Calicos Adventure: From Footsteps to Flight

In the Footsteps of Mahatma Gandhi — Father of the Nation
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From Theefontein the Barnards made their way to Stompe Hoek modern day Langebaan , over difficult sandy terrain, and then to Geelbek, where they were met by the Postholder, Jacobus Stofberg. Geelbek is at the southern end of Langebaan lagoon, which in turn is at the southern end of Saldanha Bay, as may be seen from the detail of an eighteenth-century map below in Tulbagh Church. The Barnards spent their time on the lagoon, and did not venture as far as Saldanha Bay itself.

One was dead, and one had been wounded in a wing. I wished to keep myself free from prejudice or plagiarism, to follow my own style and express myself in my own way, which I should have inadvertently departed from to adopt any thing else that I had liked better, the consequence is that I have not had the proper knowledge of many simple points necessary to set off from , and that my Journal is far less accurate , intelligent, or specious as to wisdom than it might have been had I copied from Journals already written, what in reality I ought to have copied.

Though other eighteenth and nineteenth-century travellers in the Western Cape have been better informed than Lady Anne Barnard, with more geographical, historical, and political knowledge, there is nonetheless an intellectual honesty in recognizing the limitations of her experience in this strange and new land—however much like the county of Fife it sometimes seemed to her to be—while she also embraced its newness and challenges.

Our afternoon at Geelbek was spent in a leisurely fashion. We explored the old house itself—tracing the story of its history and its owners from in documents, maps, and family trees decorating its walls, and learning about its restoration in the twentieth century bought up in by the South African Nature Foundation and its status as part of a West Coast National Park area dedicated to preserving the ecology and environment of this wild and wonderful part of the coast.

We explored the outbuildings, many of which would have been here—in earlier incarnations—when Lady Anne visited. We enjoyed an excellent late lunch at the restaurant at which we were then virtually the only customers , having an interesting conversation with the owner about her art collection. Then we set off back to Cape Town, by a more direct route than the Barnards, satisfied by our short but very engaging adventure in the footsteps of Lady Anne Barnard. On day three of our journey in the footsteps of Lady Anne Barnard in the Western Cape we planned to move fairly quickly along the slopes of the Langeberg, through the Breede River Valley, from east to north west, past Ashton, Robertson, Worcester, Wolseley to Tulbagh, where we had an appointment with Mr.

Calvin van Wijk, the manager of the Oude Kerk Volksmuseum.

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We were kindly received, but those running the farm now knew little about Lady Anne Barnard—here there was no local lore or inherited story about Lady as there were in other places—and after looking around the magnificent estate and house, we were on our way. Because the names of mountains passes, farms and villages have changed over the years, we were sometimes flying in the dark.

Tulbagh is a beautiful old town in the wine lands of the Western Cape, surrounded by mountains, graced with many fine, old Dutch buildings, and a town that attracts visual and performing artists, wine connoisseurs, and visitors from far and wide. Roysand had been cultivated by settler farmers in the early eighteenth century, and by the early nineteenth century had acquired many notable civic and domestic buildings—such as the church , the Drostdy , the old library, and private Dutch houses on Church Street.

In Tulbagh we met with Mr. But since they went to Roodezand, and since the church was one of the main buildings, they probably did visit it, and attend a service there, as they did in other locations on this trip. We were having difficulty identifying the mountain pass used by the Barnard party to reach Leeuwklip, given that the passes from Roodezand Tulbagh to Leeuwklip Saron had changed during the nineteenth century, and we discussed the various possibilities that have subsequently been clarified for us by an article on the Roodezand Pass by Joanna Marx in the VASSA Journal Vernacular Architecture of South Africa that Michael D found online more about this tomorrow.

We are grateful to Mr. Wijk, as we are to others on this trip, who took hours out of his work day to share his extensive local, historical knowledge and enthusiasm with us. In the late afternoon sunshine we strolled along the remarkable Church Street in Tulbagh—looking a little like a Hollywood set, in its perfection, but feeling also very real and immediate—admiring the many eighteenth and nineteenth-century Dutch houses, reading the architectural notes for each of the homes, and chatting to the residents and some workmen restoring one of the older buildings.

Our home for the evening was a spacious, comfortable, old fashioned guest house with solid, traditional furniture, works of art and antiques in every room, four-poster beds with deep soft linens, a large dining table at which we were served a sumptuous breakfast, private gardens and courtyards, and a swimming pool apparently closed for the season, but too tempting for the visitor from the northern hemisphere to resist.

This being the autumnal off-season, we were the only guests in the whole house.

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We were pressed for time. We stopped a few miles from The Oaks to see what is left of Het Ziekenhuys—a grotto in the hillside that was once a spot at which local farmers left sick animals. Our maps were not detailed enough to allow us to isolate individual farms along the Zonder End River at which the Barnards may have stopped.

We had an appointment with Mrs. Jamien Havenga and Mr. Johan Krieg at the Drostdy Museum in Swellendam and we pressed on.

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The Quarter. That the writer was successful in his attempt, the following pages will prove. At the town of Met, near Burnt Island, where his tomb still exists, he became the father of all the gentle blood and the only certain descent in the Somali country: by Magaden, a free woman, he had Gerhajis, Awal, and Arab; and by a slave or slaves, Jailah, Sambur, and Rambad. Within your hospitable walls my project of African travel was matured, in the fond hope of submitting, on return, to your friendly criticism, the record of adventures in which you took so warm an interest. Hosting 5 bedrooms, a spacious kitchen and open floor plan, your friends and family can truly enjoy what it is to vacation along the Crystal Coast. An overnight prepare excursion to Delhi. What if I were to travel for Christmas?

Swellendam, on the Breede River, is the 3rd oldest town in the country after Cape Town and Stellenbosch , named in for the then Cape Governor Swellengrebel and his wife Helena ten Damme. The Barnards arrived in Swellendam on Saturday May 12th. Lady Anne is especially warm and positive about Jacob van Reenen and his family, and about their reception at Slangrivier. The mouth of the Breede River visited with Jacob van Reenen. Furthermore, in Mrs. Indeed, the Barnards joined in extended conversation with van Reenen and his family rare in other locations due to the language barrier , while van Reenen told them stories about his romantic and remarkable life in Europe.

Havenga and Mr. Krieg and Mrs. Havenga then gave us a very detailed tour of the Drostdy and outbuildings …. It is furnished with a remarkable collection of late 18th century and early 19th century Cape furniture. The building today used as exhibition space in which Lady Anne slept in , a short distance from the main Drostdy ….

Still, the entries in her Diary made while in Swellendam are among the most engaging and informative, and Lady Anne also found time to sketch the people and the landscape, sketches that are among the most evocative in her oeuvre. For example, Lady Anne is struck by the new minister at Swellendam, Johann Heinrich von Manger , who had been actively involved in stirring up republican sentiment in Graaff-Reinet in the months before the surrender of the Cape to the British in , although the inhabitants of Graaff-Reinet were rebelling against all forms of imposed control, and not just that of the British.

Lady Anne is interested in Rev. Lady Anne is entertained by Rev. But her aversion to Rev. Nonetheless, she still seemed to offend the Rev. However, to some extent she compensates for this infelicity by expressing her interest in the inaugural sermon he was to preach in the room we visited at the Drostdy see images above. I must compliment him on that … In compliment to the Clergyman, to the Landrost—the company and the occasion I dressed myself a little as did Anne Elizabeth, the upper seats were left for us and we placed ourselves when the rooms were full.

How pleased I was to see this assembly … description could have given me no adequate idea of a Swellendam congregation… The Creatures voice was good, it was a Sermon longer than himself and from time to time he wept at his own eloquence. Barnard said he understood enough of it to think it was a proper one and well wrote. Swellendam was also a congenial place for Lady Anne to sketch, and she has left several very powerful and evocative representations of people and place:.

Still, she is able to capture the stunning geographical location of the Swellendam Drostdy and some of the outbuildings including the building in which she slept — on the right in the image below.

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We wonder what is to be made of the fact that Lady Anne draws the slaves from the front, enabling us to see their faces and perhaps to acquire some sense of their personalities, while she draws the white girls and the clergyman from behind. We concurred with these generous and appreciative sentiments, having been deeply impressed both by the the natural beauty of the Langeberg and with the kindness of all who had interested themselves in our activities. We were looking forward to a quiet dinner and some reading and blogging.

Our waiter in an orthography that left something to be desired noted on the bill the reasons for our having to pay in cash! Like us, the Barnards were pressed for time—we because of the number of venues we were trying to visit in only four days, the Barnards because they were concerned about the coming rains and the possibility of not being able to reach Swellendam.

In Genadendal, however, Lady Anne reflects curiously on the difficulty of drawing in the bright sunshine and in handling perspective from a height:. I put him between it and me, till such time as little Charles should reach me with my Umbrella…. The Sun was too vertical to give me the proper shadows, and I do not understand drawing from a height.

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However the sketch is just. He [the Father] was transported when I traced the Church Bell the erecting of it I saw had been a flattering Epocha in the calm tenor of time. But eventually the Barnard party took to the road in the direction of Swellendam, and so did Michael D and I.

Furthermore, her sense of the natural and abundant richness of this valley, and its openness to cultivation and enjoyment, is conveyed by her appropriation of resonant phrases and images from a famous poem by the great seventeenth-century poet and translator John Dryden:. This is a moment in the poem in which Dryden imagines the ancient musician Timotheus using his music to move the feelings of Alexander the Great to embrace and enjoy rather than to invade and destroy the abundance and beauty of the world before him:.

Softly sweet, in Lydian measures, Soon he soothed his soul to pleasures: War, he sung, is toil and trouble; Honour but an empty bubble; Never ending, still beginning, Fighting still, and still destroying; If the world be worth thy winning, Think, O think, it worth enjoying; Lovely Thais sits beside thee, Take the good the gods provide thee. Because of trip logistics we spent our first five days in Yankton, S. We started in DeSmet, S. As it turned out, DeSmet was a perfect place to start.

Visitors can ride a horse, drive a buggy, wash laundry in a tub, stretch out on a hay-stuffed pallet like the one Laura slept on, and, in a loft over the barn, learn about the ecology of prairie fires. Nothing beats the wagon ride to the schoolhouse, though, for its sheer immersive power. I knew we would encounter other Laura disciples on our pilgrimage, but I failed to imagine how many would be wearing their own calico bonnets.

For the record, I stuck with 21st-century garb, though I did buy bonnets for my daughters at the homestead gift shop. The show unfolds as the sun sets behind it, on property adjacent to the homestead, and draws an international audience. After the show, my 8-year-old joined the long line of starstruck fans waiting to score autographs from members of the cast.

Our final stop in De Smet was the pretty hilltop cemetery where Pa, Ma, and three of four daughters are buried, a single rose atop each stone the day we paid respects. What was it that made me love Laura so much? The same things, I suppose, that have made her books so enduringly popular, with 60 million copies sold in countries.

Decades later, I can still envision the attic in her Wisconsin log cabin, stocked to the rafters with provisions for the long winter. Of course, no visit to Ahmedabad would be complete without a textile purchase. Patola silk saris and Ahmedabad block-prints are prized. Ahmedabad - Baroda - Surat.

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Travelling south to Baroda, we arrive mid-afternoon. Perhaps stroll through Sayaji Bagh, a large green park housing a number of museums and planetarium. On day 11 we continue south to Surat on the banks of the River Tapti and visit to the Sultan of Gujarat castle built in Mahatma Gandhi, along with several thousand of his followers walked from Sabarmati Ashram to Dandi on the Gujarati coast. Today we follow this same path down to the water's edge.

Surat - Mumbai. Arrival to Mumbai and hotel check in. The later part of the day remains free for you to do as you please. Hotel check-out and included onward transfer to airport. We offer a range of exciting short stay itineraries which can be combined to create the perfect Indian adventure.

Take a look at our short stay section for inspiration or contact us for recommendations. If you're looking to get off the beaten track with the services of your own private guide, consider one of our unique private itineraries. Discover the fascinating culture of headhunting tribes in the north-east, ride in comfort on India's luxury trains or follow in the footsteps of Gandhi.

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