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My trip II : Franschhoek

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The second night of our trip, we stayed over in a B & B between the towns of Paarl and Franschhoek.

We were pleasantly surprised to find that the place we were going to sleep that night, was 500 years old! The present owner was a descendant of an Englishman that bought the place in the mid-1800’s, with money that he borrowed from Cecil John Rhodes! It was an amazing place, and we loved staying there.

The next day, we spent some time in and around Franschhoek, but today I’m keeping it short and sweet –  history of the area in my next blog!!!!

We visited two wine farms, but one of them we visited for a totally different reason than tasting wine! At Plaisir de Merle, we tasted (and bought) some delicious wines. L’Ormarins is a stunningly beautiful farm, which now belongs to the Rupert- family ( some of you might have heard of Anton Rupert, a very well-know business man and millionare) and they make exquisite wine there, but we went there to visit – get this!! –  the Franschhoek Motor Museum!!! 🙂  This museum has a history all of it’s own, but at this rate we’ll never get away from history. Shortly, the government closed down a motor museum in Heidelberg, and the cars were left to rot, so the Ruperts bought up everything, and relocated the museum to Franschhoek. And what a stunning job they did of it!

I hope you enjoy the pictures!

Lekkerwijn, our 500 year old B & B.

The huge courtyard of the house, with an ancient pomegranate tree.

The dining room, ready for us to sit down to breakfast.

Vineyards at Plaisir de Merle

The entrance to L’Ormarins

The Franschhoek Motor Museum

And finally, just to give you an idea of the inside of the museum, some beautiful old motor cars. I think that I’ll show you the rest of the beauties in a separate blog. Those of you who love cars as much as I do, will drool when you see the rest of the photographs!!! 🙂

A couple of Mercedes Benzes.

Until we get together for our next history lesson, have a wonderful time!!! 🙂

My trip: let’s start with some history.

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We left on Wednesday afternoon of last week, after my SO* finished working. Because we had a late start, we decided to go no further than Kimberley. I’ll give you the history in a (tiny) nutshell, as it is extensive and I’m not knowledgeable enough to give all the facts correctly, but you can read the details here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kimberley,_Northern_Cape It makes for some interesting reading.

Kimberley is a town in the Northern Cape Province of South Africa. It is significant for so many reasons, but mainly because of diamonds. A young boy picked up (literally!) a diamond in the area in 1866, and soon after an even bigger one was picked up near where the first was found, and people started streaming to Colesbergkoppie in their thousands. Soon it was a bustling town, with people trying to find their fortunes.

Two very well-known and important persons played a HUGE part in the history of Kimberley, namely Barney Barnato and Cecil John Rhodes. They both became very rich and influential in the town, coming from very different directions. Barney worked abandoned claims. He worked 7 days a week, with one helper, and eventually through sheer dogged persistence, he made his fortune. Cecil on the other hand, came from different stock, and became rich and important through connections. Initially they were fierce opponents, but they realized that they could be stronger if they worked together, and in short, the De Beer’s Diamond Company was founded.

The diamond mine was started by people working their individual claims. It then became an open cast mine of vast proportions, keeping in mind that it was worked by people, not machines! They climbed into the depths, loosened the  dirt with picks and shovels, and carried out buckets of dirt that was sifted at the top, to find the shiny little stones. Many people died there, and many came away poorer than they were at the start. But – a few made their fortunes.

Kimberley became a town that is still a busy one today. It developed around the ‘Big Hole’, as it’s know today and the lay-out of the town is quite weird and confusing! 🙂

I’m going to leave the history there, except for one other very important fact: Kimberley was the first town in the Southern Hemisphere to get electrical street lights!!!

Here are some of the pictures I took there – I hope you find them interesting.

The Big Hole

To give an idea of the scale, this picture was taken so you can see the tall buildings of the town, compared to the hole.

This structure was built in recent years, so visitors can look down into the hole, instead of from behind a fence on the ground.

Some facts about the scale of the mine.

Around the Hole, there is a huge museum, with a reproduction of the old town, with authentic fittings and interiors, as well as a reproduction of what the mine would have looked like after they went underground, and a display of diamonds – real ones, that are very well guarded!! 🙂

Mining Town shops.

 

Old tools and workbench in an ironmongers workshop.

 

Streetlight

 

Well, that’s it for today! Let me know if you find posts like these interesting or boring, please!!! Would hate to bore y’all!!! 🙂