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  • Writer's pictureTim and Lindsey

Goodbye Hogsback…Hello Graaff-Reinet - Day 355

I don’t usually feel sad leaving a place, but I did yesterday. Goodbye Hogsback…Hello Graaff-Reinet - I wonder what we will discover here?

We have very much enjoyed our five days in Hogsback; fantastic scenery, lovely place to stay, delicious food, new experiences and of course, the people have been so warm and friendly. We have made some lovely friends with Lyndsay, Peter, Maggie and Paul and we hope that our paths meet again.

Our journey to Graaff-Reinet was fairly uneventful, well, apart from me burning my hand. We stopped for lunch and a coffee at a garden centre, and as I was about to push the plunger down on the cafeteria, I thought to myself “careful it doesn’t spurt all over you”…and it did. Yeouch! The rest of the journey I had my hand over the air conditioning grill to cool it down.

We drove through the semi-desert Karoo with the flat-topped mountains in the background and orange flowering Prickly Pear and Aloe on the flat plains. Crikey, why did I not think to break a piece of Aloe off for my burn? The sky was clear and deep blue, but as we got nearer to our destination, large white clouds had formed. One looked different as if it was rising from the ground. We watched it carefully. Was it from fire? We deduced that it was from the bushfires in the Garden Route area that have been burning for nearly two weeks. 86,000 hectares have been burnt in the Outenique/De Vlugt area alone. Throughout 642 firefighters have been actively trying to control the fires and sadly, 8 people have died. Our future loose plans may have to change as we intended to go to that area soon.

As we were driving along, the next thing I noticed was a weird small black cloud coming towards us, then a rapid ticking noise. It was at least a hundred locusts flying passed. I remember when I was at school, we had a glass tank with some locusts in it and we had to take turns to put our hands in and feed them. Not one of my favourite tasks!

At last, we entered Graaff-Reinet with a 360-degree view of the mountains surrounding it. At the end of the long straight main street was an impressive sight. Quite a grand church for this small town. This Dutch Reformed Church looked familiar. It turns out that the design is loosely based on Salisbury Cathedral. Arriving at our Airbnb just around the corner, an old colonial style house, we were greeted by a huge dog called Gus. He is a Boerboel (meaning Farmer’s Dog), and despite his massive size, he is a big softie, loves to be stroked. If he likes you, he sits on your foot. He liked us! Sandy, our host, is very jolly and after hearing about my burn, found some aloe in the garden and squeezed some of the sap out of a few leaves. As if by magic, the pain disappeared.

A relaxing rest of the day and a very nice meal in town. I wonder what tomorrow will bring.

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