I moved to Observatory for the next couple of weeks. Named so because the South African Astronomical Observatory is here. Known as Obs to the folks here. Also known as a student neighbourhood because of the proximity to the University of Cape Town.
During the years of apartheid this was one of the few ”grey” suburbs where all races lived together. It still is a very multicultural area today, with a lively, quirky and bohemian feel to it.
Though I can’t say I felt totally at ease when walking home at night here. Crime is a problem. Still there is an Observatory Neighbourhood Watch close by and they are working on making it a more safe area.
Saying that nobody walks in general in Cape Town. Everyone takes their cars or Uber. Never taken so many Uber rides in my life as here. And due to that I had one of the most interesting conversations with a taxi driver ever! Who in the thirty minutes or so that it took to drive me to the airport told me the story of his life. So interesting! And I’m so grateful to have these spontaneous and interesting encounters!
A typical street in Obs lined with small Victorian houses.
Homes in general here in Cape Town are protected with bars in front of windows and doors, reinforced fences, electrical fences, locks, bolts and alarms.
Stayed in two lovely homes here, both in small Victorian houses. These Victorian houses keep surprising me. They look tiny from the outside but are surprisingly spacious inside. They have the traditional high ceilings and often have period details such as bay windows, sash timber frames and ornate open fireplaces. Often they are semidetached and form half of an entire house like this one.
First I stayed with Thekla and Adam. They have a lovely house with high ceilings. This is only the back end of their home with the kitchen. Behind me is an equal amount of space that is a small living room and two bedrooms. Behind the rounded wall that juts into the open plan living room…
…is this quirky bathroom with a round sunken bathtub and shower. The ceiling is made of glass so it’s a pretty special feeling to lie in the bath and gaze up at the stars a clear night.
Thekla is super sweet and works as a private cook as well as holding cooking classes. She runs her own business Domestic Goddesses from home and is always very busy, luckily having several employees to help her. Here she is cooking one of her vegetarian specialities.
Next I moved in with lovely Natalie and her cat called Mouse. She also lives in a small Victorian house in Obs with nice period details.
Here I discovered that getting a feeling of home, is being in a place where one is able to cook ones food. I liked spending time in her kitchen. I also liked that every single thing she has in her home means something to her and has a story to tell…
…as these oil paintings hanging in her kitchen. Both of them painted by people she knows well and likes.
I also enjoyed sitting out in her yard. I appreciate when indoors effortlessly flows outside. Here you step directly through the large the glass doors of the kitchen into the yard from where you can see Devil’s Peak. This is what I appreciate when living in a somewhat warmer climate than I do at home. The possibility of the interior to extend to the outdoor environment, making it a part of the home.
She is such a sweet soul and we shared many interesting talks. How she made this her home is an interesting story. Can’t wait to tell it but it will have to wait a little while, as I’m now writing my book about homes around the world.
How lucky for me that just a few steps from her home is the cafe Queen of Tarts on Lower Main Road. Such a lovely place!
Loved the propping here.
Hello Sailor became my favourite spot to have dinner. It has a relaxed ambience and simple but good food.
Observatory is neighbouring to Woodstock, an up and coming trendy area. A lot of creative people have shifted their locations and moved here. There are also lots of furniture & fun bric-à-brac shops and design shops here. And trendy restaurants.
The Old Biscuit Mill on Albert Road is the no 1 place to be. Filled with designers, photographers, artists, restaurants, cafes & delis, workshops and designer shops. People flock here in the hundreds for the Saturday market held here.
The Pot Luck Club in on the top floor of The Old Biscuit Mill. I had a absolutely delicious lunch here.
Their menu is based on tastes; sweet, sour, salty, bitter and umami. Love this concept!
Karoo Moon in The Old Biscuit Mill is the kind of shop one can get lost in only to emerge hours later. So much to look at!
In the area around the The Old Biscuit Mill are many furniture shops.
Ending with this imaginative room divider I found in one store.
Copyright and photo: Anita Martinez Beijer