Monday, April 27, 2009

Weekend Away

Friday there was great excitement as we set off for a much needed weekend away . We went to Montague, ,just 186km away from home. The children had never been there before but Eric and I have fond memories of a weekend in that area before we had children. It was great to take them to a place they had never been to before.

We took a slow drive, enjoying the scenery and stopping for coffee along the way. Just before we entered Montague the children were amazed by the little tunnel in the rocks with a British Fort on top dating back to 1899 , the second Anglo Boer war. We have just finished studying that period in our South African history so it had some meaning for them. I was amazed at the rocks on the mountainside and the way they stood up almost vertically. The scenery was just incredible.

We arrived at the campsite and the heavens opened. It was a little daunting but as soon as there was a break in the rain , we set up our tent for the weekend. Friends arrived later in the day and we all enjoyed a braai for dinner.

The highlight of the weekend was our trip to the nearby hot springs on a cold and rainy Saturday. The surrounding mountains are magnificent and it was amazing to be lying in that hot water amid such beauty . The steam rose off the water giving an almost mystical feeling .I have not felt so relaxed in a long time and spent many hours enjoying the warm water on the cold and rainy day. I had time to connect with J as we lazed in the water and had meaningful conversations. He said I was like a little kid enjoying myself...I was!

View of the hot springs.

Eric and the kids enjoying the hot springs.

Here is a little history on the springs:
History tells us that a 'Trekboer' (Pioneer Farmer) had injured his hand whilst repairing the wheel on one of his ox wagons and whilst bathing the hand in a stream nearby, discovered that the water was warm and decided to trace the stream to it's origins....the hot springs had been discovered! Allegedly the Farmer's hand, after repeated bathing in the water, healed in no time at all & the news of this "miracle spring" quickly spread throughout the Cape Colony. People started coming from all over the country (and world) to experience this natural wonder for themselves.......
However, based on the fact that there are various Khoi (Bushman) drawings on rocks and in caves in the greater Montague area, one can safely assume that the springs were most certainly known to these people for hundreds, of years before the aforementioned "discovery" and as such the real date of the origin of the spring is lost in the mists of time.
During "modern times" the spring and the land surrounding it has had a varied history and over the years , has changed hands many times with various owners putting it to different uses.
Since 1982, these springs are now part of the Avalon Springs Spa Resort Hotel and the springs are as natural and perfect as they have always been...
Bursting from a fissure in the rock face, in a cavern some 5 meters underground, these waters have healing powers which have yet to be fully understood. The water comes to the surface at a constant 43ºC and the by virtue of the fact that the rate of flow is unaffected, even by the worst droughts that the area has experienced, it is obviously coming from very deep down, with an estimated depth of the source at about 3kms. By virtue of the fact that the water is 100% clear & clean with a near perfect Ph when it reaches the surface and it contains a number of minerals, chemicals & other trace elements, as well as being mildly radio active, it is obviously undergoing natural filtration and picks up properties of the various rock strata that it is being forced through.
This "natural perfection" allows Avalon Springs to pump the water directly into the various available pools and spa baths WITHOUT treating, or in ANY WAY changing it, and as such visitors are able to enjoy these waters in their most natural form. For hygiene reasons the water is of course chlorinated, but by virtue of the fact that the water is NOT recycled and is continuously drained off into the river that flows past the property you are ALWAYS enjoying a natural wonder at it's finest...

We returned that evening for more of the hot springs, but sadly cut our night time swim short as K got a nasty cut on her toe.

Another thing I love , is to bring home some special treats from the places we visit. There is a fantastic farm stall in Montague where I bought a whole lot of treats to enjoy in the coming weeks....dried mango, apricots, sun dried tomatoes, banana chips, pumpkin seeds, honey and other yummy things.

Home is where the heart is and it is wonderful to be home safely and all wrapped up in my winter gown, surrounded by my family and looking forward to the arrival of my mum tomorrow!

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