Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Greyton on a sunny winter's day

Have you ever been to Greyton?  You should go, you know.  One word of warning - you'll fall a little in love with it all.  

Greyton is a little town close to historical Genadedal, near Caledon in the Western Cape, on the edge of the Gobos River, a perenial stream and tributary of the Riviersonderend River and flanked by the majestic Riviersonderend mountains.  About one and a half hour from Cape Town, its an easy drive for a day's outing although, like us,  you'll probably regret not booking for a weekend.  

Many of the little towns in the Cape became known due to missionaries being sent to isolated places to preach. Greyton is no exception and on 23 April 1738 a young missionary named George Schmidt arrived in Baviaanskloof in the Riviersonderend Valley.    Within a short while this dear man formed a small christian community amongst the almost extinct Khoi population who inhabited the area.  More about him and the history of Greyton can be found here.

The town's general architecture is extremely charming and we spent a pleasant few hours strolling around this pretty little town.  There seems to be quite a large resident community although quite a few houses are used as weekend breaks for the city folk, not surprising at all.

Art Galleries, Restaurants, a morning market (Saturdays) are but a few of the attractions.  

Let the photo's tell you of my day's impression.  Greyton's Tourism site seems pretty informative - have a look here for that.  

Perhaps its because I miss my garden of 20 years so much that the first 'picture' that jumped at me was this pink wall with the jasmine bursting over its side.  I adore jasmine and it reminds me of my love of gardening, of my mum and the knowledge that Spring will be here soon to end this cold winter of ours.  As I'm typing this, the smell of jasmine is flirting under my nose from a twig that I pinched.

Whimsy Cottage - pretty in pink

The Greyton Nature Reserve has quite a few trails.  We chatted to a few locals and the trails are a favourite for hikes and mountain bikers it seems.

The Gobos River was flowing quite strongly.  Note the highwater mark in the left of the pic - a reminder that nature is not to be taken for granted. Not in the picture is a gorge where the most of the water for this river originate.
A close-up below of the aftermath of the Gobos River in flood

Beauty in a gnarled piece of wood in the riverbed.  (I gave it a good tug - ever hopeful that it would willingly be dislodged - but it was still solidly attached to a tree I think).  

After our river inspection, we started to drive around, exploring all the corners of Greyton.  Later on, after frequent requests from me to stop for a photograph, we parked the car and strolled around for a few hours. Below a garden trolley of a bygone era poses kindly against a tree. Rather a heavy looking thinga-magig - was hoping to see the strong gardener who must have hooked it over that branch.

This street separates the town from the Gobos River.  (Before I finish this blogpost I hope to figure out what on earth the word Gobos could mean.  And does one pronounce it with the 'g' like in go or with an Afrikaans 'g' as in genade?  (Genade means grace by the way, and is the name of the tiny historical missionary town close by. Have a look here

The town is dotted with a lot of thatch cottages which I imagine was the building style generally used way back when.  The newer homes, fortunately, although not all thatch, are in keeping with the quaint and charming theme and I just loved to see who the colour blue was used often as a highlighting colour.  This door is a great example, as is the slate wall in front of this thatch house.

Many people were strolling to 'town'. I am not a professional photographer (as you'll see) but Greyton was so kind as to 'pose' for each picture making me feel like I am one.

Give me a blue door or a shutter any day.  Here, not only the blue door, but a magnifficent piece of artwork to frame it, a reminder of the creative talent in this town.

The trees were still sleeping.  Majestic oaks all over the town.  Can you imagine when they wake up?

If there was a song about blue doors and blue shutters - I'd sing it.

See what I mean?  I'm just in love with all of them.

Oh and when you think there's no more, you see something like this.

Through many parts 'leivore' run along the streets - channels to irrigate gardens.  This little bridge is built over one such 'leivoor'.

It must be magic to garden here - everything looks so lush and its not even spring.

What was that I said about still winter?  Look at this magnifficent magnolia below.  Oh, my weak-for-gardening heart!  Sigh .... don't go away - there's more.  By now we were getting hungry but didn't want to miss a thing!

So, up we strolled to the 'busy' section of town where there are many restaurants to tempt you.  
Can you see the beer sign?  And looks like some good hearty meals here.
We wandered past a 'big' intersection - clearly signposted for the town's activities.
... past the patient dog waiting for his human to return.
Popped into busy Searles where some locals were watching a rugby game.  It seems a popular place.
The decor inside has an old worldy charm.
A grand miniature doll house collection were on view.  
One hungry blogger's close-up pics not so great but you should get the idea.  Real masterpieces and speaks of hours of work.  The mastermind behind these incredible works of art is Norma Muscroft, a local resident. More about her story here.
Hope you can see enough of the detail of this tiny antique bedroom scene.  
We opted for something cozier and ended up at Abbey Rose where we had a light lunch.
I got the impression that they close early on a Saturday - but they were willing to serve us. 
Again, everything makes its own pretty picture - I just had to aim.
The Old Potter's Inn
Loved the 'mummy' statue
The winged statue
Another angle
The Railway House

I recognised her work the minute I walked into this tiny gallery.  Caroline Gibello.  I have only once seen her work in Cape Quarter and knew she was no ordinary photographer.  In her own words, she describes her work exactly as I experienced it: ...

"...the ability to capture or translate a moment in to an image that resonates with someone sufficiently that an emotive response is generated ..."

At the time I was supporting a friend who had since died of cancer.  We popped into see her son who was working at Cape Quarter at the time and we strolled around the centre.  Perhaps that is why I remember this 'emotive response' she talks about?  Anyway, Caroline's captured wildlife resonated with me.  How lovely to discover that she now has a gallery in Greyton as well.  This image is from her website:
Image from galleriagibello.com
See what I mean?  
I didn't take photo's inside the gallery (of course not) but took these two below on the message board outside.  Perhaps next time she'll be there?

A few more of the Greyton, its streets and houses

Loved this wall with the snowdrops.  Spot the daffodil?

The 'bigger' picture

There's that blue again

For sale!  I wonder .....
There is just SO much more to Greyton than these lovely cottages and one day is not enough to discover it.  Perhaps someone will invite us for a weekend to come explore further?  :)

Have you ever been to Greyton?  You should go, you know.

"The river's curious name is a corruption of "Ghô-bos", a Khoi word for the wild almond, Brabejum stellatifolium, the same tree Van Riebeeck used for his famous hedge on Wynberg Hill."
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  1. Dear Karin,

    Thank you for your kind words and for the lovely little description you added to your blog of my gallery and work - I am delighted that my work and cape quarter and greyton spaces have inspired you respectively……

    The Greyton gallery was actually looking very bleak that weekend because we had had a few biggish sales and the walls were empty and untidy!! Its subsequently been revamped and is full and pretty.

    Greyton is indeed a special place and I actually live here in between my travel sojourns and trips in to Cape Town now and then - it is pure delight living a simple, idyllic, village and country life - couldn't recommend it more strongly.

    Best wishes and have a wonderful week further.

    Love Caroline

    Caroline Gibello

    1. Thanks for taking the time to respond Caroline.

  2. Hello. I found your blog via a google search for Greyton as we are going there this weekend. It will be our first visit and I am so excited! It sounds and looks beautiful! Your lovely photos have only made me long for it more! Thank you for showing all the sweet places and houses. I too love blue shutters! There is something special about a sweet little house with blue shutters in a English country garden setting!

    1. Dear Bonnie - I'm so sorry for only responding now - I don't know how I missed your lovely comment. Thank you. Did you have a nice visit?

  3. Lovely pictures of the village we are longing to visit again. Coming over next August-September from Bali. We need to be with "our ain folk" and Greyton seems to have them.

  4. Dear Desmond - thank you for your visit to the blog. Have you been back? I always wonder what it is like living there.

  5. I think it's time for another visit to pretty Greyton.


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