07 November 2007

getting to our routes - from the Garden Route to Route 62

Ya wanna know what? There's nothing better than waking up with your eye glued shut with yellow, crusty pus. Let me tell ya... and once you chisel that layer of pus away, out oozes more yellow, gooey pus. Isn't that just peachy?

Dammit, where did this eye infection come from? All the sand from yesterday? Dodgy pillowcases? Hmm... this is not good...

The Jeffreys Bay Backpackers didn't serve breakfast so we had to go and find a café to get something. I was feeling rather miserable, so I didn't even write down the name of the place where we had breakfast. The meal was called "Biker's Breakfast" though (maybe someone will recognize the place based on the name?) – eggs and bacon and toast and probably other things I don't remember because I was too out of it and didn't write it down. I'm also a bit peeved that I didn't write much down, as the owner or manager (I think) of the place told me where I could go to deal with the eye. I was whining about it, and he was really nice and all like “oh, go to this pharmacy, it's just around the corner, ask for S., he'll take care of you!” So we went to that pharmacy, found S., and he gave (well, sold (for 20 Rand)) me a little tube of ointment and everything was hunky dory. Wheee! I had to use it three times a day for the next few days, but once I started using it, everything got so much better!

We were now on our way to Oudtshoorn (a main stop along Route 62). This was an action-packed journey. Some of the highlights along the way (along the Garden Route):

Stormsrivier/Storms River. It's easy to see why this place is one of the most highly recommended stops along the Garden Route. We had a walk over the bridge, and took pictures of the breathtaking scenery.

We also had lunch at Rafter's Restaurant – ostrich bobotie, washed down with mango juice. It was delicious! Bobotie rules! Everyone should eat bobotie – for breakfast, lunch, and dinner! We also got to see part of the village, with it's funky colorful buildings...

Bloukrans Bridge. This bridge offers the world's highest commercially operated bungee jump. No, I didn't jump ;-) I would have considered it had it not been for the darn eye...

Birds of Eden. Birds of Eden is the largest free-flight bird aviary in the world. It is full of plants and trees and lots of other good places for the birds to hide. You know they're there, even though you don't see them. You can feel their little beady eyes piercing right through you. Good stuff... :-)

I kind of feel bad about making boyfriend of feitpingvin come here, as our visit here gave us too little time to go to the elephant park next door (if we were to make it to The Heads). I had seen lots of birds already and we visited a bird park last year... and he has never interacted with elephants. Next time I guess... :-/

The Heads at Knysna. The views are breathtaking! They even have a webcam


We arrived at Backpacker's Paradise in Oudtshoorn early evening. It's quite a big place – the common room and dining area are huge, and it looks like there are a lot of rooms in general. Our en-suite room was big and cosy-looking. It's supposedly one of the best backpackers' in all of South Africa. I must say that I agree with this!

We ate dinner at Jemima's Restaurant; this place was recommended by a trusted someone on the Lonely Planet message boards (hey, thanks!). We didn't order a starter, but we were given a starter/amuse bouche anyway – spinach, mushrooms, and feta in phyllo pastry along with sourdough bread and a sun-dried tomato pesto. This was delicious!

spinach, mushrooms, and feta in phyllo

My main course was the “tandem” - a steak duo. My duo was of ostrich and springbok, prepared medium rare. This was served with an amazing port- and cranberry sauce. And “parmesan potatoes.”

"tandem" of ostrich and springbok

Boyfriend of feitpingvin ordered grilled Karoo lamb. This was served with a puff pastry “pot” (with a lid and everything) filled with leg of lamb. He also got a portion of “parmesan potatoes.”

grilled karoo lamb

Our meals were simple, but very delicious. It was just what we wanted. The meat melted in our mouths...mmmm. South African meat, especially the game, is just wonderful.

The wine we chose to quaff with our meal was out of this world:
Kango Winery Cabernet sauvignon/Merlot/Shiraz 2006. Local wine!
color: it was too dark to see
nose: prunes, raisins, alcohol
palate: anise, cloves, cranberries, apricot and raspberry finish. It's very “different” and difficult to characterize. It's a great all-around wine for pairing with food (especially red meat) as well as drinking on its own.
grade: :-D

I managed to stir some interest, as I was feverishly writing notes at the table and taking photos of the food. First, there was a Danish woman who asked (in Danish; boyfriend of feitpingvin had asked her earlier, in Norwegian, if she was Danish) if I was a food journalist. And then the couple who were at the table next to us asked the same thing. I just told them I was a silly amateur who likes to write silly things and post silly photos in her travel blog... ;-)

Getting paid to travel around South Africa and the rest of the world to write about food and wine would be a really cool job though! :-D

We chatted with the couple for a little while; they were on their honeymoon. She is a wine buyer/sommelier in Scotland. She said that she loved South African wines and that there were so many fantastic wines available. The problem was that they were inexpensive. Too inexpensive. Such that even with the markup in say, a restaurant, people always associated low price with bad quality wine. This shows that many people who go and buy wine don't know shit about what they're buying and drinking, but what can one really do to resolve this problem?

1 comment:

Backpacking South Africa said...

Such an informative write up, I love the garden route and surrounds, its a place I'd love to back to. When we stayed in Jeffreys Bay, we stayed in a place called Hard Rock Backpackers, it was such tidy and fun place, I'd recommend it to any traveller, http://www.hardrockbackpackers.co.za