We packed up and left White River on November 24th, complete with Vixie the Wire Fox Terrier and Tosca the Burmese cat. We drove the four hour trip to Johannesburg and delivered our furry family to Russ's Brother David's Veterinary hospital, before continuing to our "executive penthouse" at the Westpoint Executive Suites in Sandton.
Four days in Johannesburg sped by, and on Friday we left Joburg on the long trip to Simon's Town, via Bethulie and George.
BethulieWe arrived at the Royal Hotel, where we had stayed in July, and were met by Anthony Hocking, owner and hotelier. We were the only guests that night, no tour parties being expected.
|Royal Hotel before 7am.|
The rooms may be sparsely decorated, but they are extremely comfortable, with excellent beds. I like the fact that they are large and airy. The hotel itself is most unusual....but lots has been written about that! Books books books and vinyl vinyl vinyl....wonderful.
Anthony took us up to the old station, which is an historic old station that was used by the British army during the Boer War to bring horses, supplies and men in and out, and to bring in Boer women and children to be incarcerated in the local concentration camp. This camp turned out to be the worst one of the war, for sickness and death.
Anthony had given us a tour of Bethulie when we were there in July (at which time it was freezing cold, and the water pipes did indeed freeze solid). We were now getting an add-on tour and history lesson, because Tony is an expert on the Boer War. He intends writing a history of the war from the Boer perspective, and emphasising the Free State "gutsier war". Get to it, Tony!
|The roof had blown off one of the station buildings during a violent storm the previous week, so workmen were busy fixing the damage.|
The old station is in very poor repair. In fact, most of the small town is in bad repair, and most people cannot afford to keep up their maintenance. Anthony would love to restore the station and turn it into something useful like a getaway for artists.....
|Part of the old station.|
|Playing with passion.|
|It was a wonderful, and private treat for us....and in the little, sleepy town of Bethulie!|
After a night in George, where we saw Stephen Charles and Thelani and both their children at James' house, we carried on to Simon's Town.