Yesterday… the kids and I took a drive to Oudtshoorn – which is about an hour’s drive from our little house-in-the-hills.

Oudtshoorn is considered the capital of this part of the Karoo.  It’s known for the Cango Caves, the KKK arts festival, the wonderful, historic architecture, and the ostriches.  Thousands and thousands of ostriches and all-things-ostrich (ostrich eggs, ostrich meat, ostrich leather, ostrich feathers – and everything else that can be made from bits of ostrich!) — (you can even ride an ostrich if you want!).

However… we were visiting Oudtshoorn because it’s the largest town in the area and the only place where we can get our wheels aligned and tyres repaired before our long drive back to Joburg.

Frustratingly – the wheel situation has NOT been resolved.  So, we shall have to endure a very long drive back home with the Modus pulling sharply to the left.

Anyhoo…

Whilst in Oudtshoorn, the kids and I decided to visit the fascinating CP Nel Museum.  It’s a cultural history museum and is named after a colonel who opened his private collection to the public in 1937.  Since 1972 (the year I was born)… it has been housed in the old boys’ high school building.  Here’s a pic:

museum 5What I really loved about this museum was the effort they had gone to… recreate… certain scenes from the late 1800’s and early 1900’s.  There was a replica of an old pharmacy… complete with rows of bottles, medicines, potions and other medical bits ‘n bobs…

Here’s photos of the pharmacy…

museum

museum 2

There was a replica of an old bank… a replica of a clothing store… a replica of a general dealer (see pic below).  I loved the detail – it really felt as though we’d been transported back in time…

museum 3

They also had an interesting collection of old cars and horse carriages...

They also had an interesting collection of old cars and horse carriages…

The museum also houses a reconstructed synagogue which is still used by the local Jewish community for special services.  Here’s a photo:

synagogueThe synagogue sparked a LOT of questions from Morgan;

“What’s a synagogue?”

“It’s a church for Jewish people”

“What’s Jewish?”

“It’s both a culture and a religious belief system…”

“What’s a culture?  What’s religious?”

“Religion is what people believe about God…”

“I don’t understand”

“There are lots of different religions in the world.  Many people have different beliefs and ideas and they believe different things about God…”

“Is Granny Jewish?”

“No, Granny is Christian”.

“What’s Christian?”

“Christians believe in Jesus”

“Oh!” (light goes on)... “Like Yiayia?”

“Yes, Yiayia is Christian too”.

“Yiayia says that Jesus loves me and that the angels protect me.  Do Jewish people also believe in angels?  What do they do in this church?”

“…Synagogue…”

“Do Jewish people believe in Jesus?”

“Well, Jesus was a Jew.  But Jewish people don’t believe that Jesus was the Messiah – which is what Christians believe…”

“What’s messiah?”

“Uh… (trying to answer questions as quickly as she’s firing them off)...”

“Is Jesus dead?”

“Uh… I guess it depends on who you ask… uh… well, yes, he was killed a long time ago…”

“So, he’s dead then.  Who killed him?”

“Ummm… lots of people…”

“Are they all dead too?”

“Yes – it all happened a very long time ago.  Everyone from that time is dead now”

“Why did Jesus have to die?”

“Well, Christians believed that he died for our sins…”

“What’s sins?”

“It’s when you do something wrong.  Christians believe that Jesus had to pay the price for our sins…”

“I don’t understand”

“It’s like… if somebody does something really bad, they need to be punished for it – right?”

“Why?”

“Uh… ummm… because you can’t just get away with stuff, I guess…”

“Does punishing make people better?”

“Ummm…. I… uh… don’t think so… I’m not sure… but there should be consequence to our actions, I think…”

“What’s consequences?”

“Punishing… I think…”

Anyway.  I’ll spare you my embarrassing failure-of-a-dialogue with my inquisitive daughter.  Nothing like the persistent questions of a 7 year old to have you really examine belief systems… and particularly the “does-punishing-make-people-better?” question.

Jeez!  Who can answer that?

Anyway, after we’d browed the CP Nel Museum, we visited the Le Roux Townhouse which is like walking into a time machine and being transported back to the year 1909.  It was built for the le Roux family of Bakenskraal and is known as one of the “Ostrich Palaces” erected during the feather-boom period.

It was fascinating to walk through that old house – with everything still in place – and to imagine how life must have been like during that time.  The kids fired off a bunch of questions… “Why are there fireplaces in almost every room?” and “Are the people who lived here all dead?” and “What do they keep up in the roof?” and “Can we climb the big ladder and go into the roof?”

Here’s some photos:

house 3

house 2

house

At the end of the day, we drove back to Klaarstroom… met up with Nick… and enjoyed a fantastic meal at the Klaarstroom BnB (which is the spot where Nick “lived” while the kids and I were touring Limpopo, Plett & Knysna).

With a large crew filming Faan se Trein in Klaarstroom every day, Sharon and Jeremy’s home (and particularly their kitchen) is always full of hungry people.  Every evening, the old Karoo kitchen comes to life as cast and crew (mostly cast because most of the crew are housed elsewhere) gather for exceptional meals cooked by Sharon.  Everyone raves about her food – and rightly so!

Last night, we ate bobotie, spinach & feta quiche and veggies with a thick cheese sauce.  Sharon’s magnificent cheesecake rounded off the evening – and was quickly devoured (as always).

Here’s some photos…

BnB

BnB2

Sharon's ridiculously awesome cheesecake!

Sharon’s ridiculously awesome cheesecake!

The cheesecake leftovers (or lack thereof)...

The cheesecake leftovers (or lack thereof)…

The kids get on famously with Sharon & Jeremy’s 8-year-old daughter, Edwina.  So, whenever we have dinner at the Klaarstroom BnB… the kids just – vanish.

After dinner, we drove back to our little nest-in-the-hills… and went straight to bed.  All of us seem to be coming down with colds… sore throats, snot – the lot.  Ew.

Anyway – signing off for now.  Today is my last day at the Lazy Lizard (using their free internet and drinking their wonderful coffee).  Tomorrow we drive back to Joburg.  How did 6 weeks happen so quickly?

Time really DOES fly when you’re having fun, huh?