July 28, 2011
Josh and I originally planned on driving the Garden Route along the coast, but when we looked at the map, we discovered that this would lead to lots of driving-time and not as much exploring-time. So we decided to instead drive the Overberg Route and then head up to Outdshoorn. That's the nice thing about not having a flexible traveling buddy. Hooray for making things up as you go along!
Our adventure seamlessly transitioned to a road trip, with car snacks, music, deep conversation, and contemplative silence. The farmlands were green and vast and rolling, and the sun and the rain clouds made beautiful moving shadow art from the valleys to the hills to the snow-capped mountains. It was stunning, and our drive was punctuated by many "Oooh! Look!" exclamations.
We knew the ocean lay somewhere off to the right, and so we eventually turned onto a local route to get down to the water. About 5k down the road, we spotted a little sign that said "Kasselshoop Cheese Factory," and we happily turned onto a dirt road which meandered through the fynbos. After about 1,376 potholes, we came across a small barn and sleepy farmhouse. With no cars parked out front and the farmhouse door decidedly closed, we approached hesitantly and saw a small sign which read, "open, come on in." So we parked, and we did, and inside the door was seated a very round white woman who welcomed us to the Kasselshoop Cheese Shop. It was like she was waiting for us. Odd, but interesting. A black cat rubbed against the whitewashed walls, and we followed it into a small room with a cooler of homemade cheeses and wine. Josh was in heaven. "Would you like to have a taste?" the round woman asked. Nodding eagerly, we were spontaneously fetched by a slim, friendly black man, who led us into another tiny room (wooden floors, whitewashed walls, exposed beams). We sat down at an old table, sampled a variety of cheeses (all of them delicious), and marveled at how funny it was to find a European cheese shop on a small farm in Africa. This country never ceases to amaze me.
We left with several cheeses and a bottle of wine and proceeded on to the coast, stumbling on the somewhat bland town of Steelbaai. Nothing of particular note happened on this part of our journey apart from a truly ridiculous interaction with an Afrikaaner local. For several days, Josh and I have been poking fun at the language, with its many vowels, K's and F's And so, upon our departure from a little market, I pointed to a paper sign that read something like "Oom oof kloof kloff, klopf kom floof oom koopf om klom."
"Oh, look!" I said to Josh. "An oop kloof!" The proprietor (I swear he was out of earshot) heard my excitement at the prospect of an oop kloof, and came out to meet us. "Sure,"'he said. "That's my property. You interested?" I said yes, because, really, who wouldn't be interested in an oop kloof?! "Right," he said. "It's a little two-bedroom place over there across the river. Two bathrooms and a deck and a garden. 3500 Rand." I looked to Josh, who stared blankly back at me, so there was nothing to do but take the man's phone number. Back in the car, we talked about the possibility of having an oop kloof of our very own, but then decided to forgo the truly magnificent opportunity in favor of continuing on our journey. So we drove out of Steelbaai, back to the main road, and drove up into the mountains and on to Outdshoorn.