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During my travels newspaper columns were published weekly in the Dutch daily newspaper
Dutch newspaper Spits

This project has been supported by these great and warmhearted companies:
Netherlands: Paping Buitensport, ODLO, IPtower.nl, AVRO Dutch Broadcasting Org., Travelcare, TunaFish, Book A Tour, StadsRadio Rotterdam; UK: Lazystudent, KissFM, The Sunday Times, The Guardian; Isle of Man: SteamPacket/SeaCat; Ireland: BikeTheBurren; Belgium: Le Temps Perdu, Majer & PartnersAustria: OhmTV.com; Norway: Scanrail Pass, Hurtigruten, Best Western HotelsSouth Africa: eTravel, British Airways Comair, CapeTalk, BazBus Spain: Inter Rail, Train company Renfe; Australia: Channel 9 Television, Bridgeclimb, Harbourjet, SeaFM Central Coast, Moonshadow Cruises, Australian Zoo, Fraser Island Excursions, Hamilton Island Resort, FantaSea Cruises, Greyhound/McCafferty's Express Coaches, Aussie Overlanders, TravelAbout.com.au, Travelworld, Unlimited Internet, Kangaroo Island SeaLink, Acacia Apartments; Malaysia: Aircoast; Canada: VIA rail, Cedar Springs Lodge, BCTV/GlobalTV, St. George Hotel, VICKI GABEREAU talkshow, Ziptrek Ecotours, Whitler Blackcomb Ski Resort, Summit Ski & Snowboard Rental, High Mountain BrewHouse, Cougar Mountain Snowmobiling, Whistler Question Newspaper, Snowshoe Inn, First Air, Nunanet.com, Canadian North Accommodations by the Sea, DRL Coachlines Newfoundland, The National Post and Air North.


Reports

Tuesday, 23 October 2001
Betty's Bay --> Stanford (SA)

From Betty's Bay to Stanford and most of it was done hitchhiking, which goes very easy. But it gets more and more remote and the distances to big cities are getting bigger and bigger.
This morning I woke up at 8.30 and had my shower as Hazel and Nathalie Goldsmith opened their coffee shop. When I came down in the little restaurant, I was surprised that tables were filled with breakfasts and a lot of people were enjoying it. Was I still in Betty's Bay?

Hazel prepared me a rich breakfast with eggs, bacon and toast and at the same time Nathalie was informing with her customers if someone was going towards Stanford, the town of my next destination.

If they could, they would have brought me there, but Hazel and Nathalie have their hands full with the restaurant. So I already prepared to go hitchhiking, eventhough the weather wasn't that perfect - it was still very windy, but now also raining pretty hard.

Fortunately one lady, named Carol, offered me a ride to Hermanus, halfway my trip to Stanford, which I gracefully accepted.

I thanked Hazel and Nathalie for my warm and windy stay in Betty's Bay and the great meals they had cooked for me and we took off.

Near Hermanus, Carol picked up her children from their school as it was already after noon and she dropped me right in the centre of Hermanus.

Hermanus is a lovely little, rapidly growing town, built along the shores of Walker Bay near the Southern most tip of Africa. Magnificent green mountains, covered halfway by white clouds, watched over this town which is home of the Southern Right Whale.

(Now why is that wale named Right Whale? They were thought to be the "right" whales to hunt because a) They were large, b) Slow moving, c) They came close inshore and d) because of all the oil they floated when they get killed. Doesn't sound pretty positive for the harmless creature.)

The towns' history is quite interesting too. The town got its name from Hermanus Pieters, an teacher and sheep farmer who first came to the Cape in the early 1800's, and settled in this Caledon district. He brought his sheep to the coast for grazing. After that came fishermen and holiday makers from the Cape. In 1902 the name of the little village was Hermanus Pietersfontein, and latter abbreviated to Hermanus.

Along the exit road towards Stanford, I hold up my sign with my destination. It didn't take that long, within a few minutes a cur pulled over and the driver took me all the way to Stanford. He even knew people I was going to stay with and maybe this says enough about the size of Stanford.

A unpaved road lead to the entrance of the farmland of the Abbott's family, who had invited me after being persuaded by a family member in Cape Town to do so.

Daughter Chloe was quite surprised when the dogs anounced my arrival and she opened the door for me. Mother Sara Abbott welcomed me to Stanford and made me a small lunch. The interesting thing about this lunch was that I had to cut the honey straight of the wax as it came from the farmland.

The Abbott Family originate from Kenya and ended up on this farm in Stanford. For them, the farming is now just a pleasure thing, as most of it is cattle. Next to the farm, David Abbott is more serious in other lucrative businesses, like selling those machines that chlorofy the salt in sea water, making it clear swimming pool water. I never thought that was possible.

Next to their home on their farmland is a boathouse, that Sara uses for her hobby, painting. She showed me some of her work and concluded that she loves horses and the paintings were fascinating too! She is pretty serious with it and good in it.

The four children in the hosting family have all moved out, most of them living in other countries, exept for Chloe, who's now deeply studying Shakespeare for her upcoming English exam.

After being toured in and around their home, David took me to the main street of Stanford, enthusiastic to show me around here.

He told me how amazed he was by the simplicity of my idea, to travel around the world like this. He still couldn't bear it that he had not come up with this idea.

He noticed my left-hand writing in my notebook and said that the best ideas come from left-handed people as they always have to figure out different ways of doing things - like cutting with a scissors made for right-hand users. It makes their minds creative. Of course I supported that thought.

We drank a cup of coffee in the local coffee shop called The Ploughma's Pantry on Queen Victoria Street, where David told about my project to some locals.

After the drink he was eagered to show me this towns' only traffic light and he was quite happy with it. I didn't know what to expect, but already thought it wouldn't be a real traffic light as this town only has a few streets.

And of course! The only traffic light, or robot as how they call it here, stands in front of the local sportsbar to let the people know if it was opened or not.

Inside the bar he treated me on a cider before we drove back to their farmhouse.

Not much goes on around here in Stanford, told Sara to me as dinner was being prepared on the grill outside. Some nine years ago, a man killed himself after an argument with his wife. He actually drank tree-poison. His funeral was being cancelled by the locals as they were afraid that all the trees around the cementry would die if he got burried there.

That's life in Stanford as told by the people themselves and stories like these are often quite amusing.

I joined the Abbotts for dinner, as they were joined by two of her friends too. I was shared their grilled lamb with broccoli and potatoes. Good!

During dinner I talked about my project, about how I don't fear anything and most people aren't that bad at all. I am not even an axe-murderer... And many other interesting subjects about my project or travelling passed by.

After dinner, together with parts of peaches drowned in creamy vanilla ice cream, I handed over the Letmestayforaday-gift from the Goldsmith's in Betty's Bay to Sara and David.

They were very suprised with it and found their gifts, a self-painted t-shirt by Nathalie and self-produced jam by Hazel, very generous of them. And with all the information about Espresso Leopard, they will soon head up there for a cup of espresso (and they have to taste that mmm chocolate cake!).

The last few hours of today I spent behind their computer in the boathouse next door. Outside it was dark, inside Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers were singing some good oldies through the stereo system (listen too: mp3).

Writing reports and processing emails on a daily base can be seen as work, but I don't want to call it that when I can just have a walk outside and see stars shooting by in the clear night...

Good night Stanford!

Ramon.




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