, glad you all enjoyed the journey! Dot, we will have to take a raincheck till the exhibition opens, but after that, who knows where the road will take us!
Kirsty, LOL, how ironic is that, your trees are our aliens and ours are yours!
Tom, sorry I made you sad! But it was a sad story. I love reading books about adventurers and explorers. But the more I read about the civilized nations going into unexplored lands to "tame the savages", the more i wonder who is the real savage. Some unspeakable things have been done to tribes all over the world by the so-called civilized nations!

Janet said...

The first 2 photos reminded me of the western part of my country. It looks so beautiful and so peaceful. And the lone tree is very like a famous photo from our Monterey coast. I'll try to find a copy and send it to you.

Love the rusted beauties!!

I'm glad to know that woman was finally given her dignity even if it is in death.

Great fun traveling with you!!

Lilli & Nevada said...

What a lovely trip you have taken us on thanks

Cheesy said...

Loved this post sweetie but...
The foodie in me wanted to see and know ~~ What was for lunch?? lol

Suzi-k said...

cheesy. max had fillet: well done, I had rump: rare. With salad. simple but yummy!

imac said...

Great shots there also good interesting post.

My Sky Watch up now

Sonia said...

I've enjoyed the trip so much. All those pictures are beautiful. You did an amazing reportage!

Ash said...

I loved sharing this trip through amazing landscape - a real contrast to the Cotswolds walk I just viewed in Gretel's blog! Loved the sound of the restaurant -great find.
Happy exhibiting!