Tuesday, April 21, 2009

the road more travelled

Despite my reluctance to take that first step I am a good traveller.

I will walk miles along dusty streets without complaining, talk to strangers and sleep in my clothes when necessary.

I am fond of signs.

Unwritten ones that lie waiting like clues in a child's treasure hunt.

Not so very long ago my very own 'mr nielson', better known as Sid and I went walkabout on country roads.

We came upon a beautiful farm where workers were packing grapes the size of apples into boxes awaiting export to faraway lands. Next to the bustling grape shed was a little piece of farmhouse Tuscany surrounded by box hedges and agapantha paths. South Africans are both fond of and good at creating pockets of Europe in their backyard.

The friendly farmer took us inside to meet his very charming wife.

We enquired about the surrounding towns as a suitable destination for our evening's rest.

'Go to Koringberg' the friendly farmer's wife suggested, 'I went there years ago and it is the most wonderful dorp.'

And so we set off but not before the friendly farmer's wife gave us basketfulls of apple sized grapes!

Sid said to me, 'elle, there is a message waiting for us in Koringberg.'

We drove along the golden wheatfield roads with flocks of birds rising up before us. The sky was a brilliant summer blue and when we saw a huge cross standing tall on high ground we exclaimed ' A sign!'

And then there was Koringberg, a small patch of tiny houses amidst the quilted fields.

We turned down its dusty 'main road' and noticed a large wrought iron sign on a garden wall, believe it read. 'A sign!' we exclaimed again.

We turned left and then left again and came to the end of a little cul de sac.

It took a moment for me to realise that we had stopped right next to a small white cottage that I had read about that very morning in a magazine called 'House and Leisure'.

A sign!

I prayed it never meant we had to move to Koringberg.

It seemed strange to discover it there so unexpectedly, like a magazine pull-out come to life and if truth be told, it looked much less covetable crouched on its humble plot in the middle of nowhere.

Perhaps that was the message.

Not everything is as it appears and beneath the gloss, the things that we covet or yearn for are mere illusion.

And so we went to Riebiek Kasteel instead, happily feasting on delicious grapes and of course, we had the most romantic time.

Because you take yourself wherever you go...