Family in the Valley

imageYes, it’s already two weeks since I got home from our little Family Road Trip and I’m STILL talking about it. Perhaps I should start to learn to blog in real time…but I can barely get it right to Instagram in real time (unless I’m at home and hanging out with my cats) let alone somehow manage to write a couple of hundred words about something that I kind of reckon other folks should try (heehee!) so here I am: still talking about our Road Trip.

Now I took the housebound and the squidgets to Graaff Reinet mainly because I wanted them to see The Valley of Desolation because it remains one of the most beautiful places I’ve been to. Now, I get that some people find the place overrated, but I just don’t. I love the silence. I love the view. I love the echo potential.

imageOf course the kids loved it, which made me particularly happy because I do often worry that they might lose their sense of wonder to their computer games and the television set. (As an aside: Why does the media or just people in general keep telling us that will happen? As if we don’t have enough stress…)

The Valley is just outside of Graaff Reinet and is obviously one of the main tourist attractions around there. It doesn’t cost a lot to get into the reserve and it’s an easy drive to the top. You can hike around there if you like, but it’s pretty user-friendly for those of who who – like me – are not so keen on anything heavy while on holiday.

So why should you go? Because the soul needs food, and this is what soul food is…

For more pics of our Valley of Desolation exploration check out #nayesexploresthevalleyofdesolation on Instagram.

The Rejuvenating Effect of Small Towns

13530793_10157173065070094_1707521580_nI live in Port Elizabeth these days, but up until I was 17 years old I lived in the teeny tiny town of Molteno. Don’t know where that is? No worries, neither does the rest of the country! Maybe it’s just me, but coming from a small town makes it seem weird as hell to go on holiday to a small town. That’s just nuts, man! Holidays? Holidays need bright lights, or something. Or the sea, at least. No?

13522519_10157173066300094_141075267_nLately I must admit to feeling a LOT differently.  Is it age? Is it that the time I lived in Molteno and the time that I have lived in Port Elizabeth are about to become equal? I don’t know…but I’m falling in love with the small towns around our country, and while I don’t think I will easily go back to small town life, I certainly am enjoying indulging in it as a visitor from time to time. There’s beautiful architecture to be found – especially the churches and old municipal buildings. There are quirks. There are sweet people. There are exceptional views. Rolling mountains. Vast plains. Fresh air.  Starry skies beyond your wildest imagination. Silence. *sigh*

It is no wonder that these small places get visitors from city folk so often. This last weekend (gosh it’s already a new weekend and I’m only getting around to this now!) I moseyed on through Jansenville, Graaff Reinet, and Nieu Bethesda and despite their smallness I do kind of wish I had had far more time to take all they have to offer in. They are life and energy of a different sort. They offer sensory pleasures that our cluttered city minds sometimes forget to indulge in. They are a feast for body, soul, and mind.

And I really should make a point to explore all of these little places more often…