Here in South Africa, our universities have just started lectures again for the Second Semester following the June/July holidays. Last semester was probably the busiest I’ve ever been in my life, so my 3-week break came as a welcome relief.
One of my favourite things to do during the holidays is to take a drive through the Midlands, exploring the various shops and restaurants along the way. This is something that I’ve been doing since I was about 6 years old, so it’s fascinating to see how the area has transformed over time.
Having said that, I am definitely guilty of sticking with my favourite places the majority of my trips. Among these places are The Blueberry Café at Blueberry Hill, and The Bierfassl. There are so many other places that I love to visit on my meanders, and I will definitely write about them in future posts, however for now I’m going to give these two gems the recognition that they deserve.
Situated along the R103 in Nottingham Road, you’ll find The Blueberry Café. As one drives through the entrance, all of one’s worries seem to miraculously disappear. The scenery that surrounds the venue is stunning, offering visitors a picturesque view of the surrounding farms and distant Drakensberg mountains. Once inside, the high ceilings and screed flooring hint at a renovated barn, offering patrons a comfortable, laid-back atmosphere. A large iron fireplace in the centre of the room keeps the restaurant nice and cosy in winter, while the concertina glass doors offer a breathtaking view and allow for fresh air in summer.
The restaurant has a variety of seating areas including traditional tables and chairs positioned around the edge of the room, a more relaxed seating area with couches around a coffee table near the fireplace, as well as a counter top and stools where one can sit and take in the view. One of my favourite areas of the venue is the bathroom. Initially one may be nervous as they walk through the bathroom door, faced with a giant window from the roof to the floor (rhyming unintentional). Have no fear though! As the window states – “Only the cows can see you”.
On this particular visit, we had one mission and one mission only: operation blueberry cheesecake. And it is the best darn cheesecake that you will ever eat I can assure you. I have it every time I go and it never gets old. The filling of the cheesecake is the perfect balance between sweet and tart, with the blueberry syrup dancing on your tastebuds. What I love the most about it is the cool freshness of the cake from being in the fridge, it’s like eating an ice cream and a cheesecake at the same time. The base is also beautiful, presenting a baked butteriness that’s hard to forget. I had mine with Five Roses tea that was served in a teapot that I am now completely in love with.
The other food on the menu is no less mind-blowing, however this day we had a long drive ahead of us, as we were travelling to Kamberg to get some information about hiking trails. Thus, I’ll definitely be doing a more in-depth review of Blueberry Hill and all it has to offer in a future post.
Next on our itinerary was Kamberg! This is an area that my parents used to take my younger brother and I to all the time. We camped there pretty much every year when I was in primary school. As we drove past the camping sites I used to go to as a child, floods of memories came rushing back. I learnt how to fish out there and how to make a fire. I helped farmers feed their lambs and collected pine cones for kindling. I also learnt how to ride my bike with no hands. In one (unusual) photo I can be seen riding my bike with no hands, whilst holding a chicken. This is not a joke. I’ll find it to prove it.
The drive was incredibly beautiful as always. As you drive in-between those mountains towering above you, they make you feel insignificant but enlightened at the same time. I don’t think there’s anything quite as refreshing for the soul than immersing yourself in nature like that. I find that life is becoming increasingly fast-paced, so I found such solace in that fresh air, in those mountains, taking in the silence. I implore you to visit this part of KZN more often if you don’t already – it’s like a doctor’s appointment for the soul.
By mid-day, the three weary travellers were starting to get hungry, and so we decided to pay a visit to an old favourite of ours’: Bierfassl. Bierfassl is an Austrian restaurant in Nottingham Road that has been around since before I can remember. It’s most famous for it’s Eisbein and wide selection of craft beers, however that day we each decided to have something different. The burgers looked incredible and were about the same size as a side plate. I was going to say a small child but I’ve been told I’m too dramatic.
I had the ribs, however I only realised that I hadn’t taken a photo of them once I had already finished them. I also decided to take the plunge and try a beer tasting paddle which ended up being one of my favourite things about that day. I’m not usually much of a beer drinker, I enjoy it, but I’m more of a gin and tonic kind of girl. These beers were really good though, made just down the road at Nottingham Road Breweries. I liked the fact that each one had a flavour and such unique characteristics. The paddle of beer is a definite must try for craft beer lovers everywhere.
And so, with full bellies and happy hearts we began our journey home. There’s nothing quite like a road trip to regroup and unwind.