01 December 2011

Paternoster - Quaint Fishing Village

Seagull - Paternoster

We all look for those special places where it seems that time stands still. Those wonderful old shops where just about everything is sold with the smell of freshly baked bread assailing the nostrils as one enters. Live crayfish available from the fishermen as they bring in their boats ... Paternoster, on the West Coast of South Africa is such a place. This is one of the oldest fishing villages on the West Coast and remains unspoilt still. The "Winkel op Paternoster" is housed in a building which was originally a whaling station. Although the village has changed from the very tiny fishing village of yesteryear, the charm remains due to strict building regulations and gorgeous white-washed cottages with blue trim. Some are more ornate than others but all blend into something that pleases the eye no matter where in the village you wander.

Die Winkel op Paternoster
The beach is long and wide and just begs to be  walked - it goes on for miles and miles if you have the stamina and a few water bottles. At low tide, the beach is a pleasure for walking - firm sand and those far-away vistas. The water is cold but after walking for miles, a quick dip in the sea is ideal to cool off those heels!

Wide Beach - Paternoster
Fishermen still ply their trade from these shores and it is always great fun to watch the boats coming in. Many of these guys are so totally plastered (drunk)by the time they stand alongside the road selling their wares that one has to wonder how much of their "catch" goes straight into the local bottle store coffers and how much goes home to feed their families.  The crayfish season lasts during the summer months, November to April (the exact period is regulated) so fresh crayfish is a "must buy" in the village if you are staying for a few days and have your own self-catering apartment. Or try one of the restaurants in the village.Should you wish to dive yourself, a permit is required.

Seagulls waiting for scraps - Paternoster

The local hotel building was built in 1863 and changed to an hotel in 1940. An institution in Paternoster, this hotel is always well patronised. Do pop into the "Panty" bar to see the collection of panties and bras which adorn the place! The original collection had to be taken down after a Minister called in for "tea" and reported the collection as "unholy" The latest collection stems from the 90's and hangs from every part of the ceiling. One has to wonder how many drinks are required before stripping and handing over bras and panties!! Those walls must hold many hilarious tales.

Do take time to wander into the few small shops - their stock is interesting!!

Paternoster se Padstal
There are a number of restaurants in the village - we ate at Skatkis in Paternoster Lodge where I enjoyed Sole Capricio - with balsamic cherry tomatoes and roasted almonds. Really tasty and an interesting variation on plain grilled sole.

Seaside Homes - Paternoster
A walk around the village may tempt you into thinking of buying a holiday home but it's far easier to rent one of the many Self-Catering cottages available. There are also numerous B&B's if that option sounds preferable. With a variety of restaurants to choose from, you won't go hungry.
This village has it all - tranquil yet vibey, back to nature, yet with all mod cons, gorgeous beach with the added attraction of fishing boat activity, seagulls to wake you up, lapping waves to lull you to sleep.

What more could one ask for?

Paternoster Beach

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