I am feeling nostalgic and somewhat homesick. The northern hemisphere is getting colder and darker – it’s almost impossible to wake up at 06:00 when it’s still pitch black outside! Coffee is the only incentive! Coffee is the answer! Coffee is the ruler of them all!
I highly doubt that I’d be feeling this way if I just avoided all of those #summertime images emerging on social media. I am here trying to protect my used-to-be-fresh lungs. Let’s not even talk about blue skies, I don’t remember the last time I saw blue skies.
I digress! About South Africa’s playground, the warmest place to be. The place where you could be called bru or razzo depending on who you are talking to. A place where you’ll need to lay on cold tiles on Christmas Day because you’ve got the itis (maagies vol, ogies toe) — too hot to be ON a bed, too hot to be outside. A place where you avoid the beaches because you just don’t want to see the inlanders ogling the sea in their crocs and speedos. (Note: you rarely see Durbanites in speedos – come on, no one wants to see that). A place where the majestic mountains and sultry beaches are less than 3 hours apart!
As a born and bred Durbanite, we take the overall beauty for granted. We have friendly people, amazing cafes, pleasant weather all year round (yes, that humidity is appreciated when you’ve lived in Harbin, where smiling almost cracks your skin), minimal air pollution, and a better standard of living (slow paced, affordable and we’ll do everything ‘just now’). I mean, we even have people that wear stokies at noon…in public!
About the favourite things…
Markets, Markets, Markets
Saturday mornings are synonymous with markets. There is a market for everyone; I remember going to the Essenwood Markets when I was still in high school. Of course, not to really buy anything in particular but to actually just enjoy the outdoors, to browse around the stalls and to eat freshly made pancakes. I do have two favourites – the I Heart Market and the Shongweni Farmers Market! The I Heart Market has been going on for some years and it’s one of my favourite ways to spend a morning. It is the only place (besides airports) where it has been acceptable to have a cold beer with your breakfast. Having a Robson’s cherry beer with my scrambled eggs just sounded…right! I often spend way too much money buying feel-good things. There was a time where I was really trying to shop locally! I was buying my clothes from local designers and dressmakers; expensive, yes but think about the carbon footprint and just supporting the local economy. I love handmade, homemade soaps by Rondavel (Milk and Honey is just my absolute favourite) and massage/bath oils by Bare Naturals! The whole vibe is just positive and a way to start the morning!
I moved up to Hillcrest/Gillits before I moved to China and this meant that I really didn’t feel like driving all the way to Durban for a market or I just wanted to keep it local on the other Saturdays. The Shongweni Farmers Market is the ultimate morning market for all of those market goers. There’s sometimes some live music, the fresh produce and plants are something that the I Heart Market doesn’t really have. Both of these markets are often heaving with people so parking can be a struggle but they are just so so worth it! Family friendly, vibey, supporting the local economy and amazing breakfasts! I could have breakfast at every meal. Really.
Meet up for a coffee?
If it’s not water, it’s coffee. Or, wine. Or, gin & tonic. I do like a nice gin. However, coffee gets me out of bed in the morning. I have 3 favourites in Durban! I get my beans/ground coffee from Colombo Coffee in Durban North. I still use my trusted French press for my morning fix so getting really good beans is just the cherry on top!
Such delicious coffee! Coffee and poached eggs?? Whoa!! Have you ever had seconds for breakfast? Okay, no, neither have I but the thought did cross my mind when I had a perfect cappuccino and poached eggs combo at Ciao Bella Cafe on Point Road (Mahatma Gandhi Road).
No, it gets better! Coffee and freshly baked bread! I can’t even make this up! These places exist in Durban. I love the potato and rosemary loaf because carb on carbs makes the heart giddy! You can even stop over here before work, hiking adventure or gym (haha) because they open at 06:00am! Yes, it is the Glenwood Bakery! Best freaking coffee and bread combo in Durban.
East Coast Breweries
My family has moved to the South Coast – beautiful, green, less populated and has heaps of hidden gems. The East Coast Breweries is one of those gems! They have pizza Fridays! Craft beer or gin (yaaassss!), live music and pizza on a farm in Umkomaas! Yes, yes, yes! Also, I will confess that I went straight for the 1-litre gin cocktail jug. Friday sundowners. Come on! The overall vibe is very relaxed, it’s a South Coast thing. Two siblings joined our table as it got a little crowded, we chatted away until they had to leave to look after a sickly mother. Sharing a snippet of our lives and laughing with complete strangers! It’s all part of exploring!
The Oyster Box
Here is a splurge! I am a frugal person but I also like decadence every now and then. This place…a strange colonial feel at first but you get into the 6-star service very quickly! Charlize Theron has stayed here amongst other celebrities – it’s the Oyster Box! The lighthouse is Instagram worthy and so are their cocktails. Actually, even the parking lot is fantastic! I asked the waiter if they had gluhwein on the menu and he didn’t really know what I was talking about. This is Durban though…it’s normally warm and sunny but this particular evening, it was nippy and windy and downright miserable and something warm and spicy seemed fitting! Anyway, 30 minutes later, the head chef decided to put something together especially for me. It was delicious! The high tea is also what everyone raves about – crustless cucumber sandwiches and pastries!
Okay, I need to stop writing or I might just start crying! Durban is such a beaut!
What do you like about Durban?