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Bits and bobs about my life in my lovely home, Thatchwick Cottage, Pretoria, South Africa.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Saturday, 25 April: Visiting Rosendal


Who needs city streets, bling boutiques, glitzy malls, cell phones and traffic jams?

The newly harvested maize fields where horses and cattle graze, evergreen willows and rust-gold plane trees, the strange shapes of the striped sandstone cliffs of the Witteberg and the Maluti's, veld flowers interwined with grass in seed, blue skies and the long tarred road with an occasional truck or car, frequently outside the range of a cell phone signal made my short visit to the Eastern Free State a perfect holiday.
Our first stop was the little farming village of Rosendal about a two hour drive from Bloemfontein or a three hour drive (and light years) from the frenzy of Johannesburg. I visited this little town about ten years ago on a similar trip and it appeared quietly neglected. Now Rosendal is part of the rural renewal taking place across denuded country dorpies (hamlets), villages and small towns as city wearied artists, potters, weavers, enthusiatic dealers in antiques, country junk and local wares revive the old settlements.Rosendal may have only one tarred road but it has a little theater where well-knowns come to perform. Rosendal's streets are dusty; its permanent population is under fifty souls, according to a mosaic craftswoman and weaver.

The Old Trading Store(Die Ou Handelshuis)is choc-a-bloc with antiques, memorabilia, yesteryear evening dresses, crockery and glassware.
Next door is the Meerkatkolonie Art Gallery (The Mongoose Colony) where soft stocking sculptures recline on an old bench.
Michelle Nigrini, artist, also presents creative weekends at the local hotel. Dahla Hulme creates functional art, furniture and sculptures using old farming implements, animal skulls and bones.

Rosendal can be roughly translated: Dale of roses. The prolific garden, planted English country style, at The Rosendale Country Lodge based in a restored and converted cheese factory contrasts with the open veld.
We didn't stay to taste the famed baked cheese cake on the Lodge's verandah. Next time!
The town's orginal cottages are built of honey-coloured sandstone



The climate is severe in winter with frost and frequent snowfalls so one needs mittens especially these which look good enough to eat.

Turksvy (Prickly Pear) Trading store is a vintage store packed to the ceiling with bottled fruit, jams, soft print cottons,homemade soaps and antiques.

Suzani's right next door has a most impressive dislay of old enamelware and ironware.

Next stop, next week, country churches...

19 comments:

Poetikat said...

Hi Eleanor! I think many of us here in North America, at least, have an idea of Africa as being a dry, dusty land with only a few trees and lots of wild animals just roaming around. It's always amazing to see just how lush some parts are and how gorgeous!
That trading post store would have me captivated for hours, I'm sure. Look forward to your churches post.

Kat

Vicki Lane said...

What a nice little trip! I love learning more about your world and Rosendal sounds and looks like such a pleasant place -- not unlike some of our little towns here in North Carolina that are being changed by an infusion of artists and craftsmen. Thanks for taking us along!

TheWritersPorch said...

Eleanor....that was a wonderful tour! I want to come visit you so we can GO there!Thank you sweetie for sharing that with us!
Love,
Carol

Adel and Robyn Kadis said...

Oh dear, you always make me so homesick. I just love this place. And a word to Poetikat and those who think SA is dry and barren, South Africa is anything but. It is rich and lush for most of the country. A few places are dry and barren but they are few and far between. It is a stunningly beautiful country.

Avril said...

Thanks for the tour! What a quaint place! Love the photos - especially the cosmos and house, the road, and the trees near the field. Reminds me of a print of a painting in our house when I was growing up.

pammiejo said...

Nice tour! Thank you! The old homes resemble those in the hill country of Texas. Great to share your home country with us, Eleanor! PAM

Raph G. Neckmann said...

What a lovely and interesting place, Eleanor! Thank you for the tour. The art works look wonderful!

Anonymous said...

What a feast for the eyes; can't wait for your next installment!

Pam said...

That was fun Eleanor, thank-you. Looking forward to the next bit.

Smilingsal said...

Thanks for taking me along on your trip. I guess you didn't buy anything, showing good restraint. Thanks for sharing.

Sreddy Yen said...

Hey~! Some lovely photos, especially the one of the open road :O) South Africa does seem to have many picturesque towns.

Denise said...

Thank you, Eleanor, for a lovely visit to the South Africa I remember. I must confess, you made me rather homesick! One of these years (when life quietens a little)I will be over for a visit. I was thinking while reading the post it will take at least a couple of months to take in all the old places and see some new!
Have a lovely week!
Love,
Denise

Deb said...

Hi Eleanor
What a lovely post & photos!

willow said...

What glorious photos! Thanks for taking us along with you, Eleanor. I thoroughly enjoyed this. And I want to browse a while in The Old Trading Store!

dulcy said...

Oh my.....I want to go there! What a nice little break in my day!

Dulcy

Barbara Martin said...

Here I come visiting, only to find at the top of your post a windmill! Extraordinary that I was thinking of windmills last night and this morning, wondering if farms still used them.

Looks like you had a wonderful break from the city. The countryside, I find, is very refreshing.

Anonymous said...

Michelle Nigrini is Tea Nigrini's (pg Tina Skukaan repute) daughter. Genet

徵信社 said...

I love it! Very creative!That's actually really cool.
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參觀,Thanks

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