As I sit here, typing away at my laptop, the rain just started pouring down outside and I’m reminded of how much I love winter. Correction – How much I love winter IN CAPE TOWN!
Our winter has become the poor cousin to the far more glamorous and attention-seeking summer. She flaunts her long legs and flirts outrageously with all her guests and occupants. She is the life of the party, the typical beauty queen with the gorgeous white sandy beaches; perfect and mysterious mountain with which most true Capetonians are secretly obsessed; relatively unpolluted skies (compared to other known global cities); the selection of delectable restaurants to satisfy every possible taste; beautiful people that explains the hordes of people sitting at cafes, staring shamelessly at passersby; healthy bodies and perfectly balanced lives to make anyone feel more self conscious than usual… she embodies the sexy, elusive lifestyle we all desire.
Winter, however, is a little bit like the poor, ugly cousin with the interesting personality and incredible intellect whom nobody really notices. Yet, once you meet her, you realise she’s the kind of person that simply glows with inner beauty and soulfulness.
Cape Town morphs into a winter wonderland around the middle of May – a bit late for the traditional change of seasons – and all of sudden, almost overnight, you realise: It is winter.
Hotels and restaurants alike light their fireplaces, offer blankets and heaters to keep their patrons warm; their menus suddenly feature food, simply described as ‘winter food’ – lamb shanks, soups, breads, bakes, pastas, stews, etc. There are few things more relaxing than sitting down with your first glass of red wine in a welcoming, warm restaurant after running around in the rain all day. In addition, most restaurants run specials over this time so one can now afford to go to some of the more luxurious restaurants as a special treat – culinary heaven! One of my favourite websites features, in my opinion, one of the most comprehensive lists available on Cape Town winter restaurant specials: http://www.whalecottage.com/blog/cape-town/cape-town-restaurant-winter-blues-specials/
Finally, winter brings the ‘magic days’: These are the days, right in the middle of winter, when you wake up one morning and realise that this is a day that calls for summer clothing – beautiful warm, sunny days that shows off Table Mountain in its new green coat due to all the luscious rain and invites you for a midday walk on the beach or an outdoor café lunch with a chilled glass of Boland white wine.
That is when you realise that while summer is super sexy and lots of fun, winter is that unforgettably enriching conversation with an old friend you nearly forgot how much you adored.