Friday, July 8, 2011

Great Escape!

Endless views as seen on a day trip we enjoyed yesterday (7/7/2011)
Regular visitors to Driftwood Ramblings will know how much I enjoy any occasion when I'm able to accompany my husband on his field trips. Yesterday was one of those occasions, made possible through the kindness of our daughter, who came home to puppysit so I was able to escape for the day.

We left bright and early on what dawned as a perfectly clear and crisp winter's day. Our destination was Lambert's Bay, a little fishing village up the West Coast of South Africa and a 4.5 hour trip from home. We always avoid the nasty direct routes and choose the byways. If possible, we also return home via an alternative route, to make the trip that much more interesting and pleasurable. Yesterday was no exception although it did mean that we only arrived back home well after dark and we prefer not to have to travel after nightfall.  No matter, we had a most enjoyable day and succeeded in squeezing in a few spontaneous photo opportunities. Between us, we took in excess of 150 pictures, although quite a few of those were directly related to the site visit and so I'll not be including those here.

I, of course, invariably manage to sneak off on my own a bit to do my own investigations whilst my husband is busy with his own plotting, planning and sample collection where required, but yesterday I was numero uno driver once we reached our designated site.  There were 19 individual points to be investigated and it made more sense for me to remain in the driver's seat so we were able to move to the next point of reference on completion of each of the preceding ones. This ensured ease of operation and greater efficiency of time usage and, if I may say so myself, worked well and in our favour allowing for a bit of dawdling on the homeward run.

To continue this post, please click the Read more button below...

Our first stop was for a late breakfast, as we'd only had a quick cup of coffee before leaving home. I was intrigued by the little 'coal shuttle' replica used at the delightful coffee shop, for storing wood, beside the fireplace where we were seated and had to get a picture while waiting for our order to arrive.

For those of you who expressed surprise that we get snow 'in Africa', I simply had to take this picture as proof that, indeed, we do! The mountains are very much in the distance, but there is a light crusting of snow on the peaks in my picture. We get a great deal more than this when we have our sudden cold snaps!

My husband drove there, as I tend to want to amble along and we had a deadline to meet, so I amused myself taking pictures from the passenger seat...

I'll allow the passing scenery to do the talking for the next few pictures...

We did stop now and then to get a get a couple of stationary photographs en route.

As we were working in Lambert's Bay, historically, a little fishing village, we simply had to buy fresh fish and chips for our lunch, which we ate overlooking the sea.

I was intrigued by the lovely wall mural above the open fireplace in the little restaurant where we'd ordered our lunch (as a takeaway option) and took a few photographs to share with you...

This was so beautifully executed, it really succeeded in 'tricking my eye!' The French call this type of mural art trompe-l'oeil, which of course means, "to deceive the eye"

This proved a delightful distraction while I was waiting for our order to be processed.

A perfect scene to enjoy whilst eating our lunch! Sadly, the once-thriving fishing industry collapsed in Lambert's Bay, due to overfishing and many people who were reliant on work at the large factory, are now unemployed. Our government has built several hundred RDP (redevelopment programme) houses to assist the poorest of the poor and a number of other social action programmes have and are being implemented to restore the lives of the townsfolk, whose existence depended solely on the fishing industry in this little village.

This was taken on our way back home once we'd completed the task in hand. We'd decided to return home via the coastal route, very scenic, but on quite a rutted gravel road. We were grateful for our 4x4. I would not have been happy to drive a sedan along that road.

We stopped at several spots on our way home, well knowing it would mean getting back after dark, but we wanted to make the best of the opportunity to get the most from our day's travel.

Salt marsh vegetation and algae in this blind rivermouth create a painterly landscape...

The gravel road turns inland after many kilometres of running parallel to the coastline.  Although sad to bid farewell to the seaviews, we were in for as much of a treat on the inland part of our trip. We spotted several ruins, which we stopped to photograph and we also went slightly off-route in order to briefly explore a quaint little village called Redelinghuys, which proved to have been well-worthwhile adding on the extra time it took us to do so...

Those of you who have been following my blog for some time will need no introduction to my fascination with you will see, we had a marvellous time playing amongst these with our respective cameras!

Collapsed roof-beams posing spontaneously as a sculptural work of art.

Part of the fascination of ruins for me, personally, is viewing the world beyond from the crumbling windows...

Everything looks so green and lush...we had to traipse through shin-high grasses to reach these crumbling structures of old.

A little self-seeded bonsai adorns the top of this wall...

Whilst mosses grace the top of this one!

I could not resist capturing this quaint scene as we drove past on our way to Redelinghuys...
Street-side view of this enchanting Redelinghuys homestead! On first impressions, you aren't sure of what you've seen.  In our case, we did a U-Turn to come and have a very much closer look and, as it happened, to take plenty of pictures!

This is right out of the pages of a fairytale book!

I was totally captivated by the artistic flair of this muralist's work. If I'm ever in Redelinghuys again and have time, I'm determined to knock on this homeowner's door and ask if I could spend a moment chatting in order to find out who's behind such creativity! And to say THANK YOU for sharing all of this beauty with passersby!

I love the creative fencing used here. It screens a very pretty garden to which I would have loved to gain access!

This is the sidewall of a garage facing the street!

This house is up for sale. Anyone wanting to move to Redelinghuys for a quiet life? I'd already decided that, were I ever the new owner, I'd commission the artist down the road to add some magic to my walls too!

Yes, we went back AGAIN to view the enchanted house once more...who wouldn't have wanted to do so, again and again? This was absolutely one of THE highlights for me of our Great Escape, yesterday! I just have to share more with you...

The sunflowers and stonework aren't real...the little wooded poles and kerosene lamp are!

The owl on the perch is a clay model. The owl on the windowsill is painted, as is the window and this owl has left a mess on the wall, unlike the doves ;)

The doorway and cat aren't real...the broom is. The stonework is painted!

The porthold window is real...the cracks and chipped plaster aren't!

I had to zoom in to prove to myself these weren't real!

The loft door is real. The one below is not.

Sideview of the workshop.

This appeared to be the workshop. The open door is real as are the implements hanging on the wall to the left.

These doves live above the garage door...but they never make a mess ;)

The old bridle hanging on the wall is real!

From here on, a selection of pictures my husband took...I aspire to being able to compose pictures as well as I think he does!

Our trusty bakkie takes us wherever we want to go.

This old car hasn't been anywhere in a long time!

This kingfisher was actively observing the water below the telephone wires as were were driving past...

And that concludes this post :)


  1. Hi Desiree, This post had more than its share of sweeping vitas and beautiful clear blue skies. Some of those views were just breathtaking!! I love seeing the ruins so artfully photographed and the trompe 'oeil paintings. the donkey was my favorite. Have a great weekend!!

  2. Hola Desiree, this has been a great trip to a wonderful place, you have found so many interesting things to share with us, loved the ruins and that artistic house on your way and it would be so interesting knocking on their door!!
    You mentioned some snow over there, and it seems to be strange for that part of the world. Here in the north part of chile where most desert is it has been snowing too and raining which is very strange for this part of the world.
    Sending you lots of hugs

  3. Wow...what a gorgeous post..full of such epic sceneries and amazing places..wonderful! What a wonderful way to end it..with a gorgeous Kingfisher...awesome!

  4. Love those ruins and the paintings - WOW!

  5. Desiree- The beauty of Africa astounds me every time you take us somewhere! I am in awe! I always thought that Africa was a beautiful country but you bring it to life for us and make it so real. I love the way you see the art in the landscapes and the ruins. And I appreciate so very much that you share these trips with us! Gorgeous! Stunningly so!

  6. I simply adore your photos and the writing is also great!

  7. Every time you do a blog post where you share a trip with your husband, it makes me want to visit South Africa to see it all for myself. Such a beautiful country! I loved the pictures o the ruins, both the ones you took and the ones your husband took. And the trompe l'oeil paintings are such a treat, especially when they are paired with real three-dimensional artifacts. That is really clever.

  8. What a glorious post this is!

    Those huge South African vistas, I do think you live in one of the world's very most beautiful countries. I long to visit again after more than 20 years. Your blog keeps re-igniting that desire to see it all for myself again!

    Kingfishers are my favourite birds, yours look much bigger than ours and sport a fluffier hairdo! xx

  9. Hi there Desiree. Wonderful photos, and how lucky were you to go on that field trip with your husband. I can't get over just how blue the skies are in all the photos, even though it is winter over there. And some of the cloud formations are really beautiful. I love the look of Lamberts Bay, as I so love the sea. Another wonderful trip you've taken us on there - thank you my friend.

  10. Hi Desiree, what a nostalgic trip for me to revisit Lamberts Bay through your blog today. Thanks! I loved the mural above the fireplace in the restaurant, and I LOVE the artwork on the house in Redelinghuys. You and your husband are excellent at photography. I enjoyed every ruin and wooden "sculpture"! Thanks for sharing, dear Desiree. Wrap up warmly against that snow! Blessings, Jo

  11. That artist is amazing! Some of these pictures remind me a bit of parts of Europe and it made me homesick. Stunning pictures and thank you for sharing them. In one towards the beg I see some figures around the white house but as I am blind I'm wondering if those are animals, clothes or people? Help me out a bit?

  12. I agree with you, the artist's housewalls are very attractive. Hard to tell reality from imagination.

    A wonderful day trip, I wish I could have joined you.

  13. What a fun day that was! I love all of the photos, both of real things, and the real looking ones!

    As I was looking at the first ones, I was thinking how I'd never guess they were taken in Africa.

    Thanks for your nice comments on my posts.

  14. You and yoiur husband are both wonderful photographers. I really enjoyed this tour -- I like learning more about your beautiful country!

  15. Desiree how do I tell you how much I loved these photos they are so breathtaking and fasantiing, I loved all of them but have to say that the one of the mural at the restaurant was my favorite it is just so wonderful. How lucky you where to be able to see all these amazing places in person.....

  16. Wow, South Africa is really beautiful and your photos are so original, great post!

  17. Great to take that trip with you!
    The ruins make me wish to invent lives, stories to go with them. Over here the ghost towns are always of wood, so they eventually just rot into the ground, leaving just doorstep and the old lilac beside.

  18. What a fabulous day you both shared!
    All under a beautiful clear blue sky for the first part too.
    Lambert Bay and surrounds was lovely to view as well.
    Such a happy circumstance coming upon that clever and talented artist who has transformed his/her home with such delightful paintings. I definitely thought those flowers in the blue planter on the wall were real! The owl is so lovely too - they all are.
    Desireee, I'd like to comment on your remark that you'd like to be able to compose photos as well as your husband. With respect, I feel you both have quite distinct styles. Your photographs are quite emotive and you husbands' are from a perspective and architectural viewpoint. You complement each other and all of us benefit from such a great team :D)
    Thank you for another great trip in your beautiful country.
    I bet you both slept well that night. Cheers!

  19. Hi Des, to say that I liked this post would be so inadequate. I was having so much fun looking at the wonderful scenes and trying to figure out which things I was views were real or painted. You gave us quite a show and I want you to know that for the first time in my 64 years of not knowing about South Africa, I love South Africa because of you. Your land is majestic and beautiful and I am so blessed to have seen it through your lens. Thank you my friend.

  20. This was a nice treat to wake up to- 'traveling' to South Africa. Beautiful photos, as usual. I am fascinated by the murals on the houses. I was fooled by the broken plaster and bricks.

  21. I have to admit that I had a hard time deciding what was my favorite part of this trip because i DO love ruins so. I like to sit among them and wonder about the kind of life the people who once lived there must have had.

    However, that magical building in Redelinghuys has to be my favorite. I wish I could paint like that. Look what that person's imagination and artistry did to a building which was actually a very dull and common.

    You do have to go back and tell them that their place has charmed all your readers.

    And, thanks for the fantastic trip.......kt

  22. You must have really enjoyed yourself on this trip. The scenery is lovely, especially on the coastline.

    I can understand your fascination with ruins. It's interesting to see how nature has reclaimed that place and imagining how people must have lived back then. Time is such a strange thing.

    The murals are fantastic! I could have sworn the flowers, window and everything else were real. I love the scenery illusions on the walls. I'd love something like that for my own house too.

    Oh, my mom said she also visited your blog and really likes it too.

  23. My jaw is coming back from being held agape at your lovely pictures. I definitely felt the history in those ruins but also wondered why something that looks like tinsel is piled next to the cheese in that restaurant mural. Thanks for showing me a part of the world I knew very little about.

  24. Desiree Your photos take my breath away you live in such a beautiful country. I love reading about your adventures, your husband and you have so much fun. It is great you have the same desires of adventure. B

  25. Such incredibly beautiful country you visited here! I really like your photographic eye - many of these pictures are works of art. Thanks so much for sharing your amazing day.

  26. Wow, they really go in for the trompe-l'oeil, in this area! How charming to see artwork on the humblest of buildings... that is a nice part of human nature, the desire to make things beautiful. I thought of you this weekend at a book signing, I met two lovely ladies from South Africa with the most beautiful accents. I couldn't quite place the accent and guessed Australian, but they set me straight right away! They also purchased books to take home. So now, my books are in your country, yeah!

  27. You never disappoint always, I sit and stare for ages at your photographs and imagine myself there. Fabulous!
    I have only just got back and I am a bit late to say it but huge congratulations on winning Lavi's prize. (I am definitely going to buy her book.)
    Just going to check July 3rd post now...I hate being away and missing out...
    Glad you got some time away from the little woofer!

  28. Another interesting trip. Some of those amazing vistas made me think: 'from here to eternity...'

  29. Desiree, reading your blog is like taking a mini-vacation, what awesome pix! Really a great diversion, thanks so much, loved it.

  30. I. Want. To. Go. To. South. Africa. Period. How amazingly beautiful. My husband once went to Madagascar for a business trip and met a traveling companion who was from South Africa. What an incredible place to live. Have you lived there all your life? P.S. you leave the nicest comments. I'm thrilled to have you as a friend.


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