Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Saint du Barrys, Cederberg and Clanwilliam

We live in Clanwilliam, and because we've lived here for eleven years, we've come to know it's characteristics and patterns. Guests who walk the main road will see a very badly surfaced road, shops of varying appeal, the old gaol, now a museum, at the end of the main road, the flower church, so-named because of the annual flower show to which it is home, an unrecognizable hotel previously known as the Criterion which is now offices for various government departments, and the old Clanwilliam Hotel which has changed ownership since its Strassberger days and tried various identities since then. Reinhold's Restaurant is still there, as well as Nancy's Tearoom which has been revamped, and has a smart interior.

Walk down Park Street, and you'll see white-walled houses with thatched roofs. The houses on both sides of the road tend to face the western bank of the Jan Dissels River. You'll see a church that doesn't look like a church, a secretive-looking Masonic Lodge, and trees both young and old lining the way.At the end of the Road, you'll find Ndedema Lodge. This is owned by the family that originally built Saint du Barrys, left Clanwilliam and then returned. Foster Street, at the other end of town, just around the corner from Saint du Barrys, is another pretty stroll, passing the bowling green, attractive homes and well-kept gardens.

The town has a busy vibe, except for Sunday afternoons. Our day is filled with chores needing to be done every hour, and because we're inhabitants, not visitors, sometimes we wonder how guests have experienced the town. Please leave comments, to let us know.

Many guests come to experience the Cederberg, and go along the Sevilla Rock Art Trail, or visit the rock formations which are around Algeria. A good idea is to go up the Pakhuis Pass, into the mountains, passing Louis Leipoldt's grave, before sunset, to experience the deepening colours on the vivid surfaces of baffling rock faces and walls. This, combined with the view of the town as you descend, just after sunset, will give you a taste of the surrounding atmosphere. Raw, rugged beauty. That slogan came out of a workshop designed to give the area a suitable tag.

Back at Saint du Barrys, it's time to sit in the garden and open a bottle of Cederberg wine. These wines come from the highest vineyard in the southern hemisphere, but that's another blog. Time to sit, take in the birds, enjoy the peace, and decide where to go for dinner. If you're leaving tomorrow, too bad, because there will always be more details for you to take in. But perhaps you'll feel the tug of attraction or interest, and mark the map for a return visit. After eleven years here, we realise how many and varied are the stories, interests and fascinations of the town (some best left untold), the area, mountains, and swirls of our private lives that have been stitched into the breezes that recognise no boundaries.

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