Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Day 2: George to Calitzdorp

Before I go into today, here is the route from yesterday with pics: http://www.a-trip.com/tracks/view/100048
After a good night’s sleep at De Denne, we were allowed a nice relaxed start to the day so we got our packs sorted, had coffee then loaded the bikes (Johan sorted my township bike out in a much easier fashion – although my panniers were left to my method). At 8am we were served another WOW feast of a breakfast which resulted in a bit of a slow start to the day as we digested our meal. After saying our goodbyes to our last planned accomodation, and of course to Bruno the beautiful labrador, we set off on our mission to Ladismith. Before we hit the R62, we had our first and fortunately only technical stop for the day (Tessa’s back tire needed some air).
Our breakfast table at De Denne
Now what can I say about the next bit? Hmm… let me rather let a few photos describe it….

Fortunately this was broken up by Johan who in true GSS form decided to go check out an old church just off the main road. This was quite cool actually. The builder and designers in the early 1900s really put great thought and care into the design of their religious buildings to the extent that 100yrs later they are still standing and still show the style and character of those times. In fact, I would love to see if any modern building could last that long!
After a quick tour of the old church, we were on our way again on the long, long road! Fortunately just as we were nearly dead from boredom, the colour of the tar changed and with it, the scenery. Fortunately on the long road, I had had a totally nutty idea – cut the distance for the day. It was getting warm, our brains were fried and I felt that for the sake of the group, 2 shorter days were probably better than 1 killer day and a rest day. Fortunately Johan and Tessa agreed with me.
Whilst pedalling, one can see funny things – kinda like yesterday when we saw the coffee – and today we saw a sign saying “Smits Winkel”. Hmm… we must be lost. Turns out there is 1 stop between Oudtshoorn and Calitzdorp and this was it and I can highly recommend this stop. Yummy homemade gingerbeer and super sweet koeksusters were enjoyed whilst watching a few curious ostriches beg for stuff from the other side of the fence.
Sadly all good things come to an end and we had to cover the last 20kms to Calitzdorp. I had to hold back big time as my legs, lungs and heart were wanting to up the pace but the tour is not an individual thing and I had to hold a slightly more chilled pace (think this will benefit me tomorrow though) but we got to Calitzdorp safe and sound at lunchtime. As we entered Johan spotted a pub (it was beer o’clock after all) with an interesting name: Neverbetter. It was rather dodge!! For R20 we got beers and sat outside and watched the traffic (Calitzdorp is a slow town) go by, after which we set about looking for accomodation. The place mentioned in my guide book looked rather interesting so we decided to go to somewhere else we had heard about called Spekboom Cottages. We were met here by Marie who said they did have space despite being busy - phew!! After settling in, we headed into town to find a grocery store which we duly found and our chef for the evening (Johan) set about finding ingredients.
Whilst in the butchery / grocer, the owner told us he had seen us on the road and had passed us. We then learnt that today was the hottest day of the year here and that as a result of a lack of heat, the grape production is down 30%.
After a nice lunch at Rose Cottage, we headed back here where we have done washing and relaxed. (Just hoping the washing dries in time!)
Here is today's route and pictures: http://www.a-trip.com/tracks/view/100090
Tomorrow we are up early to conquer the Huilsrivier Pass on our way to Ladismith.