27 October 2007

I love the singing of birds early in the morning...

Howick to Sani Pass, 22/09-2007
Ooooops, forgot to post the tasting notes for the wine we had the evening of the 21st so here goes:

Five's Reserve Pinotage 2005 (With the “big five” on the label, purchased in Kruger National Park! Produced by Van Loveren in Robertson.)
color: deep violet
nose: strawberries (I was the only one who got this), tobacco, prunes, some herbs
palate: powerful and full-bodied, pleasant tannins. Flavor of vanilla, blackberries, red apple peel (says boyfriend of feitpingvin), spices, pepper, hint of chili. “Snippy” at the end. Will go well with meat dishes, but also ok alone.
Grade: :-)

OK, now we can continue...

We planned on getting up early to enjoy the sunrise and the birds and stuff. Did you know that you could order a wake-up call for 5 a.m? Isn't that great? What service! What we didn't realize was that there were other orders for wake-up calls before ours. The roosters started around 3:45 a.m, and the hadeda ibises, not wanting to be outdone, started screeching around 4 a.m. The songbirds followed shortly after... pip pip pip... chirp chirp chirp... very sweet...

hadeda ibis (Bostrychia hagedash)
hadeda ibis - the official alarm clock of South Africa

So I was already more or less awake at 5, so I got out of bed, threw on yesterday's clothes, and made some coffee. Then I went out to walk the grounds of the farm and look at the birds; boyfriend of feitpingvin joined me shortly after. And I was far from disappointed in the amount of birds I saw, but the darn things just wouldn't stay still to be photographed ;-)

We told our hostess we would have breakfast at 7:30, so around 7 we went back to our apartment to shower and get dressed in fresh clothes. Breakfast was pre-ordered the night before; we were given a sheet with breakfast options that we were supposed to check off. We thought that we could only choose one of the many options; we ordered oatmeal with apples and yoghurt, and I had requested one soft-boiled egg in addition, if it were possible, so that I could get some protein...

It turned out that we could order everything on the breakfast menu if we really wanted to. So we had our tasty oatmeal (I loved the combination of oatmeal, shredded apples, and yoghurt. This is something I'm going to do at home!), plus soft-boiled eggs with "soldiers" in addition. We didn't know what soldiers were, and a couple of elderly English guests were snickering at us :-) We laughed when we got our plate...

It was a really nice breakfast, and a good break from all that bacon and sausages. Yes, I was starting to get sick of bacon. I didn't think that was possible. Don't worry, I'm over it now. Mmmmm, bacon ;-)

After breakfast, we first headed in the opposite direction to where we were going next (Sani Lodge Backpackers) but we wanted to find a local winery. After an hour of driving we still didn't find it, so we stopped at a farm stall instead and bought some proper ginger beer. It had been ages since I had that. It was made of ginger, sugar, lemon, and water. Nothing else. You don't need anything else. Most certainly not any ingredients that require a degree in chemistry to understand. I wish more people and companies would get that *sigh* I'm going to have to try making it here at home. It shouldn't be too difficult...

We eventually took the R617 to Sani Pass. It started out kind of boring but got really nice in the end. The very last part of the journey was on a dusty, unpaved road...

We arrived at Sani Lodge Backpackers just before 2 pm. I noted the time as we were hoping to catch a rugby match, but Sani Lodge didn't have a TV anyway, and if we wanted to go to a pub, we'd have to drive back to the nearest town and that would take a while. Sani Lodge is a sort of "middle of nowhere" place, and very simple – the rooms are very basic but suitable for the environment and (for the most part) the kind of people who typically go there in the first place. It's not a bad place though; it's brilliant if you want to get away from it all. They have a café there (Giant Cup's Café), so we went there for lunch. We had smoked trout with mustard sauce (I pushed that aside as mustard makes me sick for some reason), pickles, and wholegrain bread. It was delicious. I washed it down with milk that comes from Jersey cows farmed in the area. Very nice.

smoked trout

After lunch, we hiked on a trail in the area. There were a few birds and some very nice orange flowers, and the scenery was lovely. Absolutely lovely. I would love to go back to the area and do a much longer hike. They have a set of trails where you can hike from cabin to cabin over a period of several days, kind of like what they have here in Norway. That would be so cool. They really should market that to Norwegians; they would really go for that!

orange flower

We had booked dinner at the backpackers' and it was served at the café. It was simple but worked for us – chicken, rice, and vegetables.

We read a little bit after dinner, and then went to bed at 21:00. On a Saturday night. Hah!

(We also got up at 5 the next morning. Voluntarily :)

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