It’s crushing. This whole situation – pandemic and economic annihilation – is crushing.
It’s hard to believe that it was only in early March that Ferdo and I rounded off our last road trip. It seems like an eon ago and everything was so different. So while we’re all at home and yearning desperately for a change of scenery while trying to maintain hope and productivity, here’s the culmination of a road trip from what seems like another universe…
Back to Barrydale
For Ferdo, taking a breather means sleeping in and doing as little as humanly possible. For me, taking a breather means walking and exploring and getting as many experience points as possible. During our trip to Prince Albert we did all the sleeping in we possibly could. On this trip, we took a Cole-based breather.
Diesel & Crème
Despite the disarmingly high temperatures in Barrydale and surrounds, it was pleasant to be outdoors. I must have looked like an alert chicken with my arms out, hands on hips – armpits cooled by the slightest breeze that wrested the stagnant heat from around us as we walked. This kind of weather sent us on the hunt for refreshment and where else than to the world-famous Diesel & Crème?
We’re ready for our milkshakes now…
Diesel & Crème is roadhouse chic and rustic fairground rolled into one tidy package of arguably the most unique use of old signboards and roadside bric-a-brac you ever did see. The waitress was very patient as we ambled about, half-melted, and took pictures and marvelled at this Route 62 landmark.
A horse named Bettie…
Service was friendly and prompt, and what arrived at the table made me quite relieved that we hadn’t eaten lunch yet. The famous Diesel & Crème milkshakes did NOT disappoint. If you’ve ever been adventurous enough to eat cake in an entirely different way – say, by sucking it through a straw – then this will be the place for you. I ordered the 350ml gourmet milkshake Lady in Red, which was literally a piece of delicious red velvet cake smooshed up in the milkshake. It was the cream cheese icing that made it absolutely decadent and I savoured every mouthful. I still have the cheek dimples to prove it!
Don’t let the picture fool you – the biscuit-bedecked delight standing next to the Lady in Red is a 500ml chocolate milkshake. We had considered having a bite to eat at Diesel and Crème, but the milkshakes were so filling that it had to be an either/or.
Magpie Art Collective
What’s a visit to Barrydale without popping in at the crazy chandelier shop? Magpie make these wonderful fancy-pants chandeliers, peace doves and an impressive array of upcycled objects that will make you think differently about discarded plastic bottles, bottle caps, and the intention of art to rescue and transform in this age of consumerism.
What a marvellous testament to the power of creativity ❤
This, my friends, is called “Magpie-ing” 🙂
House of Books
I was made aware of the presence of a bookshop in Barrydale (thanks to a Facebook post) some months before this trip. The dense shrubbery on this Van Riebeeck Street pavement had obscured this secret treasure trove on all of our previous visits to town, so what a delight to discover the House of Books.
And let me tell you, the name is very, VERY literal.
I love me some chequered floors, so that front veranda and the foyer were very enticing…
When you walk into the House of Books, you realise that this is a formidable collection as every single room, floor to ceiling, is stacked with books, books, and more books. Owner Anton was busy with cataloguing, so he left us to browse, although when I enquired after a couple of specific (and rare) titles, he was immediately able to point me in the right direction. Some major self-restraint was necessary to not walk out with armfuls of books, but it was a pleasurable experience to browse through a book shop that could rival any town library.
If you feel drawn to this bookish experience when South Africa reopens for business, remember to take cash as there are no card facilities.
Hearts on Main
Saving the best for last, I had a truly uplifting experience at the fantastically creative junction, Hearts on Main. Earlier, I must have woken up on the wrong side of the bed as I wasn’t quite feeling my own groove, but walking up those steps and experiencing such a varied and creative collection of clothing, décor, gifts, accessories, bags – it was like being submerged into a warm tide of inspiration. The atmosphere inside the shop is beautifully colourful and positive and it completely turned the day around for me.
The outside is lovely and the inside is full of bespoke creative magic!
Follow Hearts on Main on Facebook. Despite their physical shop being closed during the lockdown, the weekly posts of new and inspired creations offer a relaxed respite from all the other craziness flying around on social media right now.
As a constant reminder that A, life is not that serious, and B, how I feel is entirely up to me, I picked a bracelet of hand-made clay beads with a special inscription – a souvenir of my travels, both external and internal.
Soon enough it was time to go home. We had travelled a LONG way in eight days and I yearned to get my toes back in the sand and my heart facing into the waves. Little did we know what was to come in the wake of Covid-19, but being able to look back on these road trips (all of them) has given me much to feel grateful for.
Feel free to browse, read and experience the places we’ve been in the last two years and be inspired for your own travels when the gates of freedom are lifted again.