Secunda To Clarens
So why is Clarens such a popular village? Is it because it boasts the Golden Gate National Park and is an artist's haven? Is it the fact that it's close to large cities - or do people just love it for its fascinating history? Whatever the reason, this little village will surely receive a visit from us again. Read more about 'the Jewel of the Free State' here: Clarens
On Friday morning, we got up to an overcast day with a very cold wind blowing. Christa went off to work and we decided if it started to rain we will go by car. At 10h30 Christa was back and the bikes were the preferred choice.
The N17 was a perfect route. But there was a slight breeze from the front and given we'd decided to go by bike, we turned off to Nigel and again at Heidelberg to get onto the N3. This put the wind behind us and we opened the throttles to cruising speed. The N3 started to straighten out. We passed the first tollgate (and doesn't it just make my blood boil to think that a bike supposedly causes the same damage to the road as a car with caravan - what a freakin' JOKE but yep, we have to pay.)
Back to the bikes...just past the first tollgate the wind picked up, hitting us from the side all the way past the second rip-off of a tollgate, the one to Harrismith. At the Ultra City, we stopped for petrol and a bite to eat. On a cold day, there's nothing better than a big T-bone steak and chips! We got back onto the bikes and the clouds pulled in, bringing rain with a very cold wind blowing in from the side. Thanks again to our OXFORD gear which kept us dry.
We turned off at Harrismith and made our way to the Golden Gate National Park. At this stage, it was still raining, and it was Christa's first ride in the rain too. She also took on some very sharp corners going through the Gate.
Riding through the Golden Gate in the rain, we truly appreciated it as a beautiful part of our country, with its rolling, rocky mountains, green fields and spectacular views. We took it very slow and even stopped in the rain for a picture. We arrived at our bed 'n breakfast cold, wet and dirty. Unavoidable really, given that most roads in Clarens are dirt roads.
After a hot bath we were ready for some chow and the River Walk Guest House owner recommended Clementine's Restaurant as the best in town. It's only a short walk from where we were staying - and, I can say with confidence, serves the best food.
The next morning we woke up to a perfect sky-blue morning. After a delicious breakfast, we walked to town and spent the rest of the day crawling from one shop to another to avoid too much exposure to the cold. As you can see in the photos, there was even snow on the mountains. That evening we went back to Clementine's. TIP - make sure you make a dinner reservation in Clarens before you leave home. This town hosts a lot of people over weekends and if you don't book a table, you are sure to be disappointed.
Sunday morning we packed early, had another great breakfast and hit the road. It was still cold and cloudy but luckily no rain. We made few more stops in the Golden Gate and then it was back to Harrismith. Harrismith to Villiers is a bit of a blur. At the Ultra City we stopped a bit longer, had something to eat, then headed home.
All-in-all, a great weekend. Thanks to my lovely wife for being my bike partner and just for being there with me to enjoy life.
See Ya On The Wire