The Grand Old lady still delivers

A day filled with drama, nostalgia and Old World charm was just so fullfilling as we travelled into Durban to watch the rugby. Yes we won but played poorly. The less said the better.

Fortunately the rugby was really a bi-product and definately not the highlight of our time.

Sometimes, as we meander through life, we tend to look past so many moments to stop and take things in. We overlook what really matters.

A friend, who is in the hotel game, convinced and facilitated that we stayed over in Durban instead of driving back late at night. The booking was made at The Royal in the city centre. No doubt many will remember it. In its time it was a special place. Right across the road from a the magnificent City Hall. They don’t build places like that anymore.

And so we arrived, checked in and immediately went for lunch in the dining area. Instantly, I had this overwhelming feeling of being in another time.

The one wall had pictures of the Late Queen and a letter from Buckingham Palace. The high ceilings with the original stained-glass windows were a delight to see again. The modern world has forgotten these things. I kept wondering about how many banquets would have been held here and the special people that will have stayed in the Grand old Lady.

And then we went up to our room…and oh my word. Having stayed all over the world in top hotels with wonderful views, even I found it breath-taking to say the least. Overlooking the Durban Yacht clubs and harbour area, it is majestic to say the least. It was such an amazing sight that I suggested to Estelle that we stay and watch the rugby on television rather. Not to be though. Her mind was on the Springboks winning.

A short Uber ride saw us arrive at another place steeped in history. Kings Park rugby stadium. Another iconic place in world rugby and a ground that has seen epic battles over years and years. All the Greatest players have run out of that tunnel. Our season tickets are just above it right on the halfway line. Let me not digress to the rugby itself though.

To see it filled to the brim and to witness the “togetherness” of so many as the anthem was sung was truly awesome. I too have stood in front of a ground in the world before a game and sung our anthem. It is not something any player from in any in any sport takes lightly. It touches your soul really. And for the thousands there in the ground, it did the same. Somehow, therein lies our saving grace for our country I believe. The intangible spirit of wanting belived South Africa and its people to be one. We have reached that space I do believe…again, I digress.

The game finished and off we walked to the third place to have supper with friends. Another iconic landmark of Durban. The Durban Country Club. Also steeped in history and beautiful. It exudes that feeling of Old World charm but somehow has just enough of our modern times scattered about to make it worth visiting there. Again, the Greats of the golf world know it and have all spoken of that special third hole. Of course the prince of Wales hole reminds one of why it’s carries the word Royal too.

Back to our room it was and to have coffee together seeing the lights of the ships and the harbour with the smell of the ocean wafting through the open windows.

These places are truly something. There are many of them around our country. Somehow as a people we need to keep them alive for the next generation. And the people that take care of them usually understand that. The Manager of the Royal Hotel, Allen, is one such man. He understands his role and is deeply committed. I love that…

It’s time for Royal breakfast and a meander home to our beloved South Coast. Home is where the heart is you know.

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