Beautiful View

Guesthouse ‘Fraai Uitzicht’ (‘Beautiful View”) in the Klaas Voogds hamlet in the Western Cape, South Africa does not only offer the guests stunning views from the restaurant terrace or amazing surprises to look at in the own garden but also a look at the guesthouse itself is worthwhile to stay there for a couple of days. And than I’m not going to describe the mouthwatering dishes that are prepared in the kitchen. This superb guesthouse qualifies with ease for five stars but the owners stick to their 4 stars for marketing reasons. Well …. let’s have a look.

 

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Angels

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Not mentioned in any known travel itinerary is the shop window in Stanford, South Africa. It’s in the main Victoria Street at the Stanford Hotel. It’s there where The Angel of Stanford resides. Every now and than ‘shebeen owner’ Penny van den Berg redecorates the windows with her ‘girls’. And that is quite a process of meticulous fitting the right dresses, the right wigs and the right gadgets for the right occasion. This week Penny is in heavenly spheres and all her thoughts are with angels. Her installations are a true art. She does not only use the windows but also the space behind thus also using the old shopping counter and the cupboard behind. From her childhood onwards Penny has been collecting dolls in all sizes; from a tiny Swedish ‘Pippie Langkous’ to life-size fashion dolls. And there is something more to it as well; every time when a known villager passes away Penny adds a candle behind the window and this candle, accompanied by a picture of the deceased, will burn until after the funeral. For all on a road trip in South Africa and co-incidentally in the area it’s worthwhile to take a turn into Stanford. After about 1 kilometer the window is on the right.

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Stanford; a village in the green

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In my (our) other blog you can read all about our privilege of living in this wonderful village; somewhere in nowhere between Gansbaai and Hermanus in the Western Cape, South Africa. It’s a truly green village and honestly I don’t think there is any village or town in the Western Cape where per head so much solar power is utilized. Except for the (main) Victoria Street where most of the restaurants and shops are located there is an abundance of green all over the place. Herewith a visual impression with some pictures I made this morning. It’s a green portrait of a wonderful village.

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The hidden waterfall

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The hike (approx. 5 km) took a few hours and we had to climb and descent rocks, walk through a fern forest and follow a stream but the reward was amazing and refreshing: the hidden waterfall of Stanford, South Africa and only the very, very privileged know about it. Not that we are that ‘very, very privileged’ but our friends are and they have, after 16 years Stanford, obtained the key for the gate. A  paradise for whoever want to take photographs of waterfalls and streaming water; frogs and other creatures, fynbos and other precious plants. Well we guess that the Garden of Eden must have looked alike. Our time was limited this Sunday morning for there were also lunch arrangements but we definitely will return for a day or longer to picture it all.

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Off the beaten track

No photoshopping with this picture although I’ve used elements of it in several ‘imaginaries’. This is South Africa off-the-beaten-track or to be more specific; the Papiesvlei Road near Stanford in the Overberg region in the Western Cape. If you follow this road you’ll see somewhere in nowhere a traffic light (“Robot” in South African English). If it’s red keep on driving and if it’s green the restaurant is open and Henny (the local BBQ-specialist) will make you a delicious Farmers Dish with a real good Steak in the way you like it! And for a price that’s almost pre-historic…. Most tourists behave like sheep and packed in comfortable ‘cattle-buses’ only see (not ‘experience’) the known tourist traps. The few more adventurous travelers see and feel the true inner beauty of whatever country of region they explore. Going ‘nowhere slowly’  is most of the time cheaper  as well…

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Whale Watching

Hermanus in the Western Cape, South Africa attracts many tourists for whale watching. Even in season (June-December) it can happen that there are days that you hardly see any and other days it’s a joyful sight seeing them play as far as the eye reaches. Yesterday, virtually the end of season, they were very quiet but just before I went back to Stanford I could make a few shots and added together with photoshop it looks like real. And I realize now that many (commercial touristic) shots of whales nearby a beach are manipulated ….. Best is to go with one of those whale watching boats and a telelens mounted on your camera to obtain a nice close-up.

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Images in one impression

Remember me going to the Graduation Ceremony of the pre-primary school in a nearby location (township) in South Africa? Well here is what I distilled from the few hundred pictures I made. It’s about children and the joy people have despite severe poverty. And also about a community leader as one of the many who made it all possible. There is not much written history about the different tribes in South Africa and certainly not much from books is known to people in communities like this. But they inherited a story-telling culture and history flows in one or another way from generation to generation. Not the history of facts but a history of ancestry and spirituality. Due to influences of modern times the cultural heritage is threatened with ‘uprooting’ leaving people without knowledge about their cultural background and without hope, without future….

A Sunday afternoon on the beach

For tourists having road trips in South Africa we always say that the ‘real South Africa begins >100 kilometers beyond Cape Town’. Not that the Mother City does not offer something but it has become too much of a tourist trap. And so is Hermanus in a way but at the outskirts of Hermanus in the direction of our village Stanford there is Grotto Beach. Not many tourists (from abroad) over there but merely locals. Not an over crowded beach but a beach with space and ideal for a long beach walk (or a short one of you prefer). Yesterday I made a long walk with Yvonne and our friend Beatrice Pooke (she is an incredible good ‘holistic masseuse’). We started along the lagoon (somewhere between Stanford and Hermanus) and hiked all the way to the beach restaurant ‘Dutchies’ for a Dutch ‘kroket’ and back again. Some of the pictures are ‘imaginaries’ (I shuffled a bit with photoshop) and others are ‘as is’. See for yourself.

Some elements

For decoration of pictures I started  a library with ‘elements’ and one with ‘mainframes’. Some of these elements and mainframes are in this composition and regular readers of this blog might recognize quite a few of them. Others still have to find a way into an imaginary. Virtually all are from our village (Stanford, South Africa) and a few are sourced from our road trips. Two or three of the elements are shot with a Sony Snapshooter (Cybershot 7.2) but for the rest all with the camera-equipment as listed in the page ‘My Gear’.

Matjiesfontein in one portrait of a village

Remember our recent road trip off the beaten track  (‘the real South Africa journey begins >100 km beyond Cape Town’). One of the places we (me and Yvonne) visited was Matjiesfontein and the most valuable memories we’ve composed in one portrait of a village. Most impressive for us were the wind pump and the entertaining family on the station. But also local guide Geert Jan Teunissen on the piano in the local pub is in our hearts. Matjiesfontein is a museum village build, in the 1880-thies around a train station along the railway that connects Cape Town with Pretoria. The present owner has conserved the village and surrounding farms to the way it was a 100 years ago. All pictures taken and processed with the equipment as described in the ‘gear-page’ of this blog.