Monday, January 11, 2016

Relaxing by the sea at Paternoster

We are normally very energetic and like holidays where we do lots of different things. But this year we were dog tired and knew we had to stop and do nothing for a while. Lynne found a lovely place in Paternoster, our very first AirBnB booking, and it was a huge success. We had our annual wine club Christmas party on Sunday the 13th and left for the West Coast the next day for our week by the sea. It's a lovely drive up, but the countryside is looking very sere and dry with the drought.
The centre crossroads of Paternoster with the illegal crayfish sellers - who no longer sell at bargain prices; legal or illegal are now R50 to R80 a cray. We stay legal and buy from registered people, as many of the crayfish sold at the lights are undersized and you don't know how long they have been out of the water. Other than tourism and a bit of fishing, there seems not much industry in the village, and it shows
Our accommodation Karibu was just one road from the beach, with plenty of parking
We had a lovely apartment with a lounge/kitchen, spacious bedroom, 
en suite bathroom and we could use the terrace. There is a second bedroom and bathroom, which we hired for friends who visited at the end of the week. Our host Gaby has the rest of the house
Gaby was very friendly, warm and welcoming. She has three lovely dogs, one marvellous cat

and a very talkative African grey named Harvey
 Definitely a place for animal lovers. We were distressed to hear that Gaby had just returned from hospital after a fairly major op, but she had not cancelled and said she would be fine. She has lots of help from her local friends. We tried to tread as lightly as possible during the week. Confession: we did a lot of sleeping, reading and just plain lazing about. And very simple cooking and eating
The popular restaurant Voorstrandt was the closest to our house. We had a look and meant to go there, but somehow didn’t make it this trip. We had eaten there on a previous visit
We look a long walk on the beach that first evening and most evenings after that. It can be windy but is very reviving ...
... and many others do the same
It's a blue and white world, very reminiscent of Greece.
The housing style and colour is regulated, making for a visually very pleasant place. Kite flying in the wind
Paddling rather than swimming, as the current comes right from the Antarctic!
Black oystercatchers and cormorants on the rocks, with three types of gulls in abundance
Another walk to the other end of the beach the next day to see if we could buy some fish
A dead crab. We have never found any worth eating, as they are very small and don't seem to contain enough 'meat', although the gulls polish them off quickly when they are washed up
Signs of a warm day coming
It’s a long stretch of beach with lots of holiday accommodation
A sign at one of the local shops, which we liked
Dinner that night at SkatKis (transl. Treasure Chest) which has a great view and good calamari and is very reasonably priced. We think this could make the best sited restaurant in Paternoster if a professional chef was employed and the place was done up a bit. The service is friendly and professional and we like it very much
We took a generous supply of good wine with us for the week and enjoyed this bottle of Glenwood's Grand Duc Chardonnay 2012 very much with our sea food
Lynne's calamari and chips
John's hake and chips. They did have a wonderful sounding seafood platter on the menu for 2, but couldn't serve it as they could not get crayfish that day - all the legal sellers had sold out
Our bill came to just over R200 with tip

We watched from the terrace as the fishing boats came in. This one looks as though he is delivering crayfish in boxes
Picking up shells
Lovely soft evening light
Getting the boats off the beach
This side of the village has the small fishermen's cottages. Many have been sold to outsiders and they have been gentrified, but many are still occupied by their original tenants
A reminder that Christmas is coming to Paternoster
We took the short walk back to our accommodation, Karibu, and viewed the nightlife at the other restaurants. We were there just before the season really gets started over Christmas and New Year, when all the visitors flood in from up country
The prevailing South-Easter gave loads of opportunity to the windsurfers
A well built sea fort resisting the incoming tide
The village pond behind Karibu has lots of birdlife. Sadly, with the drought, the water level is dropping alarmingly
There are just a few shops in the village, but there is just enough for emergency supplies. Most people drive through Vredenburg en route and stock up there. Its only about 15 minutes drive from Paternoster
The old Paternoster Hotel is popular for lunches and drinks on the terrace but it closed at 9 while we were there
The village at lunchtime
The kids like helping the boats come in, perhaps to get a small fish. There is visible poverty, the children beg and the dog population looks very thin and ill fed. Many people have lost their income from the sea due to bad and or unfair allocation of fishing permits and they struggle
You can see the midday heat coming off the sand
Friends walking on the beach, they came down to join us for our last night
Finding sea urchins! How many of us did the same at their age
And posing for the camera with lots of humour, cheek and local patois. One child spoke slang with an accent we just could not understand
We decided to walk to the fishery but it was closed
After our long walk we had to stop (a vital necessity!) for a cold beer at De See Kat
 Sadly the beers (Windhoek & Heineken) were too warm. John ordered a Darling craft beer and that was properly chilled
And dinner that night (a braai) was at Karibu. We managed to get four crayfish and one large cob. Sadly the fish had been frozen too long and was not great. The crayfish however, served with simple garlic butter and lemon, were stupendous. But expensive. This purchase cost us R410. We had salads and rather a lot of wine. The end to a very relaxing holiday
© John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus 2016

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