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27 January 2019, Parys to Vredefort, 15.6km
Vredefort Hotel R300


Under a cloudy sky with the wind at our backs, today we got back on the bikes for the first time in almost four years. We dismounted them in Siem Reap, Cambodia, on 22 February 2015. While Charl has ridden around the block on a couple of occasions since, I had literally not straddled my steed in 1,434 days. Not sensible, I know.
We began today’s intentionally short ride at the 1919 suspension bridge in Parys (no longer suspended) and ended it at the newly-renovated Vredefort Hotel which boasts elephant feet stools in the foyer. My biggest fear was not realised - the tendinitis in my left knee was quiet. Virtually everything else ached, however, but I knew that would be the case. Charl, at 69, coped just fine with the distance and easy terrain.
The first thing we saw on entering town was Get Sizzling where Mavis offers a R30 special of skambane + slushy + pudding, but where we opted for a much-needed and tasty lunch of chips + russians + Coke, some of which we shared with a demanding beggar who was more interested in our Coke than the styrofoam box of chips we bought him.
Our hotel host is Pietie, employed by the hotel owner, Oom Joe. Pietie’s affectionate ginger cat has fathered numerous ginger litters throughout town. Pietie’s ankle is bandaged with black bruising showing above the white crepe - the poison of an old spider bite back on the rampage. He told us he had once asked someone the name of a lovely flowering tree that blooms yellow outside the hotel and was told it was a “fokken koelte boom” (“f!@king shade tree”). Clearly it does not do to be too erudite in Vredefort!
We shopped for supper and “padkos” (road food) at the OK Bazaars, where the security guard literally watched our every move - either we look like criminals or he was merely conscientious and aware that we are strangers in town. And for beer at the Chinese-run liquor store next door where we were happy to be able to greet and thank the owner in Chinese.
We had told Mavis and a few passing kids who stopped to admire our laden bikes that we were cycling to Cape Town. As we arrived at the hotel 20 minutes and 100 metres later, a car pulled up beside me and the driver leaned across his passenger to ask if it was true we were en route Cape Town. The small town telegraph is alive and well in Vredefort.

For today's route see below photos
For overview route, click on ROUTE tab above...

Parys 1919 suspension bridge
Parys 1919 suspension bridge
Parys 1919 suspension bridge
Parys 1919 suspension bridge
Parys 1919 suspension bridge
Parys 1919 suspension bridge
Parys 1919 suspension bridge
Parys 1919 suspension bridge
Introducing Gertie, our travel companion
Introducing Gertie, our travel companion
Parys to Vredefort
Parys to Vredefort
Vredefort lunch companion
Vredefort lunch companion
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