Thursday, September 07, 2017

Matjiesfontein and The Lord Milner Hotel, continued

We awoke refreshed to see nice weather, much warmer than we thought it would be. We went down to breakfast to find that there are two options, or both combined
You can have just the buffet breakfast, or something cooked of the menu or both. We started with some juice, black coffee - real, from a dispenser, a little weaker than we like it - and a very good mini croissant from the buffet
John then chose Open Karoo Omelette
 Lynne ordered scrambled egg with smoked salmon
The dining room looks bright and fresh in the morning
We needed to do some work on MENU after breakfast and were shown to the lovely suite of Gold lounges in the hotel where we both found plugs and desks and set up on our computers. John was successful , Lynne was not as the WiFi was still very weak and wobbly
There are all the original features and more antiques
Beautiful tiled floors
And in the music room, a harp and a spinet
These are some of the cottages you can stay in
More rooms are available in them, with a self catering option
We then went off for a walk around town to explore
The village Post office is now a small gift shop
The local fire truck
And the famous red London bus. These were shipped out from England in the 1950s Lynne used to go to school and college on one each day from Sea Point. It was nice to see where this one has ended up. It is used here for the shortest tour in the country which takes place each evening at 6 pm (5.30 in winter)
More wagons outside the Museum at the railway station
Wonderful historic petrol pumps outside the Coffee House
The old Lodge is now a farm stall
Inside the Coffee Shop
The courtyard at the back of the Coffee House
Matjiesfontein nestling in its valley beneath the uplifted rolling mountains in late afternoon. We visited Sutherland in the afternoon. See here
Waiting for the train on the platform
And Rovos Rail Pride of Africa arrived on time. It is a luxury train filled with wealthy overseas tourists and some locals doing a trip from Cape Town to Johannesburg and Pretoria and sometimes to the Kruger Game Park
Tour Guide and Pub piano player Johnnie Theunissen was there to welcome them with a blast of his bugle and many got off the train for about an hour to see Matjiesfontein and join the bus tour
On we get!
Upstairs, of course
Still with original advertising?
Tour of the village over, Johnnie summons us for a tour of the Hotel which ended in the Laird’s Arms pub
The bus heads off, back to its parking spot, 50 metres away!
Olive Schreiners' Cottage. She lived her in the 1890's
Early evening sing song time in the Pub
This beautiful painting c.1900 graces the front reception area
It is by British painter Blanche Mathewes 1860-1914
Time for dinner. We both went for the same starter, a twice cooked cheese soufrée in a herb cream sauce
John has the steak with chips and salad
Lynne had the Beer Battered fish with chips.. tartar sauce and a small salsa. The batter was very golden and crisp
John went quite mad and had this icky gooey chocolate milkshake in a jug, called Brownie Freak Shake. Then off to bed with our books for an early night. It's this Karoo air.
We had another great night's sleep and then it was time for breakfast. This time we both had the David Rawdon special: A classic egg, bacon, tomato, mushrooms, baked bean and very good sausage, with coffee toast and marmalade hit the spot. And then it was time to pack up and leave the Lord Milner and Matjiesfontein. What an enjoyable way to spend two days. We do hope to come back one day
At last a sight of green. The very welcome rain clouds were gathering over the bud breaking vineyards and mountains at De Doorns. Those mountain ranges do look exactly like huge waves gathering to break on the shore
We stopped at De Wet on the outskirts of Worcester, you pass it as you come out of the mountains from De Doorns. We had never been here before
We did a lovely tasting of their wines, were suitable impressed and three cases of wine went into the car. The 2015 Chenin is on special at R30 a bottle and is very good indeed
Then onwards across the valley towards Goudini Cellars And du ToitsKloof cellars. We bought some 2015 wooded Chardonnay at Goudini and 12 bottles of our favourite Nebbiolo from du Toits Kloof winery. Serious rain was beginning to fall in the du ToitsKloof pass and also on Paarl and Stellenbosch as we drove home. . So welcome
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