Montagu and Oudtshoorn

7 October 2007 (South Africa)

MontaguThe next morning we woke up in an art deco hotel with many original art deco furniture. It’s located in Montagu, a small pastel coloured art deco town with beautiful houses. Very photogenic … if it is not raining. I tried to shoot some photos, but through the wet car windows the result is looking pathetic.

Because the rain has become worse, there is little else to do than visiting the Hot Springs. It is a ‘day spa’ in a luxury hotel and it was excessively advertised all over Montagu, so we got high expectations!
It took quite some effort to rent a towel, but then we went to the changing rooms. These were tiny particles about 1 square meter with a curtain. The entire surface of the particle is filled with a big chair. Was it the intention to stand on it?
The changing rooms for men actually were the men’s bathrooms, but to create some space for changing clothes they had replaced 2 of the 4 urinals with … yeah … also those big chairs. Even no curtains here. Frank was afraid that a guy came in to do his business. Or worse; that he would drop something on the floor.
Unfortunately, there was no locker for your stuff. So our clothes had to be placed at the edge of the pool. Not convenient in the pouring rain, so we open up one of the sun umbrellas to create a kind of a ‘dry spot’.

Under normal circumstances, located between the mountains and the lovely trees this complex must be quite nice, but because of the strong wind all the white plastic chairs were piled up in a corner and the open bar was now protected with white plastic.
The pool was not as warm as we had hoped for, but the most confusing thing was the fence in the middle of the pool: One half was for the hotel guests and the other half for the … plebs. I would think; we are paying visitors, so what’s the difference?
Against 2 other visiting couples we did a mean eye-fight (intensely stare to someone to get him move) with varying results. The goal was a spot under a hot water jet, which was spewed out of a stone vulture, to gain a bit warmth.
After half an hour our willingness to stay positive started to stagnate.

Montagu and OudshoornWe drive a few hours in eastern direction through the Klein Karoo. The weather remains gray, cold and wet. It is a popular wine region, but apparently religion refrain them to do wine tastings on Sunday. It was Sunday …
Btw; In the supermarkets the aile with alcohol is also literally red taped on Sunday.
At the end of the afternoon we found a B&B in a beautifully furnished Victorian house in Oudtshoorn. The first thing we did was curling up in bed with the electric blanket to warm up. And then via internet tried to found out what’s on in the local cinema.
No cinema.

The next morning … yeah … finally it is sunny. And the mountains … are white. That night it has snowed.
Now the mountain pass is closed, but to us (Northern Europeans used to snow) that seems overly exaggerated. What’s dangerous of a bit of snow? We’re going anyway.
A closely test on top of the mountain confirms that it was real snow. Yep. Wild snow. And it’s 2 degrees Celsius. Yes … I’m still reporting from South-Africa.
The gorge is quite magical. In the valley, where it is a bit warmer, we do a mini-hike along a very adventurous path. We passed large stones in the river, climbed over fallen logs along steep cliffs and dense vegetation.