I was promised a brief respite from the cold Karoo with a few days idling in Durban to enjoy their mild and sunny winter weather. That lasted all of one day before the skies opened and the rains came tumbling down. And it rained, and it rained, and it rained. It was also cold.
However all was not lost as we discovered several great places to eat and drink, an artisanal distillery and the Kwazulu Natal Art gallery. We did also manage a walk through the beautiful botanical gardens before the deluge began.
One of our fabulous finds was Old Town, Italy which to quote their publicity is an “authentic Italian market” and that it is. An emporium filled with all things Italian including a fine restaurant – indeed a foodie heaven! Eating lunch it felt like we had been transported to the country itself which was a good enough reason to while away the afternoon there. A few hours (and many rands) later we left armed with liqueurs, wine and cheeses to fight off the cold winter’s night.
Sunday morning dawned, not bright and cheery as hoped, but grey and murderous with rain still teeming from the skies. A friend had told us about a weekly indoor food market that has become very popular so we headed out to investigate. Eager to be out of the rain, we ran for the nearest entrance, which of course was the wrong one but being blissfully unaware we found signs to “follow the music”, which we did!
Up a few flights of stairs, always following the music, we arrived on the top floor and into Distillery 031. The area is open plan with the distilling equipment behind a glass partition and the bar/dining area spreading into the rest of the space. As it was brunch time, we were entreated to try their house speciality – a “biltong Bloody Mary” which was breakfast in a glass and delicious!
Opened five months ago it distills artisanal spirits, namely gin, 2 vodkas, white rum and absinthe which are for sale or sampling on the premises. The chef chatted enthusiastically to us about the spirits they make, the myths about absinthe and the food they prepare. As we were due for lunch with friends we couldn’t stay to eat, but I’ve subsequently heard that people cross town for their burgers.
Needless to say, we ran out of time and never did make it inside to the market….. definitely next time!
These places were magical finds that make you realise why you travel and explore!
And still the rain came down. Buckets of it, flooding the roads and snarling the traffic. We took the decision to abandon the rest of our road trip due to routes being under water or closed because of heavy snow.
It was still a fabulous few days away but maybe a trip along the South Coast is a better plan for Spring!
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