Struisbaai Day 6 – Elim and Cyclists

That blister on my foot really made me feel precious this morning so I decided to have a rest day.   I just couldn’t face putting on takkies and running through burn.  We headed for the beach at 8 and enjoyed a delicious swim and surf with our body boards.  It was the start of a glorious day.  On our way back to the house Earl caught sight of this cute little crowned lapwing chick.  It’s parents did their best to attract our attention away from him to them but we only wanted to take his portrait.

Leave my chick alone please

Leave my chick alone please

Aren't I cute

Aren’t I cute

We had an ”Early” breakfast of scrambled eggs – not my my normal one egg scramble with a swallow of juice before dashing off to school – no this was gourmet with bits of bacon, mushroom, tomato and ‘stinky’ cheese thrown in – to die for doll.   Then we went to Agulhas to drop off our laundry.

On our return from the laundry we saw signs saying ‘Mark’ with arrows pointing you in the right direction.  Lollz and I had seen them on the weekend and she’d said, “Who’s Mark?”   Ha ha – very funny – Mark is Afrikaans for Market!  We were tempted but didn’t get round to following the arrows but today Earl and I decided to check it out.  We found a beautifully laid out market in the Diensentrum and all sorts of interesting things were on offer.  Earl bought me a necklace and we gathered some delicacies like mixed nuts and seeds, nougat, biltong etc.  Then we stopped off at the regular market on the field in front of the shopping centre and got some mielies.

009 Mark

Lovely Stuff

010 Mark

A place to do your Christmas Shopping

012 Struis Market

Every South African needs this stuff

013 Mielies

Mielies going cheap

The day stretched out ahead of us and we decided to take a slow trip via Napier to Elim so that we could do a spot of bird watching.  I was also keen on seeing the museum at Elim and finding out a bit more of the history of this little mission town.

A Jackal Buzzard posed for us

A Jackal Buzzard posed for us

A shy steenbok stopped to say hi

A shy steenbok stopped to say hi

The town of Elim nestled in a water rich valley

The town of Elim nestled in a water rich valley

When we entered the village I was intrigued by an old shop.  A group of cyclists were outside having stopped to get a drink and we asked if it would be okay to photograph them – they happily obliged.

The Cafe

The Cyclists

We took a photograph of a particularly attractive house with a pretty front garden.

Typical Elim House

Typical Elim House

We then went to the information centre and were taken on a brief tour of the museum.  The curator expounded on the history of the town all of which was quite fascinating and informative.  ‘When I got home I googled Elim which gave the same information quite concisely so I’ve quoted it below.

022 Museum

Stuff used in the olden day shops

023 Museum

An old kitchen which we were told has not changed much in the present day homes

025 Museum

Earl being quite old remembers using a water sharpener like this

026 Museum

He also remembers his grandparents having an ice box like this.

Elim is a village on the Agulhas Plain in the Western Cape of South Africa. It was established in 1824 by German missionaries as a Moravian mission station. When selecting the location, the missionaries placed a high priority on the proximity of water and on terrain that was suitable for planting vines so that wine for communion could be produced. As well as preaching the Gospel, the missionaries taught the villagers a variety of trades and skills. Elim’s thatchers continue to be renowned for their craftsmanship.

The village is picturesque and has changed little over the years. It is filled with whitewashed cottagesfruit trees and fynbos. All the roads in the village lead to the thatch roofed church. The community, still mainly Moravian, consists of farmers, farm workers and artisans.

Elim is becoming known for the export of fynbos, and as an emerging area in the production of wine.

After our visit to the museum we found the six young cyclists sitting on the lawn near the coffee shop having a watermelon wallow.   I just had to chat to them.   They had begun their cycle from Somerset West  on Saturday and were heading for Stilbaai where one of the young men’s parents are holidaying.   Each day is only roughly planned and sometimes they battle to find a place to camp.  They told us they were heading for Struisbaai where they intended spending the night at the Caravan Park.  They’d already ridden from Gansbaai and they looked exhausted!  They were really charming young people so I thought – no – these guys need a break.  Änd so we invited them to spend the night in our bunk room!  They were over the moon and accepted with alacrity.

A refreshing water melon wallow

A refreshing water melon wallow

On our way home we had more luck with bird watching.

031 Spoonbill

A Spoonbill fished in ditch next to the dirt road

032 White-faced ducks

Not often that we see white-faced ducks

033 Bokmakierie

Bokmakierie was not very obliging

We also came across a shepherd herding sheep with his dog034 Sheep

Back home we prepared for our guests.  Earl decided to braai one of the yellow-tail caught yesterday.  I made the salads and vegetables and got the table ready, checked the beds and bathroom were okay and at 6:30 ish our weary travellers arrived

035 Cyclists 036 Total of 94kmAfter a coke I took them down to the beach for a swim

037 After a swim

The vet, viets, vriende

038 Showerin

Katie and Marianda rinsing off the salt water

They were delighted with our super long beach with its white sand and warm sea.

Chatting to them later we discovered that Francois and Marianda were married. The girls and one of the guys had never done a long cycle in their lives before.  Tim and Katie were English speaking and that the six had met at university.   Marianda is studying teaching, Katie is about to launch her career as a dietician, one of the boys is going on to do honours in marketing, Francois is already working and I can’t quite remember the other details!  Their names are Marianda, Francois, Katie, Tim, Nico and Riaan.   I will tell you more tomorrow.

What I can tell you is that they are all delightful young people.  Today they cycled a total of 94km.  They were stiff and sore but full of the joy of what they had done.   The boys were super impressed that the girls kept up so well and told them so.   They couldn’t thank us enough for treating them to braaied yellowtail, vegetables, sweet potatoes and salad.  Dessert was very simple – canned fruit and ice cream but they thought is was a fantastic treat. After dinner they insisted on washing up.  Their parents can be very proud of them – for having this adventure during their vacation and for being being superbly polite and thoroughly pleasant young people.

Tomorrow they are going to spend the day with us.  More on that later!

To be continued.

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