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Bingo! Come play with us…

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Bingo!
Join the Prince Albert Microadventures Challenge

Follow the course of the LeiwaterDance in the RainEnjoy aSunrise Walk on the KoppieWrite a few lines & release your inner poetTaste some fresh figs
Ride, walk or hike the Swartberg PassRead a Book about Prince AlbertHave pan- cakes at the Saturday MarketSit quietly by a little stream and listenGreet tortoise, klipspringer & dassie
Gofora Coffee RideHow many different species of birds can you meet?page1image18569104Have a Prince Albert Artist’s DateTry some local olives and virgin oil
Discover the PACT/Pop- CentreSmell the Sunset at Mile 5Find Falco’s ElephantsDance with the Prince Albert VastrappersVisit Gamkaskloof
Learn something newona Nature WalkCelebrate locally crafted cheeseMeet the Karoo Mermaids (@ the Museum)Get goosebumps on the Ghost WalkCount the stars on a moonless night

Let us know how it goes! Share your pictures with us!

@microadventures_pa @tourism_pa & @princealbertexperiences

For more ideas have a look at
The Great Little Book of Prince Albert Microadventures or enquire at the Prince Albert Tourism Office!

The World in Books

I’ve always enjoyed playing with maps. Here the latest result:

There are still so many places to see, so many things to do! Let’s see where our reading journeys take us in the next three months…

So far, I have my eyes on London, Barcelona and Namibia. We’ll see…

Where have you been traveling through books this year? Let us know!

Tortoise and Hare

… or how to keep moving in global pandemic.

A hybrid Bike’n Hike from Keurbooms to Kirkenes
From the southern edge of Africa to the north-eastern corner of Europe
Touching the Indian and the Arctic Oceans
A literal & literary journey of a good few thousand kilometres
With abundant room for real and imaginary detours.

A journey on foot (the Tortoise) and by bicycle (the Hare). A fusion of real movement and virtual progress; of advancing on the map while counting kilometres locally in real life; of analogue and digital adventures. Tortoise and Hare walk, run, hike or bike every single kilometre wherever they can, moving through space and time, while heading north on a virtual globe. Embracing lockdown blues, wanderlust and ‘Fernweh’ (a yearning for far-off places; the opposite of homesickness) while giving the limited radius of local exercise and wanderings some direction; a journey of the mind, while harnessing the joy of movement and adapting travel to new dimensions; letting head and soul explore regions where the body – at this point in time – can’t go. 

Tortoise & Hare have dipped their toes into the Indian Ocean at Keurbooms Beach – and are now tracing their virtual journey on real maps across the continents to the Seas of the North, hoping to eventually be able to really get their feet wet in the icy waters of the Barents Sea. They plan their progress as if they were cruising along in real life, choosing back roads over highways, passing small towns and big cities, crossing rivers and deserts, wandering and wondering. Short term goals, the next destination only a few hundred kilometres ahead, break up the adventure into manageable steps, making a seemingly impossible distance eminently bike’n-hike-able.

“It always seems impossible until it’s done.” – Nelson Mandela

Books, their stories and characters are companions, travel mates and inspiration along the route, giving depth to and supplementing the journey. A substitute for real life encounters with people that Tortoise & Hare can’t meet while advancing virtually, they’ll create mental pictures instead of photographs, leave a trail of memories along the route and allow for connections across land and sea.

Like most ideas, Tortoise & Hare’s Bike’n Hike didn’t sprout out of nowhere, but has grown out of a vast sea of influences, inspirations and intentions; it is sailing on an entire cosmos of concepts, memories and visions, often hard to trace back. There is Aesop’s ancient fable of “The Tortoise and the Hare” (persistence wins!), Zeno’s paradox of “Achilles and the Tortoise” and the more recent tale of “The Hare and the Hedgehog”. 

Most definitely though, Tortoise & Hare have taken a leaf out of Pete Reinders’s book: much-admired Karoo Microadventurer, local celebrity and soft-scraper extra-ordinaire, he walked the entire distance from Prince Albert to Cape Town (400 km) during lockdown, 5 km at a time.
Follow Tortoise & Hare on their journey, 
Help them along with suggestions for
Landscapes to see,
Places to visit &
Books to read!

Join Tortoise and Hare!

Choose a destination – wherever in the world you’d like to go – And run, hike or bike the kilometres until you’ve covered the distance. Let us know how it goes!

info@peppertreechronicles.com

P.S. if this sounds a little too complicated, let me try again in not so many words:

During these month of lockdown and travel restrictions, I’ve been getting a little bored of doing all the cycling and walking around the same routes all the time. To keep on exercising, I tried to make it more interesting by imagining I was actually going somewhere, such as on a long trip.

So every time I walk or ride my bike, I count the kilometers and then trace them on the map, every time a little further. I have biked and hiked around 440 km already from the beach at Keurbooms, which I used as starting point.At the same time I’m trying to learn as much as possible about the countries  I’m ‘traveling’ through, and am planning to read books set there and written by local authors.

I know it’s a bit of a mad idea, but it just makes doing the same rounds a bit more exciting – and keeps on motivating me to keep on moving…

info@peppertreechronicles.com

The Great Little Book of Prince Albert Microadventures

It was a bit of a rush to the finish line, and then what felt like an eternal wait, but on 23 December, three boxes of books finally arrived. Imagine the excitement!

Immediately, they started to spread their wings and landed under many a Christmas tree in sunny Prince Albert. They also found good company in no time…

At the Watershed Art Gallery in Church Street, Prince Albert http://www.watershedprincealbert.co.za
At the Prince Albert Gallery http://www.princealbertgallery.co.za
And at the wonderful Prince Albert Library, here with librarians Cato and Reinie.

Dennehof Karoo Guesthouse http://www.dennehof.co.za has opened the door to Prince Albert Microadventures, and so have the Prince Albert Tourism Office, the Fransie Pienaar Museum in Prince Albert, Prince of Africa Shop on the Hotel stop, Lah-di-dah – the fêncy padstal, Tannie Marie’s shop at Gay’s Dairy and African Relish.

Some copies have even found their way to Bokmakiri Bookshop on Swellendam, the Knysna Book Exchange http://www.knysnabookexchange.co.za and last but not least, Clarke’s Bookshop in Cape Town http://www.clarkesbooks.co.za . Incredibly grateful for everyone’s support!

The Great Little Book of Prince Albert Microadventures is, by default, a very local book. Nonetheless, it has taken off to reach the world and has metamorphosed into various ebook-incarnations. Find it on Apple Books, kindle , kobo , tolino and all the other usual suspects. So even if you’re on the other side of the world, you can now dream of and read about Prince Albert Microadventures. The Great Karoo is looking forward to your next adventurous visit!

To find out more or order your copies directly from the author, contact info@peppertreechronicles.com

Thank you!

COMING SOON!!!

Microadventures are for everyone – young and old, tall or small, fit or funky. Pull up your socks and get out of your comfort zone. Discover gorgeous views and endless vistas; feel the silence, listen to the wind and greet the sun. Meet the tortoise and the kudu. Connect with nature and your inner adventurer; open your eyes & meet the people – have loads of fun!

Prince Albert has a lot to give: Swartberg Mountains, Karoo Space and lots of blue sky; gentle walks and exhilarating descents; dry waterfalls, trails of wonder and a colourful cast of local characters. Heaps of cultural history and a thriving, caring community. 

By purchasing this book, you are giving R5 each to the Prince Albert Tekkie Fund (PACT) and the Piccolos Project. 

Contact us for more information!

The World in Books – 2018

“Books are the plane, and the train, and the road. They are the destination, and the journey. They are home.” —Anna Quindlen

Each book is a journey through space and time, allowing a glimpse into other worlds and their stories. A possibility to discover new countries, continents, universes. An opportunity to connect with different, often parallel lives, to visit new horizons, and perhaps to understand just a little more about the world we live in – and about the human condition.

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“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” —Dr. Seuss

It is, perhaps, a never-ending journey, because after all, to paraphrase Einstein, the more we learn, the more we realize how much we don’t know.

In 2018, books have taken me to various corners of the world in a somewhat haphazard, random way; much less organized and systematic, yet at the same time much more spontaneous, than any real journey could ever dream to be. Some allowed me to venture along new roads, while others made for discoveries of the unknown along well-trodden paths. Each and every one was a little miracle, or, in the words of Stephen King, a piece of uniquely portable magic.

There was, I realize now, a concentration of books written and set in Northern Europe, mostly crime novels, but not all. They took me to Norway (Joern Lier Horst), Iceland (Ragnar Jonasson) and Sweden (Cilla and Rolf Bjoerlund), while a little real-life trip to Aarhus and its phenomenal bookshops opened my eyes to the Danish world – Helle Helle, Elsebeth Egholm and Dorthe Nors (Mirror, Shoulder, Signal).

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In the footsteps of a penguin I travelled to Argentina (Tom Michell – The Penguin Lessons), while I visited the USA through the eyes of Richard Ford (Canada), John Steinbeck (Of Mice and Men) and Harper Lee (To Kill a Mockingbird). I was fascinated by “Educated”, the memoir of Tara Westover, and it was an American writer, Paulina Simmons, who invited me to explore Leningrad during the harrowing times of WW 2.

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Familiar ground was trodden in Germany (Jan Seghers, Juli Zeh), Portugal (Jose Saramago) and Spain, where I found myself exploring the Basque Country through the novels of Eva Garcia Sáenz de Urturi (Trilogía de la Ciudad Blanca) and Fernando Arumburu (Patria). There was a Dolores Redondo book set in Galicia (Todo Esto Te Daré), and Benito Olmo took me to the streets of Cadiz in Andalucía (La Maniobra de la Tortuga).

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The two French authors I had the pleasure to discover were Christine Féret-Fleury (Das Mädchen, das in der Metro las) and Laetitia Colombiani, whose story “The Braid” took me to India, Italy and to the US. Again to Italy, this time its northern parts, I ventured with Paolo Cognetti (The Eight Mountains), as well as Jan Morris (Trieste and the Meaning of Nowhere).

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With Murakami I escaped to Japan (Killing Commendatore) while another Japanese author, Yoko Tawada, took me to Berlin (Memoirs of a Polar Bear).

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And then there was Africa. I was introduced to the Angolan author Ondjaki, who took me to his street in Luanda (Os da Minha Rua), and greatly entertained by Oyinkan Braithwaite from Nigeria and “My Sister the Serial Killer”. Mongane Wally Serote’s classic about the Southern African struggle for liberation, “Scatter the Ashes and Go”, was a journey in time as well as in space.

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Last but not least, here a quote from one of my favourite book journeys in 2018, which took me to Zimbabwe:

“There was a freedom, beauty even, in that kind of knowledge. It was the kind of knowledge that finally quieted you. It was the kind of knowledge that allowed you to fly.” – Siphiwe Gloria Ndlovu, “The Theory of Flight.”

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The journey continues; may we never stop learning!

P.S. The early days of 2019 have taken me to explore the Azores with Joel Neto: Meridiano 28

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Encounters #6 Swallows – Andorinhas

“True hope is swift, and flies with swallow’s wings.” – William Shakespeare

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If it’s true that one swallow does not make a spring, as Aristotle already knew, does it then mean that many swallows do make summer?

That should mean that wherever I go in Portugal, there’s eternal summer, for the swallows are everywhere. Blue and red, yellow or black. In one iconic shape but all sizes. On electrical wires, walls and fridges.

For a long time I just accepted their existence, saw them, liked them, felt that their presence made me happy. Until, only recently I found out that there’s more to their existence, here in the land of fado and saudades, of big waves, green wines and explorers of the worlds gone by.

According to local legend, swallows – or andorinhas, as they are called here –  are symbols for family and home; the place for which they always have saudades, to which they always return. Also, very romantically, they find a single partner for life and thus have become symbols for love, loyalty and faithfulness.

In the 1890s, the Portuguese artist Rafael Bordallo Pinheiro, one of the most influential people of his time, started to design and produce little colorful swallows in his ceramics factory in Caldas da Rainhas in Central Portugal. Quickly, his handcrafted beautiful birds gained popularity, and the exchange of swallows, not only between lovers, has become a token for harmony, happiness and prosperity in the home.

And, of course, seeing them in real life, they are simply, magically beautiful, and, after all, they do bring the summer.

Thank you, swallows! – Obrigada andorinhas!

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This picture comes from https://www.facebook.com/lis.goncalves.art/

A little Arctic Adventure

Sitting on the Inlandsbanan somewhere in the middle of nowhere in Swedish Lapland and heading south, I am saving my legs a good thousand kilometers of riding through forest and wilderness. A pity perhaps, but sometimes time, although elastic, is of the essence and choices have to be made.

Inlandsbanan in Gällivare

Crossing the Arctic Circle

But let me start at the beginning – of which I’m not exactly sure where to find it. Where did the idea come from to start the northern section of my European bicycle adventure in Tromsø, the so-called Paris of the north? I think it had to do with a book, as usual. In this case, if I remember correctly, it was one of Judith Herrmann’s short stories that was set in Tromsø in “Nichts als Gespenster” or “Nothing but Ghosts”.


And, I wanted to start at a place north of the arctic circle, from where i had access to the islands of northern Norway, and from where i could reach Kiruna. Because that original plan of riding from Kiruna to Cadiz was still bouncing around in my head.

So at the beginning of August I found myself on a plane from tropical Berlin via cool Oslo to chilly Tromsø – and immediately liked it. I loved exploring the town for a day, finding the treasure trove the Perspectivet Photographic museum is and dodging hordes of German, Dutch and Swiss tourists released from the Hurtigruten Cruiseship. The following day I set off. Around Tromsø island, over the first one of those impressive bridges that link a lot of the northern Norwegian islands, across to Kvaloya. Called it a day early when I came across a most pleasant place to stay, where I was treated to some local Norwegian wisdom and hospitality. And the waffles were just delicious!


An early departure the next morning lead to an hour of heavenly cycling. The sun was out, no cars in sight, just some arctic vegetation, chirpy birds and spectacular views.


Onto the ferry to Senja, which now has become one of my favourite cycling destinations. It just doesn’t get much better. A different, more spectacular view around each corner, blue skies, white beaches, arctic ocean, high cliffs and impressive mountains.


And then, of course, there were the tunnels. Oh my word, the tunnels. Although i was equipped with lights and a reflective vest, although there was a button to push at the entrance, which then would alert drivers to a ‘cyclist in the tunnel’, and although the traffic was minimal and mostly very respectful, i felt my body tense every time I had to enter one of the dark mouths in the mountainside. Some were narrow, others dark and the worst went uphill for two kilometres at 8%! But they say it’s good to face your demons and challenge yourself at times…

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The reward – a sunny evening in picturesque Gryllefjord.


Thank you Senja!

Happy Birthday Bicycle!

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Happy Birthday, dear Bicycle!

200 years! That’s quite a feat, yet you seem to be as young and sprightly as ever; aging well and always open to change and improvement…

I’ll never forget the day we met for the first time. I had seen you before, but when you knocked on our door on my 5th birthday, I was over the moon. At first my relationship with your green little self (it was before the days when everything girly had to be pink!) was a little wobbly and needed some support, but soon we ditched the spare wheels and started to go for a ride of a life-time. I still see myself cruising around in circles in the yard, reveling in the sheer joy of speed and movement and feeling the wind in my hair (it was also long before helmets!).

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Fast forward a few years, and your silver incarnation, equipped with a 3-speed torpedo gear system, roadworthy and thus quite a ‘serious’ bicycle, had become my daily companion on the way to school, to afternoon sport or to see friends. I’ll always appreciate the independence and freedom I gained, let alone the precious minutes in the morning, when I could delay getting up because I knew I could make up for it by pedalling harder. There was many a frosty winter morning when I arrived in the classroom with my fringe frozen from the condensation of my breath.

Do you remember our first real adventure together? It was just too exciting – a three day bike tour through the summery forests, organized by the local sports club. My friend and I were so desperate to go, that we lied about our age. Minimum was 12 years, after our pleading they lowered it to 10, and we just didn’t tell anybody that we were only 9 at the time. We had so much fun! And I think it was then that I really realized the potential that was hidden within your steel frame and turning wheels.

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Over the years there have been many successors in a variety of shapes and colours; there was the green racing snake my grandmother had won in a crossword competition and which she didn’t really want because it wasn’t quite lady-like enough; a purple city bike with a bow frame, which I used to commute to university and which involuntarily found a new owner; that first mountain bike I just had to get to impress a friend I had a serious crush on. Then the golden Kona which became my first ‘work vehicle’ and which has not only carried me up and down many a steep mountain, but also tidied me over some tough times, and last but not least the slightly dull grey touring bike with the fancy back suspension and the auspicious name of “Steppenwolf”.

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Dear Bicycle, I really appreciate that over the years you have helped me save a lot of roubles (in petrol money) and that you enticed me to stay fit without having to the gym. You made me realize that I wasn’t made of sugar, or, in other words, didn’t melt away in the rain, and quite how much I love moving freely in the great outdoors. You gave me work and joy, and you allowed me to explore new regions – and later on countries and then continents – at the speed of thought.

You took me on journeys from the end of the world to the beginning of time. I learned from you that looks and colour don’t matter, that we, just like you, come in all shapes and sizes. Pedalling hard, I wrote entire books in my head, worked through personal issues, solved the world’s problems and started to appreciate the pleasures of an uncluttered, simple life.

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More than anything though I appreciate that you gave me freedom; the freedom to move independently at an early age, the freedom to explore my own boundaries, the freedom of thought by literally widening my horizons, and finally the freedom that only trust and belief in one’s own abilities affords. You made me happy and for this I am grateful!

So here is to the next 200 years of freedom, happiness, joy and diversity! Viva!
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Finally done and dusted…

Peppertreechronicles proudly presents:

The HEALING RHINOS AND OTHER SOULS audiobook!

Experiment/adventure/challenge #1 for this year has been concluded! And after much sweat and tears this labour of love is ready to hit the shelves…


Hardcopies are 100% locally produced and available on CD in MP3 or Audio-Format.


To make the 2 MP3-CDs presentable was relatively easy, but what challenge to find a way to package the 8 CDs in audio-format!


I count myself extremely fortunate to have found a superb co-narrator with exactly the right voice to read Walter’s part and an exceptinally professional producer who was prepared to put excessive amounts of time and effort into this production.

 A HUGE THANK YOU TO BOKKIE -THE VOICE-


and to FARAI from CABIN AUDIO in Prince Albert.

And now? What’s next?

I’m still not 100% sure how to go about the digital publishing. ACX seem out of bounds at the moment, since they are only available to authors in the US and UK – and more recently apparently in Ireland and Canada.

Does anyone have any experience with Author’s Republic or any other audiobook distribution site?

What do you think of perhaps serializing or podcasting the book?

I have heard (thank you Joanna Penn from the Creative Penn!) that some more changes are expected in the audiobook publishing scene?! And I am a little reluctant to sign up with anybody for 7 years, it seems a terribly long time. Any thoughts on that?

Let me know what you think! Would love to hear from you!