South Africa Day 17 – Port Alfred, Grahamstown

Today was a busy day for us. We drove to the nearby farming village of Bathurst, where we went to one of the local farmers’ Sunday markets. The Sunday markets in and around Bathurst are real farmers markets – small with local produce, cheeses, preserves, handcrafts and food stalls. I particularly loved two stalls – one selling beautiful crochet dresses, and one selling handcarved bone pendants.

I bought a small jar of Greenaways Natural Herbal moisturiser made with locally produced ingredients. I have used it for years and it smells so nice. A huge tub costs $6 but I bought a tiny one. It was nice to be able to buy it from the person who makes it, Serena Gess of the Dancing Donkey. There is a photograph of it below.

Bathurst is a very interesting village. It serves the local farming community with a pub and hotel, general dealer, co-op and police station. But it is also home to a thriving artistic community – philosophers, authors, potters, makers of natural beauty products, weavers. There is a seriously interesting agricultural museum nearby where the annual agricultural show is also held.

There is one shop I also go to – the studio and shop belonging to Richard Pullen and his wife Marcel. Richard works on site and sells his wares for very good prices. I usually head to the outlet shelf, where you can find items he is not 100% happy with for 50 cents US and upwards. We bought three small bowls for 75 cents US each. He does amazing tableware as well as sculptures.

In the healthcare section of the shop I bought Rosewater Toner from Richard’s wife, Marcel. A big bottle cost $1.80. Below are two of the three bowls we bought, plus my rose water and Natural Herbal Moisturiser.

We then ate lunch at the local pub and hotel, the Pig and Whistle. It is the oldest pub in South Africa and is very quaint. On Sundays farmers come from all around to eat the famous Sunday Lunch. We sat outside and watched farmers coming in for lunch, a group of bikers on a breakfast ride popping into the bar (!), students talking with local artisans selling their wares on the road outside. You are allowed to smoke in half of the bar which is very unusual these days.

As we left there were 7 American visitors buying t-shirts from reception.

The highlight of the day though was Summerhill farm, where we walked through the pineapple fields. They were in different stages of the growth cycle so it was fascinating to see how they grow. There is also a four-storey pineapple where there are posters, videos, photographs of the farming process and a wonderful view from the observation deck.

After that we drove the 20km back to Port Alfred where we met the rest of the family for a delicious lunch and packed up for the drive to Grahamstown.

We got to Grahamstown in time for dinner, which was a delicious macaroni and corn beef bake made by my aunt (I can post this recipe as well).

We had an early night ready to begin the journey back to Cape Town tomorrow.



Categories: Southern Africa

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