For years now, Albert and I have wanted to go to Clarens. This year when we were having a look at the route we would need to take down to the Sani Pass, we noted that Clarens wasn’t too far and we made a plan to stop there for breakfast!
We were so excited that it made the 4am start much easier. After years in the planning stages, we were of course looking forward to the whole trip but we never thought about adding a breakfast pit stop so the Clarens section was at the top of the list! This high however is never met with an amazing experience.
We do note that it’s high tourist season and overcrowded but still, this isn’t our kind of place really.
We loved the idea that it was this little arts and crafts town in the middle of the mountains. It was meant to be so unique and beautiful. It certainly is pretty but with humans crawling all over it like ants, it is a little ruined.
Then there are the stores. While admittedly we may not have had the time to go into all of them, we went into a fair amount and it just didn’t live up to the hype. It’s all highly priced, and a lot of it is mass produced rubbish. There are lovely leather shops which smell divine but just don’t have the quality you would expect for the prices. There are shops that sell junk souvenirs, as you would expect. You just wouldn’t expect quite as many. Thankfully there are stalls on the side of the roads that are a little more authentic.
A couple of shops didn’t disappoint though. For example, there is a vintage shop in the middle of things that have the most beautiful pieces inside. To look at the bits hanging outside, you wouldn’t expect it because it’s tatty, but inside is a little treasure trove of unique bits and bobs – including one beautiful pearl headband that I am massively regretting not buying right about now!
Albert couldn’t cope in there though as the Tannie’s that run the place were super in your face helpful. While I have grown a thick skin due to all the overly friendly and annoyingly helpful people in Dubai who follow you around being irritating, he is very much used to Joburg indifference still!
The other shop that drew me in and suckered me for a fair amount of money was the crystal shop! I’ve always been fascinated with Crystals but now I know a little more, I had to buy some! I probably should have done more reading before I got there to make sure I got the stones that I want, but I also know the right stones draw you to them and that’s what happened. I now just have to read up on what I bought!
We did stop for a meal. Again, we probably should have researched a little bit but we had so much on in the days before this trip that we didn’t. Also, from what I have heard from friends, basically everywhere is good for food.
We were walking around and being nosy when we saw a little allyway leading to wine logo umbrellas, but with the mountains in the background. Wine logo umbrellas always mean that there is food and drink served – despite it being too early for the actual wine part! We followed the umbrellas and ended up in a very lovely little courtyard that belonged to Vitos restaurant.
Had we seen the name and menu and well, everything, in advance then we would not have chosen to stop here. We would have been missing out on a breakfast pizza though which would have been a bit of a mistake!
While not the best thing I have ever eaten, I have wanted a breakfast pizza for a very long time. It’s one of those food bucket list thingies that you need to try at least once in your lifetime. Once is indeed enough much as it was delicious.
Like I said, had I seen the branding I wouldn’t have bothered but it was worth it and I do recommend giving it a shot.
That was basically it for our Clarens trip. We had to get back on the road to make it to Underberg before the light left for the day. It was going to be quite the mission too as the clouds were closing in quickly…
I’m glad we have been now, but I don’t think I will be back. This is not a popular opinion though, and a few friends want to take me to show me the side of it they love. I am always willing to be proven wrong, but I’m also in no rush.