It's not officially spring yet, I'm pretty sure we change over to spring in September but the flowers are out in colourful abundance. The annual wild flower extravaganza that brings visitors from all over South Africa and from other parts of the world, this makes it difficult for us local residents to get seats in our favourite local restaurants!
Last weekend friends Tony and Laura invited us to lunch at the new "Beira Mar" restaurant and because we had to see someone in Velddrif first we decided to take the long way, this was a display on the roadside between Hopefield and Velddrif.
The restaurant is under new management, it has been revamped and a lovely big deck has been built on outside which will no doubt be very popular in summer. Janet and Laura enjoyed their "Espetadas" which they declared to be tender and delicious, my Peri-peri chicken was bland and quite tasteless even though I had asked for it "hot", it was nowhere near as good as that served at the Chapman's Peak Hotel - (Must go back there again soon!)
We had a lovely time with our friends and the starters and desserts were good - been there, done that.
Back to today; As I said; It's not officially Spring but this morning the weather looked fantastic and we decided that after the bottle of sparkling Sauvignon Blanc by JC LeRoux in the spa bath, we would get out on two wheels this time.
Because we procrastinated it was around 11h00 by the time we saddled up, already 20 celsius and very comfortable. As we roared out of Saldanha along the ring road to Langebaan I still had no idea where we were going but it felt good.
Accelerating southward on the R27 I raised my visor and Janet leaned in, "How about we take the long way around to Darling and go for lunch there?" I shouted - no fancy helmet intercom for us! "Great!" Janet shouted back and I wound the throttle open just that little bit more, just enough to increase our cruising speed to around 140kmh, no hurry just relax in the sun and enjoy the ride. Cars moved aside so as not to impede our stately progress and all was good with my world.
Plenty of motorcycles out, a group of about twenty five Harleys heading down to Langebaan passed by but I didn't wave, we have learned through long experience not to bother them. The R27 was very busy, lots of people out doing the same as us except that most of them were not enjoying themselves as much as we were because they were in cages.
I took the "Mamre" turnoff and left all the traffic behind, much better cruising a quiet road on a beautiful day,
The road between Mamre and Darling is a pleasant ride, quite picturesque though a bit rough in places, narrow with a sometimes broken tar edge, not a fast road but rather one to cruise and enjoy which is what we did. Flowers were a bit scarce apart from large patches of white Arum Lillies until we got closer to Darling.
At a farm alongside the road a lot of people had stopped to wander in amongst a lot of purple stuff, a very delicate colour interspersed with white and yellow all of which was, I must admit, really appealing.
Enough already! Back on the road and into Darling and as I feared the restaurants were crowded out with visitors! It was still quite early so we headed back down towards the R27, I suggested to Janet that we try "Vlakvarkgat" which was closer to home.
After about half an hour of very pleasant riding we parked the bike and went into the restaurant. Roughly translated a "Vlakvark" is a bush-pig or Warthog and a "Gat" is a hole, you figure it out!
We have eaten there on a couple of occasions before and have attended the occasional biker-jol, it is a rather rough and rustic place with tables made out of wooden cable drums with wooden benches and plastic chairs and they play continuous "Boeremusiek" which does tend to get a bit tiresome when what I would prefer would be some good old Rock.
Be that as it may the food and the prices are good and for the second time I ordered "Afval Potjie" or Offal Pot; a savoury stew made from the stomach, intestines, pipes, tubes and feet of a lamb served with "Samp" an African staple,
served in the cast iron pot which keeps it nice and hot, I really enjoyed my lunch in a quiet and peaceful place away from the madding crowd.
Janet had a Chicken schnitzel, which was really nicely presented and which she really enjoyed and part of which is going into my sandwich for work tomorrow because she couldn't finish it!
We had a very pleasant lunch break, time to get back out there but we will be back.
At the gate as we rode out there were some people taking photos of the flowers, they had come from the Velddrif side and he assured me that there was no road blocks so we thundered up the road towards Vredenburg, I wanted to check if there were any other bikers around before heading home.
Sure enough we found some at "Juffroeshoogte" (I'm not going to try and explain how to pronounce that!) so we joined them for an A.B.F. (Absolute Bloody Final). Six locals had been out cruising enjoying the wonderful weather, in fact as we left after our last drink another two arrived, bikers all over the place!
A very enjoyable day, a fairly relaxed and easy 207km round trip, a great way to spend a Sunday.