Under-your-nose treasures

Places you HAVE to see and visit if you live in the Western Cape. For cheap!

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I live in the West Coast, in a small town called Langebaan, I’ve lived here for 19 years. And so, naturally, I will dream of exotic destinations in different countries and cities. Places I am yet to see, because I am so tired of the same town. Everyday. The same province, everyday.

But then I started thinking of all the amazing places I have seen, in this province, in the past 2 years. And I realized that we often tend to dream of other destinations, when we have not yet visited and appreciated the destinations around us. Now, I’m not going to list the Castle of Good Hope and Table Mountain, no, the list I’m about to give is small places that have triggered my interest and launched my imagination into a different world. Places that have helped me realize, that our grass is just as green as the other side. We just have to open our eyes and see.

So here it is:

Truth Coffee Roasting

This steam punk inspired world is a must visit. Truth coffee has been named one of the most famous and best coffee places in the world. Located in the heart of Cape Town they don’t only offer a good cuppa, but an experience. With flamboyant employees, extravagant outfits and breathtaking interior, you’ll remember your visit, and urge to go back for more. They also have a lovely barista school, wholesale coffee and they take pride in their over the top quality. Couples have even gotten married there!

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Next up

Bikini Beach Books

An amazing experience. The last time I visited this book shop, I spent close to 3 hours there, walking out with 2 boxes of books. It’s difficult to explain the experience. You are surrounded by pages of knowledge and stories, books stacked from the floor to the roof, categorized by rooms, each inspiring in their own way.

The casual way the books are displayed creates a nostalgia for something unknown. The wish that you could go back in time before e-books and Google. You get the need to sit on the dusty wooden floors, paging through forgotten author’s words, reading them with your mouth moving with the words. When you’re there you want to read, you want to gain knowledge about interesting topics. You want to advance. The book shop is located in Gordon’s Bay, and at first sight it looks like an ice-cream cafe or surf shop, and to your lovely surprise upon entering you’ll see it’s a book shop.

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A little bit of a predictable one:

The Old Biscuit Mill

Actually Woodstock in general. It used to be a dodgy neighborhood, where you stuck your cash in your bra, and walked with short, fast steps. Now, Woodstock is evolving into a culture rich, still a little dodgy, fantastic area. Wandering through the streets of Woodstock, you get in touch with the essence of Cape Town, you experience first hand why Cape Town is so different from other cities. With hipsters on long boards passing by, fancy Bentley’s driving in the same streets as the honking taxi’s. Black talented men doing woodwork on the sidewalks. A rusted ice cream truck selling who knows what. And the coffee. Oh all the different coffee’s.

The Old Biscuit mill, in my opinion, sparked the change in the neighborhood, all the cultured places bloomed from the Mill. They have regular markets, selling natural and amazing hand-made goods, like leather bags, green teas, hand-made furniture and cigarettes. And then, as a coffee addict, I have to mention, there’s a lovely coffee roastery in Old Biscuit Mill named Espresso Lab, the shop has a clinical lab-like minimalist feel, with the focus merely placed on making good coffee, which is obvious when you walk in and smell the roastery’s aroma. All around you will see freelancers on their Mac’s working and drinking good coffee. You will draw inspiration from such a place, to take that leap and create and do what you want.

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Up next

Charly’s Bakery

Another predictable one if you know Cape Town quite well. But if you haven’t been, I’d strongly suggest it. They make beautiful pastries and baked goods. And together with the breathtaking creativity and design of these cakes, comes a delicious taste.

They have an infamous saying “Mucking Afazing Cakes” and it doesn’t fall short of that statement. Visit them, have a look around, the building decor and exterior is clearly inspired by their baking, as the building is painted in fun cakery colours, drawing street audience and walk in customers. There are also other fun and interesting shops in the surrounding area which is worth checking out.

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A little further down the Coast

Romantiques

Situated in Hermanus, and hidden in the narrow streets of the small town, is a place I have visited multiple times. I have driven to Hermanus 4 times, just to visit this shop. And every time I’ve been there, it was different. Romantiques specializes in vintage and antique goods. The building is divided in different sectors, stretching from War memorabilia to vintage wedding dresses. If you’re looking for something, you’ll find it there.

They have an old Beetle on their roof as a statement piece, the only thing that makes the shop visible. I’ve bought suitcases, umbrellas, leather cloves, silverware. I’ve bought jewelry boxes, perfume bottles, brooches and handbags. They really have everything. The best of it all, is that they have a real antique cinema, that’s in working condition. So you buy yourself a movie ticket, get a glass bottle of coke and popcorn from old vending machines and watch old films such as Charlie Chaplin specials in the cinema. It’s amazing. I went there for my birthday, and it was perfect.

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The last place I suggest, is a little strange and rather interest specific

Cape CrossFit

To anyone and everyone that enjoys fitness and exercise, I suggest paying a visit to Cape CrossFit. The industrial inspired design gym places superior focus on what you’re there to do. If you do CrossFit you’ll know that it’s a large community of people who has a similar interest and love for fitness and functional training. Cape CrossFit was the first CrossFit gym in South Africa, and the rich culture of this community was born there.

When you visit them and take part in their WOD’s, it’s clear why they have such a strong brand and team. You immediately feel part of their family, and motivated to reach your goals. When I visited them to do my CrossFit Level 1, I was astonished at the difference compared to other places. When you walk into the gym, they have a large wall with a list of rules. Some of these rules include “:When you walk in, you ego walks out” and “You’re not done until everyone is done”. There’s an atmosphere of family and friends, and it makes you want to improve yourself. I strongly recommend it to anyone that’s interested in CrossFit. And if you’re not, you will be once you’ve been there.

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So there you have it. Places you need to see that’s right under your nose. I consistently try to revisit these destinations, as they really trigger my mind to be more creative, and to do more with my life. It’s so easy to stay paralyzed in our lives, with the easy excuse that there’s nothing to do or see around here. But it’s because we’re looking down at our feet. We need to look up and see. We live in a beautiful place. We’ve just gotten used to it.


Disclaimer: Not my own photos

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