Chilling at the Magic Garden - The ninth step ... Somewhere in South Africa - CycleBlaze

December 16, 2020 to December 17, 2020

Chilling at the Magic Garden

The title says "chilling" but it is more like recuperating.  At our age a ride that reaches out to the edge of our capabilities and level of fitness is a bit like a hangover - it takes days of recovery but the memory of what caused it is almost always worth it.

Our hosts at The Magic Garden are what is referred to in Afrikaans as "gesellig".  Roughly it means sociable but it has an extra edge to it.  "Gesellige mense", or sociable people, apart from simply enjoying others' company, somehow seem to have a need to enjoy it intensely.  Usually involving a fire on which cook something and lots to drink.  Neither Leigh not I are feeling particularly "gesellig" at the moment so I suspect we are a big disappointment to them.

The Magic Garden has a very nice common area filled with Sonja and Henri's artwork and if we were up to it it would be great to enjoy it in the company of other travelers which is one of the things we have missed on this trip.  While we are quite careful about spending time too close to other people (very difficult with the super-kind and friendly Anna-Marie and Deon in Williston) it is also that the few other travelers we meet are other South Africans rushing off to their Christmas holiday destinations who are less at home interacting with a couple who don't quite fit into that mould.

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While vegetating here I picked up an easy-to-read book entitled "Karoo Keepsakes II" published independently by a couple from Cradock, in the eastern Karoo (see http://karoospace.co.za).  So much of it was about places we have passed through either on this trip or over the years and it all seemed familiar and personal.  I just wish I could put ideas and emotions into words like they do.

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We spent a morning in the local museum, which was originally the town's synagogue.  At one point it serviced a community of 120 Jewish families but the last left in 1975.

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There was a limited display of items from when the Jewish community was active here.  It seems they were Afrikaans speaking Jews because the booklet on Passover was only in Hebrew and Afrikaans.

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Amongst the usual collection of household and agricultural items was a nice section of the history of sheep farming in the area.  

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A really neat old cash register from 1860.
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Three years of wool growth. This sheep managed to evade capture for two shearing seasons.
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An experiment - five years of wool growth.
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Today we had elevenses at a restaurant cum museum.  Hantam House is a very well restored building dating back 1854 and is a National Monument.

Hantam House
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Kitchen in Hantam House
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Today's ride: 2 km (1 miles)
Total: 896 km (556 miles)

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