Of Lady Birds and Gatecrashing

I just watched Lady Bird. What a treat of a film, a little throwback, a reminder of all of those vaguely awkward stages of growing up, a gorgeous, rich tapestry of friendship and love. 

In one of my best scenes, Lady Bird dumps her sort-of boyfriend and goes to Prom with her best friend, Julie, instead. There’s a fantastic scene of them dancing (it also includes a favourite Dave Mathews song, Crash into Me) that sent me flying back 25 years, to Grahamstown, 1993, my first year at university. I turned 18 that year. 

Those ‘varsity year’s were a blissful whirl of youth, senses heightened by our newly-gained freedom in that tiny town that was our kingdom, our playground. It was a wild love affair that went on for four years. We were invincible. 

My best friend, Katherine, and I made it our aim to attend as many balls as we could that first year, before we moved into digs in second year. And by attend, I mean gatecrash. We had no money for tickets (and no serious boyfriends for partners, yet). 

Our university had a thing about balls – every res had one every year, as did every society. This meant lots of balls. They were fun. There was loads of dancing and sometimes a theme. Tickets had to be bought (ahem), partners found, dresses and suits donned. The local photography shop took photos (this was pre-cellphone), which would appear in lines of racks on their wall the next week, ready for buying. We decided we’d aim to be in each set. Or, at least, a good few of them  

We did it for a while, heading off to the Great Hall, up to the Monument, or down High Street to the Crillion on Fridays  and Saturdays , before meeting up with our friends at The Vic later, fed (res food was bland in comparison to ball food) and flushed from dancing and the exhilaration of getting away with it. 

I still wonder if the people developing the photos ever wondered how we managed to get invited to so many balls, including one of the local school’s Matric Dances which, as I remember, had the best food of the lot. For that one, we hid our photos on the shelves of the shop the next week, convinced we’d get caught by beady-eyed teachers. 

We weren’t. 

Advertisements
Posted in Family & Such Creatures, Navel-Gazing & Storytelling | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Prince Albert: Quaint, quirky and full of (mostly friendly) ghosts

We all know how fond (understatement deluxe) of the Karoo I am, so when my friend Leigh, visiting from the UK, suggested we meet her and her mother in Prince Albert, the answer was a ready yes. As the date crept up, I realised that I had a huge assignment due for my (mid-life crisis) postgrad course, an even-more-huge deadline for one job and a persistent shouting for attention for another, so the actual happening of the trip was on tenterhooks. There’s nothing like the lure of the big-skied Karoo, though, to make me sharpen my pencils and get on with finishing the necessaries in order to fly the coop of the city!

And so it was that we headed out on a warm Sunday morning in April and pootled through the The Tunnel (oh, eek, claustrophobia), the Breede and Hex valleys and over the folded mountains into the great wide expanse of the Karoo. And, breathe.

We stopped for lunch at the Karoo One Hotel, which I’ve wanted to go to for years as we’ve whizzed past its sign. An interesting little place, worth a pop-in for the herd of beaded sheep at the entrance and various sculptures around its grounds. We were the only people there and the staff were great.

And on to Jagerskraal, just short of Matjiesfontein and perfectly far enough that off the N1 to feel like you’re a million miles away. The owners are lovely and upgraded us to a cottage on the hill with a stoep that overlooks the valley, on which we sat watching the koppies blush in the dusk and the gazillionty-twelve stars come out.

There’s nothing quite as refreshing as getting up on a Monday, in no rush, and travelling through landscapes that fill you with wonder to meet old friends in gorgeous places. Like Leigh, and her mom, at the Karoo View Cottages, which are just the right distance out of Prince Albert to make it feel like you’re away from it all, but close enough that you can see the church spire peering over the koppie, and it’s an easy trundle down to the village to hang out in the main drag.

Which we did. Eating lunch at the quirkily-named Lah-Di-Dah. Any place that has a huge glass water dispenser with mint and lemon in it deserves a gold star, especially on a hot Karoo day. After lunch, as the storm clouds gathered behind the Groot Kerk in the village, we headed back up to the cottages to ooh and aah about their loveliness before retiring to the stoep to drink wine, watch the sun setting , and, of course, braai.

Prince Albert is one of those villages that has had an influx of people. The kind of people that like small, quirky places, thus increasing its quirkiness exponentially. Add to that that its filled with gorgeous old buildings – including a fabulous art deco theatre – and has a steady supply of water flowing through the leis, and you have a very pretty, surprisingly-green-for-the-Karoo town. It’s filled with restaurants and even has a Gin Bar in the Swartberg Hotel where, incidentally, one of the ghosts lives (in the dining room, not the gin bar). It also has the most fabulous painted bins – a local art project. I’m not sure how Queen Vicky would feel about being on a bin, but I loved them. And the plumbago!

Which gets me to my favourite bit of our too-short stay in the village – the ghost walk with Ailsa Tudhope, storyteller extraordinaire and avid historian, known as The Story Weaver. If you’re visiting Prince Albert, do this on your first night. We met outside the museum at dusk, Ailsa suitably-clad in a long black cloak. From there, she takes you on a gentle amble through town, stopping on corners, lingering in the graveyard, and tells you the story of the town and the ghosts that flutter about it, mostly benignly, as the sun sets behind the mountains. It’s fabulous.

And cold, as the Karoo is in Summer-turning-to-Autumn. When the sun sets, you need your gloves and beanie. Or, you need to have dinner in the smart Swartberg Hotel dining room, which is warm and inviting and serves delicious food while you’re watched by the young lady in the painting … one of the ghosts of which we’d learnt on our walk with Ailsa. The river, beside which she stands, occasionally runs with blood. Sadly, on the night we were there, it didn’t happen.

One of the many reasons I’ll be returning to this little Karoo town.


Wheelchair Accessibility

The main drag in Prince Albert is a lovely wide, flattish street, perfect for wheelchairs. Many of the buildings are heritage sites, so some have a step or two into them. Places like the Swartberg Hotel (and its fabulous gin bar) and Lah-Di-Dah have ramps.

The Ghost Walk was totally doable in a chair, it mostly being an amble along the main road and the road one block up. Do it, really!

Karoo View Cottages – which are situated a little out of town, up a small hill – have a universally-accessible cottage which is fabulous. The owners, too, are lovely and really helpful. It’s huge, with plenty of space to move around, and a bed that’s big enough for a family! There’s a movable ramp onto the stoep which has the most gorgeous view across to the koppies. The bathroom, too, is huge with a small hump into a large shower, toilet with front and side access and plenty of room to move about. Oh, and it even has undercover parking, just in case it rains. A brilliant spot to stay.

Posted in Accessibility, Travel & Exploring | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

The Road to Mecca

Anybody who knows me is well aware of the fact that my heart resides in a tiny village surrounded by hills under an enormous sky in the middle of the Karoo. I wrote a whole blog series on it – Karoo Dreaming – when I went to live there for two months and I wax lyrical every time we go, and we go as often as is mortally possible.

I was, due to my love of Nieu Bethesda and all its people (and its book shop and Huxley, swoon), thrilled to go and review the opening night of The Road to Mecca at The Fugard last night. I love The Fugard, with its old stone walls whispering of days gone by, and it was made even lovelier by the fact that, on entering the theatre, I felt like I was there, in The Owl House, the smell of Karoo dust lingering in the air. Brilliant, brilliant set design. And on to my review, which was written for What’s on in Cape Town.

Helen Martins was an enigma. Plenty has been written on her since her death in 1976, Athol Fugard’s The Road to Mecca, based on her friendship with Elsa Barlow toward the end of her life, is undoubtedly the most well-known.  An outsider artist in a tiny, dusty Karoo town, she attracted the attention – and derision – of the village gossips and the inevitable dominee, despite having grown up amongst them.

When Fugard wrote the play in 1984, he was living in Nieu Bethesda, just around the corner from what is now known as ‘The Owl House’ – Martin’s house and garden that had been her canvas. She filled the garden with cement creatures: owls, camels, wise men, religious icons of every persuasion, all with eyes made of bottles and colour splashed everywhere. Inside the house, she crushed glass – much to the damage of her eyes and hands – and plastered the walls with it, turning the small house into a glittering palace when the sun shone through the windows or she lit her multitude of candles at night.

Martins’ fear of darkness and her seeking of the light is one of the major themes of the play, along with love and loss and the heartbreak that goes with it.

The cast reads like the guest list of an intimate dinner party gathering of South Africa’s acting elite. Sandra Prinsloo plays Martins, bringing to her character a naiveté of life with a passion for the one thing that filled her with joy: her art. Prinsloo is perfectly dusty: an adjective well-suited to the story of Martins in her dusty Karoo village.

The play focuses on Martins’ friendship with a young, headstrong teacher from Cape Town, Elsa Barlow, played impassionedly by Emily Child. There are seams of similarity that flow between the two: their passions (Martins’ art, Barlow’s teaching and anti-Apartheid sentiment) and their loves and losses.

Marius Weyers is brilliant as Reverend Marius, head of the church council and, despite an outward aura of judgmental bullying, Martins’ friend and not-so-secret admirer. His inward struggle between the strict decrees of his religion and his recognition of the beauty of her art – and the beauty it shines on her – is palpable.

The Oscar goes to Saul Radomsky for set design. The stage has been converted into Martin’s house, the walls glittering, candles flickering, all watched over by a menagerie of Martins’ concrete creatures. It’s outstanding and provides the ideal backdrop for these three master actors to play out a story that still resonates, 30-odd years after Fugard wrote it.

Posted in Arts, Music & Culture | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

I wrote a book, I did.

They say things work in 7-year cycles. That’s according to 19th century philosopher and mystic, Rudolph Steiner. He was a handsome chap, if his Wikipedia pic is to be believed, and he established Anthroposophy (try saying that three times). According to this philosophy:

The three seven-year segments, from 21-42 years old, are associated with the Sun, and the elements of sentient soul, intellectual soul, and consciousness soul.  The next seven-year segment is associated with Mars (42-49 years old), when the soul works hard to impress the full forces of its personality upon the world.

While I am distinctly unmystical (although occasionally philosophical, in the most simple context), this fits in nicely with the beginnings, middles and final production of my first novel, One Night Only. Yip. A book. With 59 841 words, and a dedication of 123 words. All written by me. I guess I can call myself an author now, but that doesn’t seem real or, frankly, right.

I started it in 2011, when I was 35 (and just entering my sixth 7-year cycle, dealing with my sentient, intellectual and consciousness soul-parts, if I were an anthroposopher). I had been wanting to write a book, well, since my first forays into book writing as a small girl. Somewhere in my treasure trove of childhood memorabilia, are numerous handwritten and (badly) self-illustrated books … stapled together papers filled with koki words and pictures.

A friend introduced me to NaNoWriMo, an incredible online writing convention, in 2011. For the month of November, you set out to write 50 000 words. That’s 1 666.666* words per day. Don’t laugh. Some days that 0.6666* of a word messed with my mind.

At the time, I was still working full time at The Ivory Tower and I’d get up a little earlier and trundle up there, spending the quiet dawn hours type-type-typing away as I watched the Cape Flats wake up from my turret. At one point near the end of November, I found myself 10 000 words behind and persuaded my trusty travel partner to flee to a farmhouse near Riebeekkasteel for a weekend to catch up. Poor GM was left having to do her own thing while I type-type-typed away (I say ‘poor GM’, but actually it was probably a relief not to have to have me nattering away all weekend.)

The result on 30 November 2011: 50 275 words in a row.

Words that had been written, without looking back, without an iota of editing, without a check of any sort. And I’d (mostly) loved it. The making myself sit down to write? Like herding cats. But once I started, it thrilled me.

Things got hectic at The Ivory Tower, I took on extra work on top of what I was doing, I got distracted by other bits of writing, I fell in love, then out of love – perhaps more than once, but that’d be telling – and nursed a broken heart (a not terrible thing, really, from a creative point-of-view. Well, if you’re looking for some sad bits), I found fabulous travel to do and got whisked away by books and movies and life itself, really. You know, the usual stuff. But throughout it all my novel sat on my shoulder, ruffling its pages every now and again, just to remind me it was there, slowly getting more restless and more loud as time passed. Then my 40th birthday loomed and joined the book in its rustling, with one of those blowy, whistle things that throw out their paper tongues when you blow them. Hard to ignore.

So I set about editing, and re-editing and getting input from various lovely friends and editing some more. In between, I’d drop it all and ignore it for months on end, but finally, a couple of months short of my 40th birthday I did the final draft and sent it to a lovely editor at Books Live who praised it and said she was sure it would be published. On my 40th birthday, while in my beloved Nieu Bethesda, I sent it to the first publisher.

And waited.

The usual story unfolded, the one I’d been warned about. The slow twisting of the gut, with each rejection letter. ‘Thanks, but we’ve got our quota of chick lit’, ‘It’s great, but no’ and many formulaic, template answers from faceless and nameless people. Soul-destroying, so I dropped it for a bit and got on with life and travelling, but it was still rustling away at me. Finally, I sent it to a couple more people to read, and adapted various bits according to their suggestions and published it myself, using my fabulous (and extremely patient with my OCD-ness about the design) friend Chloe as designer, and a gorgeous pic of and by my friend Lisa, as the cover.

I ordered one, and got it delivered in London when I was there in July last year and got my mother and sister to read it. More changes, but they loved it. Then another, post-changes, and a third, with cover changes until, finally, I was happy with the result (or exhausted and could do no more).

At 42, seven years after first starting it and when my soul was anthroposophically entering its phase of working hard to ‘impress the full forces of its personality upon the world’, I finally published. Maybe old Steiner was right.

Still, I waited weeks until announcing it on Stalkbook, the anxiety of putting it out there similar to what I imagine it feels like sending your first born off on its own for the first time.

But I did, and people bought it and I’ve had lovely comments from people who’ve read it and, even though I know they’re biased because they’re from people who love me, I’m so eternally pleased when I hear good things.

After having numerous requests for a South African version (Amazon’s P+P and customs are exorbitant!), I have done a small print run here (more backing-and-forthing with design and proofs and, and …) but they arrived yesterday and they feel heavy(ish) in my hand and they smell gorgeously of book and my name is on the front. I am brimming with pride.

I finally did it. I strung just under 60 00 words in a readable row, to make an admittedly fluffy beach read, but still. The next one is darker and deeper. Perhaps I can now call myself a writer (I’m even getting a tiny royalty cheque that should make up for about one-millionth of the time I spent on this), but that still makes me feel like a small girl playing grown-up in my mother’s high heels, her lipstick smeared across my lips.

I guess I’ll have to get on to the next one to claim the title. Hopefully it’ll take a little less than seven years.


If you want a copy, it’s available on Amazon (Kindle and Paperback) or send me a comment and you can buy a copy from me for R100 plus postage+packaging.

 

Posted in Arts, Music & Culture, Books & Films (& TV), Family & Such Creatures, Navel-Gazing & Storytelling | 7 Comments

McGregor Meanderings

Finally … the second installment of our McGregor adventures, following Monday in McGregor. Dust roads appeal to me. There’s something a little more adventurous about them, with their ruts and roughness and tiny stones lying in wait. In a wheelchair, dust roads can be challenging but, with my Freewheel, they’re easier. Perhaps that’s part of the appeal: the challenge. And that’s why my visit to McGregor was so cool. Well, part of the reason. The lovely people we met were the biggest part of the reason, the gorgeousness of the place, another.

McGregor caters to both dust road and tar road lovers. The main drag – Voortrekker Street – and a few of its offshoots being tarred, the rest dust. All of its roads are sprinkled with pretty buildings: the ornate big church, with its spire piercing the clear blue sky, Temenos sitting peacefully in its lush garden, old houses with broekie lace and the old jail that looks like a cake with white icing and green piping.

On Tuesday morning, we woke to a refreshingly cool morning, grey clouds gathering above the mountains. After delicious homemade cheese scones with Jenny at Le Bonheur, we headed a little out of town to taste some olives.

Olive cheesecake. Now there are two words I would never have thought I’d see next to each other. After a wonderful visit to Annalien at Rhebokskraal Olive Estate, two minutes out of Mcgregor, I have it on good authority that they do in fact go well together. The Olive and Ginger Marmalade, apparently, makes a brilliant topping on a cheesecake.

The marmalade is just one in an incredible range of olive products produced on Rhebokskraal, most of which we tasted during our visit. Annalien – who’s also a singer and author of ‘Ek Woon in ‘Skildery‘ (I Live in a Painting), and she really does! It’s beautiful! – and her husband bought the farm 30 years ago. It was a grape farm and they planted the first olives, learning as they went and bringing up the children on the farm. The grandchildren now bring life and laughter to the beautiful old farmhouse. 

They produce everything olive you can think of, from traditional pickled olives (in a multitude of flavours), to dried (think olive biltong), to relishes, jams, moisturising creams and, my favourite, olive salt. 

The ‘Road to Nowhere’, which leads out of McGregor and into the mountains in the direction of Greyton, which sits prettily on the other side of the Boesmanskloof, winds up into the mountains revealing spectacular views and ending abruptly on the farm Die Galg. After our visit at Rhebokskraal, we took a leisurely drive up the pass, gorgeous clouds still massing over the valley. As we neared the top, the clouds burst, plopping deliciously fat raindrops onto the dust road and kicking up that smell … rain on dust … that makes my heart squelch with joy.

Depending on who tells the story, the road between McGregor and Greyton (less than 20 km apart, if you’re a crow), was abandoned at this point, either because World War I broke out, or due to the money running out, or due to squabbles between the road makers. I’d go with all three, really, and I’d have squabbled too … it must’ve been back-breaking work through extraordinarily rocky land.

It is now possible to hike between the two villages and one thing everyone agrees on is that it’s a beautiful hike with an even more beautiful waterfall cascading to an even, even more beautiful pool to swim in. Sadly, that bit’s not wheelchair-friendly but those who like a bit of an amble (and this is an understatement, if you’re going the whole way to Greyton, it’s a full day hike), it sounds wonderful.

We stopped in at Lord’s Winery for some lunch and a tasting. Ian guided us through their fantastic range of wines as we nibbled on a cheese platter and watched the clouds roll over the hills and the building of the new tasting room, which promises to be spectacular. It’s the kind of place you could easily get stuck at: great wines, incredible views and a chilled atmosphere.

The Monster Munch Food Truck, an old repurposed fire truck, comes to McGregor every Tuesday evening, parking in the main drag and offering incredible gourmet burgers. After GM enjoyed her turn for a massage with lovely Atholl, we ambled down. Locals gather at Grape De-Vine to enjoy their burgers with great wine and a good old natter.

This is what village life is about and we happily met our new friends for all of the above after a wonderful amble through this most picturesque village. With tummies sated, we ambled back, as the almost full moon played amongst the clouds and a tiny weather vane pig frolicked in front of them, to Little Haywards, where we lay our happy and tired heads on possibly the best bed I’ve ever slept on.

The next morning after a quick pre-breakfast haircut by Dennie (and what a fabulous job she did!), and then breakfast in the gorgeous tranquil garden of Tebaldi’s with Dennie, it was time to head home. It felt way too soon. 

McGregor, we will be back! Thank you for having us.


Wheelchair Accessibility

McGregor is surprisingly wheelchair friendly, situated on a very slight slope. The main road is tarred and the side roads are firm gravel, which were fine in the hot, dry weather, but may be more challenging in wet weather.

Lord’s Winery has a ramp which is at a rather steep gradient, but doable with some help. I’m sure the new premises will be much better. The front stoep is flat, but has those bench-attached-to-table tables. Inside, the cellar and tables are down some stairs. They were very kind and brought a suitable one up for me, so phone before you go and I’m sure they’ll do the same again.

Grape De-Vine is a little hole-in-the-wall right on the road, flat all the way through to the lovely courtyard out back, where there are comfy chairs and where owner, Susan’s, cats play happily.

Tebaldi’s, too, is ramped from the road and should not be missed. It’s gardens are absolutely gorgeous.

Little Haywards, where we stayed the night, was wonderfully accessible, with ramps everywhere. Big and airy, our hosts David and Lesley, were so welcoming and helpful, and keen to improve any accessibility issues.

The self-catering unit is huge, with plenty of space to manoeuvre in the living area, bedroom and bathroom. The beds are quite high, but David was going to make a little platform for that and, as I said above, they’e incredibly comfortable! The bathroom has a level shower (no grab rails) and a toilet that allows front access.

 

Posted in Accessibility, Travel & Exploring | Tagged , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Monday in McGregor

There’s something deliciously decadent about heading out of the city on a Monday morning, when everybody else is heading to work/school/stuff. One of the joys of funemployment is that I can. While it sometimes means working over weekends, it’s totally worth it. Last Monday, we headed to McGregor, just two-and-a-bit hours from Cape Town. It was a beautiful day to drive out there.

We arrived to sweltering heat. Really, really sweltering, but were welcomed by the lovely Jenny at Le Bonheur. After dumping our luggage in our spacious en-suite, separate entrance room, we headed into the main drag in search of a cold drink. How Bazaar provided just such a thing – grape juice made locally. We sat outside on the covered stoep, admiring the garden. It was cooler inside, but the lure of the gorgeous garden was too much.

Suitably refreshed, it only seemed right to do some exploring, so we ambled hotly through the oven main road, up to the Tourism Office and tiny museum within it, marvelling at the church diagonally opposite. I’m glad we made it, because it’s choc-a-block full of old bits and bobs from McGregor’s past and has a wonderful book detailing McGregor’s history by local, Gerrit Davids, who sounds like a character and a half. He leaves no scandal or triumph untold. Edna Cox, in whose house the mousetrap and sickle were found, seems like a woman nobody (and no mouse) should mess with!

And then we were too hot to continue, so had to take ourselves back to the oasis that is Le Bonheur – me to repose on my bed beneath the fan, GM to splash about in the pool in Le Bonheur’s fabulous garden filled with little creatures. Well, I reposed until I had to flop onto my belly, in order to have my massage by the fabulous Atholl Hay. Now that’s Monday decadence. What a treat.

As the sun set over the hills and the valley blushed in its glow, we ambled along the dust road and around the corner to The Sandbag House. Fiona, of Destination McGregor (who also helped organise our trip), cooks amazing 3-course meals, usually on a Sunday, but on a Monday for us, opening her and husband, Tom’s gorgeous home to visitors. They had set a table out under the trees in the garden, from where we could watch the sky turn pink and the almost-full moon rise, along with newest (and fabulous) McGregor local, Dennie, who joined us for dinner.

I had sworn it was going to be an early night, having had a particularly busy on call shift ending that morning, but the company was too good, the food too delicious, and the common threads (Rhodes, Zimbabwe, a love of travel and Africa) were too lovely, so we stayed much later than ‘early’, revelling in it all. We left having made three new friends, which can only signify a very good night.

A short walk back to the comfort of Le Bonheur, under a star-filled sky was the perfect end to a perfect day. Mondays in McGregor are to be recommended. Tuesday will be the next blog. And is also to be recommended. Do you see a theme here?

 


Wheelchair Accessibility

McGregor ‘town’ is set on a gentle hill. A really gentle one. The main road is tarred and easy to negotiate, How Bazaar equally so, although, if you want to go into the garden, there’s a small step. Nothing a helping hand won’t negotiate.

The tourism centre and museum has a ramp up to it and is completely flat inside. The museum itself is a small room, but perfectly navigable.

Fiona’s Sandbag House has a bit of a steep driveway, which we coped with fine using the Freewheel, and if the driveway is too much, it is possible to arrive by car and get out at the top of the driveway. Once there, it’s fantastic.

Le Bonheur is a dream. It’s wheelchair-friendly, with plenty of space, a perfect height bed, and an accessible bathroom (no rails, but the basin is high enough to get under and the shower is level with the floor, with a plastic chair). Jenny, the host, is exceptionally lovely and very helpful. The only small challenge is the stone pathway to the room, but again, doable with the Freewheel, or a little help! It’s well worth it and Jenny’s cheese scones for breakfast are divine.

 

Posted in Accessibility, Travel & Exploring | Tagged , , , , , | 7 Comments

A Night in Quirky Barrydale

Barrydale is one of those towns just far enough from Cape Town to have avoided being a ‘commuter town’ overrun with city people rushing in and out, but just close enough for it to be a pleasant drive for a long weekend. We decided to tack a day onto our trip to Grootvadersbosch and headed up last Thursday to stay at the fantastic Karoo Saloon and explore the little town a bit.

Arriving just in time for lunch, we headed to Klassikaroo, on owner, Janet’s, invitation and what a treat it was. Chef Dino and waitress, Yvonne, treated us to the most gorgeous meal. Again, one doesn’t need to be in the city to eat like royalty.

After freshening up (and checking out the lay of the land – a fabulous indoor section, and a lovely courtyard out back), we settled on the front stoep, with its view over the town of Barrydale, the Langeberge in the distance, a glass of chilled white wine grown in the valley to enjoy it with.

Chef Dino suggested I try one of the specials of the day – Kingklip con Cozze. I never argue with a chef’s recommendations and it’s never failed me yet. Mussels, cooked in vanilla, wine and saffron, over grilled-to-perfection kingklip, served with basmati rice and garlicky brocolli. Too divine. And oh-so-pretty, scattered with its purple pansies.

GM chose the chicken schnitzel – an incredibly generous portion with velvetty, paprika-infused (I think. I’m no food guru, but I’m pretty sure it was paprika) cheese sauce – served with fresh salad and chips.

After chatting to the fabulous woman who owns the Barrydale Hand Weavers (they have the most gorgeous handwoven goodies), and admiring both the range of face pots outside and the delightful pug, Ozzie, we took a drive around town.

Barrydale is pretty and old and a little quirky. Just the way I like my towns. We’d have taken an amble down the main drag, but it was in the high 30-degrees and our tummies were full of the delicious Klassikaroo food.

Barrydale, you’re mighty fine, we didn’t have nearly enough time to enjoy the galleries and little shops, so we’ll be back soon!


Wheelchair accessibility

Klassikaroo is totally wheelchair friendly, with a ramp from the parking space in front of the restaurant. Inside and out to the back courtyard is also flat and there is a big, accessible bathroom that would allow front or side transfer onto the toilet (but no grab bars) and easy access to the basin. The tables are high enough to fit under, too. Bravo!

Most of the little shops and restaurants along the R62, including the Tourism Office, have ramps up to them, incredibly, considering it’s a fairly steep little hill. Down in town, the main drag is relatively flat but, as I said above, it was just too hot to explore on foot.

We’ll go back, though, don’t fret, to check out the rest!

Posted in Accessibility, Travel & Exploring | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment