Graaff-Reinet Travel Blog› entry 16 of 24 › view all entries
Itâ€™s six oâ€™clock when we get up, we leave the trading post at 7.45 am. Jennifer, Ashleyâ€™s wife and a very nice person, is seeing us off. She looks very much like Mrs. Bucket from Keeping up Appearances and her famous line â€śThe Bouqet residence, the lady of the house speakingâ€ť comes to mind more than once. The trading postâ€™s gate is narrow, no more than half a metre wider than our bus, but Gert is a very good driver and backs our bus through it in one go.
Right on schedule we are on our way to the local border authority at Van Rooienhek, where we arrive at nine. Formalities are settled swiftly and in no time we are on our way again.
After a while we come to a site where the road is under construction, and it is here that we see an environmentally friendly traffic light.
At 10.45 am we stop in a village called Aliwal North for coffee and chocolate cake in a beautiful restaurant on the riverbank with a terrace where we sit in the shade. The piece of cake is so big that Johan says itâ€™s part of our lunch. Since Trudy doesnâ€™t like either coffee nor chocolate cake, I arrange an ice cold glass of milk for her. This is a rarity, because everything that is not canned is lukewarm in South Africa. We have the opportunity to go for a short walk, but it is so hot that we choose to remain in the shade of the terrace.
We drive for about one hour and then at one pm lunch is waiting for us in a village called Burgersdorp.
The further we drive into the Groot Karoo (Great Karoo), the landscape gets dryer and the vegetation smaller. In the last hour before reaching Graaff-Reinet we see lots of springboks and storks on the plains that we cross.
At 4.45 pm we have reached todayâ€™s destination, our lodge in Graaff-Reinet. We get an ice cold, but alarmingly sweet welcoming drink. We drop our kit in our rooms and then weâ€™re off into the town, together with Joke, Els, Annette and Barbara.
Tonight Trudy and I want to eat just with the two of us and we decide to go back to Number 8 Pub and Grill, which we passed earlier this evening. A smaller church (the St. James' Church) lies on the way to our dinner and its gate is still open. It looks nice, and silently we walk in to have a peak. We are not really dressed for church, so we stop as soon as we can put our heads through the wide open door. The sexton spots us immediately and invites us in. He is a very friendly man who wants to tells us all he knows about the history of the church but, so he says, if we have a moment the vicar will arrive shortly.
Then, finally, we are having dinner at Number 8. We order Springbok Espetada (or something). This is a metal skewer with cubes of succulent Springbok meat on it with a little salad and potatoes on the side. This is the best dish I have had on this entire trip. And it set us back only 160 Rand including drinks!
On our way back to the lodge a woman approaches us, begging for some money to buy a loaf of bread for her children.
Back in the lodge we take a refreshing shower and go to bed. Then we change beds, because there are some dead bugs in Trudyâ€™s bed and she doesnâ€™t like that too much. I donâ€™t care, I sweep the deceased off my sheets and sleep like a log.