Ratelfontein – Day 5 (part 1)

14 Jan

Today, it’s decided, we’re going to town! We put on our high heels and our beautiful hats and we go to the big BIG town of Richmond!! The girls are on an outing. We need groceries – especially chocolate! It takes us 30 minutes on the dirt road and an extra 15 minutes to Richmond, and there we are. Richmond is a dorp but it has its charm. We found a supermarket – ‘ Percy se plek’, a liquor store (which consists of a small entrance and a counter behind bars), a not-great looking school, a very nice looking correctional facilities, a public library, a beautiful church.



The funniest part was the road signage with this unusual sign,


…and low and behold, 15 meters further, what do we see? An old granny walking with her stick (not crossing the road though!)

But Richmond is becoming famous for its bookstores. In the 1800s Richmond was a popular resort for European aristocrats but it was overlooked by tourists. Nowadays, Richmond is becoming Africa’s Booktown and holds every year in September a book fair. Most of the books are second hand, sometimes twinned with a coffee shop, or an antique shop or an art gallery… We only had time to go to the one – which tripled as an antique/craft/art and book shop.



The owner told us that the guy that started the trend now owns 11 old buildings that he transformed into unique bookstores. We unfortunately did not take the time to go and visit all 11 of them as I was starving. We stopped at ‘The Blue Lantern’, a coffee shop/restaurant. We were the only customers. We ordered pancakes with water as they did not make muffins, scones or any kind of cakes nor did they make cappuccinos. The menu said to give them time as they prepare the food with love. I think we never had so much love in pancakes – but it was worth the wait!!!

Us at ‘The Blue Lantern’


Back to the farm we went – not without a little adventure of our own. We got stuck in the mud at the hottest part of the day with Ali’s long dress, Bec’s black pants and my white pants. There is nothing like a crisis to bring people together!!! Here we were, on our knees, digging this 1000 kg car out, trying to put stones underneath the wheels. Ali was the only one with a small cellphone reception but could only leave a short message onto Mervyn’s phone. Enough to give us hope that we shouldn’t die there but not enough to just sit and wait! But girls are tough and strong and after ruining nails, knees and hairdos, we DID manage to get the car out!!! Our plan B was to walk to the manager’s farm to get some help – but a few days later, driving back I realised that it would have been a very very long walk!!! After getting over their worry – due to a confusion in the time of the message and an inaudible voicemail – the men, deep down, were proud of us!!

The car stuck,

In the end, it was a silly adventure but one that brings a smirk on my face whenever I think of it. We faced adventure with laughs in our hearts and smiles on our faces. It’s a good thing though that the only game on this farm are springboks and the likes, and not lions!! The smiles might have been on the lions’ faces…


One Response to “Ratelfontein – Day 5 (part 1)”

  1. Coppa January 17, 2010 at 12:03 am #

    Je viens derécupérer mon ordi et j’ai donc lu les 5 jours de vos vacances bien méritées.
    Superbe et fabuleux !que de péripéties! que de bons souvenirs.J’avais l’impression d’être avec vous.

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