Saturday, 10 March 2012

Pilgrims Rest

Pilgrim"s Rest is a small town in the Mpumalanga province of South Africa which has been declared a national monument. After it was officially declared a gold field in September 1873, it suddenly grew to 1500 inhabitants searching for alluvial gold. It was a real boom town and is said to have had street lights before London England. Quite an accomplishment for a small mining village somewhere near the end of the earth.

Mining was closed down in 1971 and the village sold to the government as a national museum. The town's original architecture remains largely unchanged since then.

All of the original buildings have been beautifully restored and turned into museums or curio shops. It is a real treat walking here. Surrounded by history. The Garage houses some old cars and motorcycles. I can not believe that these made it up the mountain we just came down!
Every visitor to the town is encouraged to have a drink at the Royal Hotel Bar. We simply had to follow tradition.
After more than a couple of drinks in the bar and an absolutely delicious lunch in the Hotel Restaurant we decided to spend the night in the Royal Hotel. Besides it was still raining outside and we did not feel like pitching our tent in the rain AGAIN!

Walking around after breakfast the following morning we came across the old Methodist Church where services are held every Sunday

Strolling though the old Graveyard we came across the old Robbers Grave. Emblazoned simply with a cross and the large type words of Robbers Grave. It is as the name suggests the grave of a robber who was convicted of stealing a tent from one of the miners. A tent represented a 'home' so was the most valuable of any of the individuals belongings. Stealing this tent was a most grievous crime and the punishment was meted out in the extreme. The young man was subsequently banished from the town.  A few days after his trial, the thief was spotted on the hill overlooking the town. Now known as Cemetery Hill, this is where the robber was shot, killed and buried. His grave was placed north-south to brand him a thief forever. All the other graves in the cemetery are oriented east-west.

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