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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Still time to enjoy a ride during Autumn: "the second spring"

It seems like ages ago since I put "keyboard to screen"!  The Southern hemisphere is adorned with the beauty of autumn colors, to borrow the quote
Fall has always been my favorite season. The time when everything bursts with its last beauty, as if nature had been saving up all year for the grand finale.
Lauren DeStefano, Wither

So has been my quest at the moment, soaking in everything autumny.  I have been pinning autumn ideas on Pinterest http://pinterest.com/laliev/autumn/

We visited Cullinan once again on Monday, (see one of my earlier posts on this little town http://pillion-reflections.blogspot.com/2012/12/the-quaint-little-town-of-cullinan.html). Having two days off in the week and being able to get back on the bike was pure bliss!  We left a little later than usual and instead of a breakfast run we ended up having lunch at Harries pancake Cullinan.  Reason for this is the cooler autumn mornings...


Harries pancake Cullinan




I ordered a Lamb bredie with basil pesto pancake, accompanied with a mint sauce...

Hubby ordered the savory mince pancake with grated cheddar cheese:


http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_f-ofX-QOCbQ/TQPEA6huQEI/AAAAAAAACQU/GCEL4n-Oi0k/s1600/Rustic_autumn_wordart_preview_rainy.png

Although in South Africa we don't celebrate thanksgiving during Fall, I would like to use this time to reflect on the beauty around and am thankful for all the many blessings!

This is a beautiful video to end off which is set to the music: "La Petite Fille de la Mer" by Vangelis...
















































Saturday, February 16, 2013

My personal peace of paradise (part two)


Mpumalanga is dotted with small little towns, just like in my previous blog "The quaint little town of Cullinan", where you feel as if you have stepped back in history.  The following are my favorite towns we have visited:

THE LITTLE TOWN OF PILGRIMS REST...

...is a mining village which dates back to 1873 when a miner, Alex Patterson, discovered alluvial gold.  The mountainous pass called Robbers Pass shown in the video of my previous blog leads to this sleepy village.


The animated movie Jock of the Bushveld, stars the little dog who lived in Pilgrims Rest during the gold rush of the 19th Century.  The famous  Jock of the Bushveld book was written by Percy Fitzpatrick in 1905. For a review on the movie and the book see Rather Ronge.

THE FAIRY TALE TOWN OF KAAPSEHOOP...

...the discovery of gold in the streams around Kaapsehoop, led to the establishment of this town in the early 1800's.  Wild horses roam outside the town, and we were able to get a siting of them:


I love Kaapsehoop!  After visiting I leave with a new sense of adventure in my soul!
Our favorite stop over in Kaapsehoop is a place called, Salvador Mainstreet Bistroa tea garden, restaurant and pub

Salvador mainstreet bistro


The quirky sense of humor of the locals are depicted in some of the signs found inside and outside of the bistro:


An interesting website http://showme.co.za/lifestyle/ghosts-granite-and-wild-horses/ has an article entitled "Ghosts, granite and wild horses" and in it you are introduced to the fascinating people who are residents of this small magical village. 

SMALL COUNTRY TOWN OF SABIE...

The picturesque overview of the town can be seen on the slide show web link.
My most favorite viewing spot of Sabie is from this point on top of the mountain (picture below).  We rode up the mountain on one visit and weren't able to see down below because the mist was too thick...
On a clearer day we were able to see a lot more of this little town from the same view point...

Sabie is a forestry town situated on the banks of the Sabie river and in the valley of the Drakensberg mountain range.  Historically this town originated as a gold mining town and later man-made forests were planted and now forms one of the world's largest forests today.

Sabie

HOEDSPRUIT, THE QUAINT LITTLE TOWN OF GAME RESERVES BORDERING THE KRUGER NATIONAL PARK...


I love the little town of Hoedspruit, situated between the Blyde river Canyon and the Kruger national park. It is here that you can see the big five animals in many of the Game Reserves. The big five animals refer to the Lion, Elephant, Buffalo, Leopard and Rhinoceros.  Unfortunately we never went to any of the Game parks!  Can you imagine what would happen to us if we were to ride in one of the reserves on our bike!
the big five found on google images search
A major problem in South Africa at the moment is the poaching of the Rhino's for their horns.  The Rhino Revolution Organisation was started by the towns people in Hoedspruit to do something about this scourge!
The town of Hoedspruit is literally along one road, "a one horse town", with many interesting things to discover if you look deeper inside!

A favorite breakfast spot of ours is the Wimpy in Hoedspruit.  A lovely cool building under a  grass thatched roof during hot summers!
Wimpy at Hoedspruit

THE CHARMING VILLAGE OF DULLSTROOM

A Dutchman from Holland named Wolterus Dull set up a company here in 1883.  The company bought two farms for settlement, which in turn attracted Dutch settlers from Holland.  Dullstroom is also known today for having the best trout facilities in South Africa.

We had a very welcome cup of coffee at the Old Transvaal Inn, an old building which had a quaint room with a fireplace and old fashioned artifacts and pictures all over the walls.  Dullstroom is known to be one of the coldest places in South Africa seeing as it lies at an altitude of nearly 2,100m.  You could feel it on the bike when passing through the town.  In my previous blog there is a photo of when we rode through Dullstroom in the thick mist, not being able to see 5 metres in front of us!

The Old Transvaal Inn is also famous for its home made sweet shop, which is always spoken of.

Mpumalanga introduced us to beautiful scenic mountainous rides, quaint little historic towns and not to forget lots of cups of coffee and scrumptious pancakes! (Just as an aside: in my blog "the quaint little town of Cullinan", more pancakes were devoured at the Harries pancake place there.)



Graskop Harries Pancake (In the little town mentioned in my previous blog)



MPUMALANGA, LAND OF PROMISE

Land of mountains, sparkling waters,
Fertile plains and azure sky,
We the people, Sons and Daughters,
Love thee ever `til we die.


Sunday, January 20, 2013

My personal peace of paradise (part one)


My personal peace of paradise is the mountains of Mpumalanga.  Now how does one condense hundreds of photo's and plenty of trips to my absolute favorite destination and adequately "paint a picture!"  I have to start somewhere...
Let me begin with a video I took with my Samsung Galaxy s2 mobile phone whilst going down the famous Robbers Pass.  Seeing as we don't own a helmet video camera, the mobile phone had to do!  It sure was tricky holding onto it tightly!



The feelings of exhilaration, excitement and freedom wasn't my initial experience on our first trip.  I have always had a fear of heights and on our way there along the Robbers Pass it started to rain whilst we were climbing.  I clung on for dear life, and have to admit even ended up literally crying in my helmet paralyzed with fear! And if that wasn't enough, coming back home was another test of my bravery, it was the first time we had ridden in thick heavy mist.  We never had any raincoats, so the lady at the resort we were staying in at the time, gave us some plastic black garbage bags which we cut a hole out of to put over our heads.


The one thing I learnt after that is the weather in the mountains is unpredictable!
Most of our stays were in the little town of Graskop, we made this our base station to explore the area around.  Graskop is situated in the panoramic route of Mpumalanga province.
We have stayed at the Panorama chalets, in a basic chalet with a breath taking view overlooking the Graskop gorge and beyond!


The other place we have stayed at is called Franka lodge, which doesn't have a view but is a very comfortable chalet. 


The panoramic route comprises many natural spectacular sites namely the;










...and I have left my most favorite spot for last, the Three Rondavels.  It is here that I am left speechless at the beauty and am profoundly touched by what I see! To do justice, I created a "movie" in Picasa to hopefully portray what it means to me: 

Mountains inspire awe in any human person who has a soul. They remind us of our frailty, our unimportance, of the briefness of our span upon this earth. They touch the heavens, and sail serenely at an altitude beyond even the imaginings of a mere mortal.
Elizabeth Aston



That wasn't the end of our exploration to the area, but I am going to leave that to another story...

Monday, January 7, 2013

"off the beaten track"

Our next adventure ended off the beaten track, it was here that John had to draw on his experience of off road biking.  I held on for dear life, as we climbed the mountainous gravel road.  This was the introduction to the many mountainous adventures that were to follow...

The route travelled was up the Maanharrand pass in the Magaliesberg Nature reserve.

                                                  Breedtsnek @ Ride by Schalk vd Linde


"Oct 2009"
Once again the Kawasaki KLR stood the test of time



At the bottom of the mountain, we turned right on the road to Buffelspoort...

This road led us to "Just Africa", where we fearlessly walked amongst the "wild animals"...




The curio store had lots to see...

...together with the spooky art of taxidermy

The trail had come to an end for the meantime but...
quote: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/r/robertfros101059.html





Saturday, December 29, 2012

Active participant traveller

"...completely in contact with the environment..."


Our next meandering on Mother's day, May 2009, ended up in Bronkhorspruit the little town which boasts the biggest Buddhist temple in South Africa. Named the Nan Hua Temple, it is part of the Fo Guang Shan Humanistic Buddhist order.

"An uploaded video someone took of the temple"


Our first bike, Kawasaki KLR 650 took us to many interesting places.  Entering into this place known for promoting enlightenment felt like you were placing yourself slap bang into a scene from a martial arts movie.


It's amazing to think this small farming town on the border of Gauteng and Mpumalanga Map view, houses the largest temple in Africa.


A visit to the temple is an interesting aesthetic treat. The large scale of the front gates, the buildings and the steps to the temple are impressive.


It was here in the huge auditorium that I felt like I could transport my imagination to a scene of a whole lot of martial artists practising their art form

.............................something like this: taken from website with picture of martial artists


Prior to entering the shrine we had to remove our shoes


Before heading back home, we stopped at Sizanani Village, a place embodying Catholic values for people with intellectual and physical disabilities.  I particularly love the Ndebele African art patterns and wanted to get a photo.  The mother and child statue depict the care that this place provides and the three crosses typify the religious stand point.

In the spirit above it makes sense to end this blog with two thoughts:
Zen Quotes by Lao Tzu
The journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step
                                        and
         Judges 18:6
         The priest answered them, "Go in peace.  Your journey has the Lord's approval"
 

Sunday, December 16, 2012

A place of rest


A place we love to ride to is called "Weesgerus" an Afrikaans word meaning "Rest" It is found in the Limpopo province of South Africa in the Bushveld (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/bushveld)

"All creatures great and small"
I find tranquility for my soul best when I am surrounded by nature and that is exactly what this place provides! The sights, smells and sounds of the bush rejuvenate.
On the kawasaki klr 650...

...and another time on the Triumph Tiger 1050


All South Africans love their braai's (barbecue), I love watching the flames and the different colors almost mesmerizing!



South African Braai Etiquette - a funny :- D



Another stimuli of tranquility for me is found in water and Weesgerus has just that, hot mineral pools both indoor and outdoor, a cold pool and super tube slide.


...and a restaurant overlooking a dam is another place of calm

So after a stay and a ride back on the bike, life is all that much brighter and the poem rings so true! 
Serenity flows through the natural worldListen and you can hearThe beating of your own heartAnd the deepening of your breathIn rhythm and connectionWith the powerful tranquillity of creationThat becomes fully alive in youAs you return to the roots of your being                              ---Bella Bleue