Small town sensation
13 January 2012 | David Batzofin
SOMETHING about South African small towns draws my wife and I like moths to a flame.
We are uncertain how this attraction started as we are both born and bred city folk. However, I spent my early working years living in small towns in the Eastern Cape, so perhaps that is where the bug bit.
The Western Cape is relatively uncharted territory for both of us and on a recent trip to that Province we found ourselves on the N2 on our way to Swellendam.
One of the best things about small towns is that it is very easy to find your accommodation.
Most of the towns have a single main road and at least one person sitting on the pavement who will point out the fact that the hotel/guest house you are looking for is directly in front of you.
This trip was no different as we had actually stopped outside our accommodation, the Schoone Oordt Country House.
The Bukkenburg Pottery studio and gallery was our first discovery in the town. It is run by potters David Schlapobersky and Felicity, er, Potter. Refugees from the big city, they have been living and working in Swellendam for many years and would never consider returning to the rat race.
That said, Schlapobersky did say that Swellendam had grown extensively in the years that they had been living and working there.
Most small towns have large churches and Swellendam is no different. But how many towns can boast about the fact that they have a church, a jail and a stock theft unit on one main road?
Actually, the jail is a restaurant that serves great cake and moerkoffie (with condensed milk) and it offered the opportunity to do some people-watching. There were a couple of tour groups but the majority of the patrons seemed to be locals.
Our visit happened just before the festive season and at the Town Hall we discovered a sale of locally made arts and crafts – something that you no longer see in the big cities. Every home should have a knitted toilet roll cover at least once, and they’re still available in Swellendam.
A sign reading “The Continent Of Sulina Faerie And Angel Healing Sanctuary” caught our eye and turning off the main road we discovered a magical and wondrous place that was filled with faeries, gnomes, elves and dragons – the friendly kind.
All our walking had made us rather hungry and we discovered a gem of an (Italian) restaurant at the end of the main road.
La Sosta seats only 16 people, it is light and airy with simple décor and a tiramisu that my wife referred to as “toe-curlingly good”.
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