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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Beauty of Darling

The question everyone asks themselves when taking a holiday is "what can I expect, and what is this going to cost me?" Most of us live in cities, surrounded by the hustle and bustle of daily living. Along with everything we do comes a certain level of stress, necessary to be productive, but emotionally taxing and physically tiring. The only way to escape is to take a trip "away from it all” to some far-flung destination… Or is it?

Situated within an hour and a half drive from Cape Town is the quaint, picturesque town of Darling. Famous for its resident celebrity, Pieter-Dirk Uys a.k.a. Evita Bezuidenhout, it is one of the West Coast’s best kept secrets. The Darling Stagger is a trail product that was born out of recognition of what this little town and its surrounds had to offer. As per the website, one is promised "a little bit of Italy, West Coast style" when going through the itinerary. It's all about wine and olive tasting, connecting with nature, and enjoying some great live entertainment when the day is done. One can certainly tick all these boxes, emphatically so. What is surprising, however, is what exactly it means to live "West Coast style".

One of the first things one notices upon arrival is the distinct culture one finds oneself immersed in. Everyone you meet is so friendly. Generally speaking, South Africans are a friendly bunch, but the folks on the West Coast take it to a whole new level. From the guide who shows you around, the host/hostess you meet on arrival at your accommodation or sitting down to your meal, to the average local you bump into on the street; it seems as though everyone here knows something about life that you don't… and you can't help but smile. 

The information in the brochure, or on the website, may be what brought you to these parts. Perhaps it was the promise of a chance to relax, or the anticipation of experiencing the best the West Coast has to offer in wine and cuisine? With every experience a maximum of 20 minutes away, whether on foot or by vehicle, one can't help but be impressed at the variety on offer. However, when all is said and done, it is the effect that the people of the West Coast have on one that keeps one coming back again and again. One doesn't simply do the Darling Stagger. This experience allows one to fall in love with life again, and in so doing, rediscover the best parts of oneself.