In December I had an opportunity to go to Port Elizabeth, also known as the Windy City, for the first time ever. This was at a time when the Nelson Mandela Bay was the epicentre of Covid-19 in South Africa.
Any sensible person would have chosen to stay at home, but we are talking about someone whose obsessed with travel. After spending the most part of 2020 indoors due to the nationwide lockdown, I squealed with delight at the thought of an eight-hour road trip.
We left at 4am because we wanted to arrive by midday.
We made a great playlist which is a must for a road trip. We also have a tradition of Choc Stix. We never buy them just nje but for road trips they are our thing. So we had to hunt them down a few days before the trip. For some reason, not many stores stock them. Anyway, I digress.
The journey was a breeze. We arrived in PE just after 1pm. My first impression was that PE was actually bigger than I had imagined it.
We made our way to Summerstrand. We had booked The Gate House via Airbnb. Nick’s place looked like it did in the pictures – which was a relief! Because we know some people use pictures that were taken 20 years ago and you can imagine the disappointment.
On arrival, we were screened. The place was neat and cozy. It’s a two-bedroom flat with a super fast internet in a very quiet neighbourhood. It’s about a 10 minute walk to the beach. You can also walk to restaurants and shops.
As a host, Nick was fantastic. He was really helpful. He had great suggestions for outdoor activities but, we had to turn him down because we were on a working/holiday so work had to come first.
On our first night, we stayed indoors. It was pizza and Netflix. On the second day after work, we explored a bit. We walked to the Boardwalk.
It was almost deserted. Many shops had shut down due to the epidemic which means an even higher unemployment rate. Covid has really wreaked havoc especially on small businesses.
It was great that everything was within walking distance from our accommodation.
On the third day we went to Stanley Street – thanks to Zodwa, who acted as our tour guide during the trip. The street had a hip vibe. People were out and about socialising while looking fly.
We went to The Boardroom. It’s a place that’s owned by lawyers. I loved the concept.
There was just us, a group of four, and another group of five. So we felt a little safe. I know you can never be sure but hey it feels a bit better when the place is not crowded.
The place looked really expensive but it was quite affordable. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.
For dinner we moved up the road to Salt. The weather was lovely so we chose to sit outside. The service was good. I really enjoyed my vegetarian curry. From our table, I had the perfect vantage point for people coming in and out. Let me just say, PE has beautiful people!
On our last night, a local took us to a beautiful restaurant on the beachfront. I completely forgot it’s name. The place was stunning and big. People were enjoying themselves despite the howling wind outside. So I definitely had a glimpse of the Windy City.
Our stay in PE was only four days and we had to be cautious due to Covid-19 so we didn’t get to explore as much. I’m definitely looking forward to a longer stay to do so much more. My heart ached a little when we drove past Tsitsikamma. It’s one of the places I’d love visit in the Eastern Cape.
Anyway, we made it back home safely. We didn’t show any signs of Covid on our return. I’m thankful our spontaneous (read: reckless) decision did not backfire.