I’m typing this from my Karoo “office” – the Lazy Lizard cafe in Prince Albert.
After a week and a bit in Plettenberg Bay, the kids and I packed the car and drove back to the Klaarstroom – and back to our little cottage – to be with Nick.
Here’s some pics of our last day in Plett:
On our drive back, we came across a gorgeous little spot on the drive between Sedgefield and Wilderness… a roadside village with shops, restaurant, kid’s play area, quad biking, animal farm and a whole bunch of other interesting little nooks and crannies to explore…
We particularly loved all the re-cycled decor… here are the kids next to a big recycled tree:
And here’s another interesting creation…
They had a lovely play area… with lots of things to climb and animals to pet and – of course – a fufi-slide…
It was a lovely little spot – and we could easily have stayed for hours… but we were heading back to the Karoo and still wanted to spend time at the train museum in George… so, on we drove.
The train museum in George is… umm… fascinating!
Firstly, it’s absolutely huge… a huge, huge warehouse – stuffed with hundreds of treasures. Trains, yes – lots and lots of trains… but also cars, busses, carriages, and all kinds of other incredible goodies to gawk at…
But here’s the frustrating part… there’s absolutely NOTHING… no signs, no reading materials, no guides – nothing – to actually explain to the visitor what they are actually looking at!
I found this very frustrating. I wanted to understand what we were seeing. The kids were asking so many questions about the various engines and locomotives – and I couldn’t answer them. I wanted to know when those old steam engines were built… we wanted to know how heavy they were… we wanted to know the difference between the different shapes and sizes – and which were used for what.
But not a single sign could be found (apart from ‘no-smoking’ signs – and signs instructing us not to climb on stuff).
Eventually, I went back to the ticket booth… (there was nobody there – only a small television showing the news). So, I approached the very bored-looking security guard.
“Do you have any information booklets that can tell us more about what we’re looking at in this museum?”
She stared at us blankly.
“Information booklets… or a pamphlets… or an audio guide – anything…?”
“No”, she said, “We don’t have anything like that in here”.
Just to make sure, I went back to the ticket booth to see if I could spy any kind of pamphlets or reading material to guide as through the museum… but, our search was in vain. The guard was right. There was nothing.
So… back we went to our un-guided tour…
We saw lots of very big, old trains like this:
But… not just trains… or bits of trains…
There was loads of interesting stuff (and my camera battery went flat so I didn’t photograph half of the interesting bits ‘n pieces they had on display)… but here’s a little bit of an idea…
There were also rows and rows of train carriages… with lots of eerie mannequins… eating food, enjoying their journey, positioning their luggage (or whatever it is that mannequins do)…
Here’s some eerie-mannequin photos:
Apart from getting a bit weirded-out by the mannequins (and since the kids and I were the only people in this giant museum – it felt a bit unnerving to be “watched” by those lifeless eyes)…
We discovered a small room with a grumpy man and a giant train set!
The man gruffly mentioned that he had been working on the mini train set for 15 years (impressive!). I obligingly deposited R10 into his “DONATE!!” box and he begrudgingly dispatched his minion to switch on a few of the small trains for the children’s enjoyment.
Most of the trains weren’t working (but it seemed as though the old man was very busy trying to remedy the situation… with lots of wires, soldering irons, tiny screws and tools all over the place).
In spite of everything not being perfectly in order – the kids LOVED the mini display.
Here’s some pics:
The kids and I could easily have spent a really long time in that room… examining the detail of the little towns and watching the tiny trains. But we felt… more than just a little bit unwelcome. It felt as though we were intruding on this man’s private hobby – and sure enough, as soon as we left, the minion shut (and locked) the doors behind us.
After the very fascinating and frustrating train museum, we stopped for pizza… and then drove the gorgeous Outeniqua Pass just as the sun was starting to go down.
By the time it was dark, we were reunited with Nick… tucked away in ‘our’ little house… and happily chatting about our interesting day.