Neither of us felt like being shackled to our desks, we needed some wind in our hair!. So we decided to head out on the #BMW800 and explore the hills. We travelled along the Petrus Stroom road, left onto the Dargle road, and then right onto the Fort Nottingham road where we finally hit the dirt. The air was so crisp, the clouds had that magnificent Van Gogh quality to them, skidding across the sky with the sun occasionally breaking through.It really was a lovely day for the motorbike, just the two of us!
We covered some very gorgeous territory as we wound our way around the hills, passing herds of cows out to pasture, from Nguni's to the shadowy white Brahman herds. We watched as the migratory Yellow billed Kites wheeled in the sky above us, occasionally dipping to the ground to catch an unsuspecting morsel.
Our choice of turning came up quite quickly and opting for the one less traveled, we turned onto the D290. We travelled through such quaint, and picturesque country side. Turns and twists, passing under the shady arches of oaks, across little streams where lily's where lily's grew wild, passing dams reflecting the sky, wooden barns leaning precariously away from the prevalent winds.
This kind of traveling gives pause for thought; I could feel the bike beneath me, but other than occasionally following my husbands body into a bend or curve of the road I was free to think.
And so I wondered... about the year ahead; I felt a thrill of excitement as I was finally able to visualize what it might hold for me. (New Zealand Blog to release shortly). I contemplated the 'unschooling' journey we were embarking on with our 6 year old daughter. I wondered how this would unfold if our New Zealand journey became a permanent one...
I reflected on the amazing journey our lives had taken when we decided to leave Johannesburg five years ago and move permanently to the KwazuluNatal Midlands.
Suddenly we had hit the tar road again and were now heading towards an ideal little coffee stop in the Nottingham Road area.
We parked outside Barbz Cafe which is just the best stop for a delicious hot breakfast. But today we were in the mood to try something new. Having heard about the latest addition to the coffee tasters choice we popped in to Flamme Rouge Cycle Cafe.
Oh my word. Thank goodness we did! The coffee was an exquisite blend of melt-in-your-mouth, perfectly frothed milk and expertly pulled espresso. We opted for a chicken and bacon wrap, which though served cold, was really tasty
And the little coffee shop is an absolute balm to the senses. A very calm, clean space, with no excess of any sort. The music was just the right level, there were no over-powering smells of food cooking, no loud noises; just a calm space to look out onto the village green and warm my hands on the little cup of delicious! They also have coloring in books and stylish colored pencils so you can entertain your hands while your brain gets to thinking!
It took a lot of discipline to decline a second cup, but we wanted to get moving again. Bidding farewell to the gorgeous blonde barista and her equally gorgeous co-worker we headed out the door.
For the next leg of our journey we wanted to investigate the much talked about Midlands Kitchens.
We wanted to see what all the hype was about
The parking was plentiful, toilets clean and the massive barn filled with food kitchens was very impressive. Our bellies were still full so we opted for a green juice and ginger shot from the Juice Brew, although never what one could call delicious, it's a great cleanser!
This food haven is a great stop, with so many delicious choices of food, from Mexican to vegetarian, from pizza to burgers, from Indian to Italian Gelato. The obvious conclusion is to head back there when we're properly hungry!
Back on the road, we once again opted for the longest route, and so avoiding the highway we turned towards the Currys post sand road. We detoured off the main stretch and ventured down into the valley. Once again the scenery was breathtaking, whether in a car, bicycle or motorbike, this is an area that begs to be photographed, On a clear day you can see for miles towards the Karkloof natural forests, the dips and valleys in between creating such a rich color contrast.
The road is pretty good, no major potholes so cruising was a pleasure, with lots of places to stop and admire the beauty. We headed towards the Karkloof instead of back towards Howick and made our way to the Karkloof falls, which we haven't explored properly in years. It's being maintained by SAPPI and they've recently added a selfie platform which gives an opportunity for a great picture with the falls in full flow behind you.
The dustbins had not been emptied and so unfortunately there was a a lot of litter floating around, cake boxes, chip packets, cola bottles...the usual unpleasant detritus left by people. I wondered whether SAPPI could use some of the wood they were harvesting in abundance to create sign boards encouraging people NOT TO LITTER, TAKE YOUR LITTER HOME etc. It's obvious that monkeys and birds would quickly become accustomed to scavenging through colorful bags and packets, so it either needs to be monitored daily or much better disposal facilities need to be implemented.
It was time for us to head home, our little girl would be finished school and I wanted to be there to collect her, so we donned helmets and made our way back through the forest.
Leaving the sand road and valleys behind us, we made our way through Howick, across the highway to Tweedie and then back down the Petrus Stroom road, home...full circle!