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  • Writer's pictureTim and Lindsey

Today’s lesson is Geology - Day 332

"Every day is a school day", one of Tim's favourite sayings - and Today's lesson is Geology.

Our lovely hosts Henk and Emsie drove us into town so that Tim could have a trim. A hairdresser was found and within a short time a much neater Tim emerged, hair was cut and beard trimmed. Opposite to us was Kristall Gallerie, a Gem museum and shop. We paid our N$20 each (£1) and was informed to enter the cave first. This manmade tunnel is a replica of the original Otiua Tourmaline Mine, and at each twist and turn had displays of crystals tucked in. As we came out, there was the biggest Quartz cluster we had ever seen. In fact, it turns out to be the largest in the world. This huge cluster was discovered by Johannes Adolf Kleynhans who was mining for tourmaline on his farm in Otjua, about 160 miles northeast of here. Suddenly his drilling equipment disappeared into a cavern and 45m deep he discovered this huge rock. It took 5 years to finally get this out from the cave, weighing at 14,100kg (2,220 stone!)

What started out as a hobby collecting stones, this is now Mr Kleynhans’ passion and he founded the Kristall Gallerie in 1998, with a desire to collect the most beautiful gems. There certainly were many stunning displays of crystals and gemstones here. One large stone that looked quite ordinary from the outside, had a side cut off to reveal the most beautiful gleaming clusters of amethyst. Sadly our photo just doesn’t do this justice.

I am started to understand how these beautiful crystals have been formed. Some are from the earth’s magma crystallising, infiltrating surrounding rock and a chemical exchange can take place creating rocks with these incredibly beautiful gems (Igneous rock). Others are from sedimentary rock, layers of small animals or plant life which is crushed over time, compacted under huge pressure. The third type is from tectonic plate interactions which put igneous and sedimentary rock and minerals under heat or pressure. This causes changes in their chemistry and crystal structure. (metamorphic rock). Due to the movement of the earth, rocks and minerals are in a constant state of change over long periods of time, creating more of these precious stones. Fascinating. It must be so exciting to suddenly find a rock that has been transformed into a gem.

This small gallery was a goldmine of beauty with gems of so many different colours. Bright yellow crystals formed with sulphur, Fluorite formed millions of years ago with diverse hues of blue, green, purple and yellow and Aquamarine, a type of beryl, which I think would go very well with my clothes colour scheme.

Then again, I do like the Pietersite, a rare type of tigers-eye with beautiful blue and gold coloured patterns of the stone. This was discovered in 1962 in Namibia by Mr Pieters who registered the find in the mineral records of Britain and named after himself. Sadly we are on a budget which doesn’t include buying gems, so despite wandering around the shop afterwards and drooling over the many items of jewellery, we left empty-handed but with a better knowledge of gemstones.

Henk and Emsie kindly invited us for a fish braai, taking account that I don’t eat meat. We went to buy wine for the evening to find out that no alcohol is sold after 1pm on a Saturday. Damn! What a lovely evening we had. The braai was indoors as the weather does get quite cold here this time of year. If we were just 20km inland, it would be quite different, 10 degrees warmer.

Emsie is a passionate animal lover, so their two dogs and countless cats were all milling around, especially with the smell of fish, which was Snoek, a large type of mackerel and delicious. It’s so lovely to see Tim being able to stroke the pets without getting wheezy like he used to get. Perhaps travelling has improved his immune system. We had such a lovely time, we really do meet the most wonderful people. We chatted away about a whole range of subjects; travel, family, geology, animals, plus the South African political issue which is causing so many people grief. Luckily iy seems as if Namibia is a lot more settled and inclusive with people working together. I hope so.

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