Sunday, July 11, 2010

Chasing snow

This morning to beat the winter blues, we decided that if the weather does not want to play along then we will make the best of it instead. Seeing that snow was predicted, we thought that it might be a good idea to go snow chasing. This basically meant that we were going to find a place where we can actually touch it. Most South Africans never have the opportunity to see or touch snow, and when it is snowing in South Africa, the only place where you might find it is on mountain peaks. The problem usually is to get up there, so I wasn't very optimistic when we left the house and headed towards Stellenbosch. When my son started complaining about getting too warm in the car, I knew that out chances of seeing snow today was very slim.

When we passed Stellenbosh I could see that the only peaks that was covered in snow was absolute unreachable, but instead of heading back home we decided to keep continuing on our trip to Ceres. On our way towards Paarl we decided to stop at Fairview wine farm. This was just to take a break and to let my son run around for a while. Sitting in a car for long periods is not what he prefers to do on a Sunday. There I took some pictures of the goats on the the little tower which is like the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Everybody has seen this in every book and on every TV channel, and you can find pictures of it everywhere, but everyone who stops there for the first time cannot help but to take a few pictures. I did the same. I was actually more interested in the sign that said "Swimming prohibited, crocodile breeding dam", but I knew this was only a lame excuse to keep people from swimming in the little dam. I send my wife to go see if everything was fine and later on she and my son was posing for pictures like any normal family would do on a Sunday-trip to nowhere.

After having some ginger beer at Fairview, we headed towards Ceres. By this time I knew for sure that if we are going to see anything today that's interesting, that it would NOT be snow. It was now a nice and sunny day. So we passed Ceres and just carried on driving towards Tulbagh. My son fell asleep but woke up when we had to stop to fill up. The only exciting thing that I knew was still on our way was the Nuwekloof Pass. There I was hoping to take some pictures of the old road and the railway line that was cutting through the mountains. On our way towards the pass, I saw a train approaching the pass. I pointed it out to my son who got really excited about seeing a train on Sunday (my wife always tell him that trains don't run on Sundays as we never see any on Sundays). Knowing that this would probably be the only thing today that would impress him and not wanting to disappoint him, I put my foot on the petrol and raced towards the pass hoping that I might find a nice spot to park and have enough time to take some pictures. I was in such a hurry that I actually drove passed the pass. The train passed us after I turned around and what was supposed to be a chase after snow then turned into in a chase after a train. I never knew that trains are so fast. Not the South African ones at least. Hoping to get the Daddy-of-the-Day Award, I was determined to get to a place where I could take a nice picture of the train, and to get my son to see it as it passes.

We sped past Gouda and The Voelvlei Dam in search of a place to stop and catch the train. When I eventually saw a turn-off towards a railway crossing, I jumped out with the camera and waited for the train which was fast approaching. My wife took my son out of the car while I was frantically trying to get the camera ready. I managed to get some pics, but all with the wrong settings. So this picture was a edited to actually make the train visible. My son and wife was happy with the view they got, but for me, all I was happy about was the fact that I could find a place for him to see the train. I didn't get the Daddy-of-the-Day Award, but got that feeling only a dad knows when he does something nice for his son. Thinking back now, I wonder who was more excited about catching the train, me or him...?

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