Well, not quite.
Paternoster is a fishing village, but we didn’t really go fishing. We just went to ‘get away from it all’. And by “it all”, I mean work. Which was, ofcourse impossible thanks to the full reception coverage we received on our blackberry’s. (they should really switch off BIS towers anywhere other than in city centres, don’t you agree?).
I’ve wanted to go to Paternoster since, well basically since I couldn’t actually find it on a map. I was told it was a little fishing village on the west coast that was a bit like Greece. Clearly the people who told me that had never been to Greece. Its nothing like Greece. But it is a gorgeous sleepy village adorned with white walled houses and one main road with sea views from every corner. Nothing like late notice I still managed to secure us a lovely little (well not actually so little) cottage with all the necessary luxuries I’ve come to love. You know, the cotton sheet and double vanity basin variety. We stayed at Heaven on a Stick, which offers all the comforts of home except without the rusks, sugar, coffee, matches and showergel (just a tip to self-catering spots – these things go such a long way in making somewhere good to making it awesome). The sea view was just behind the row of houses in front of us, and if it wasn’t for the fact that it was raining for the weekend, our front porch would’ve seen a little more of us.
Arriving at lunchtime, I knew exactly where I wanted to visit for our first stop. The Winkel Op Paternoster and Oep ve Koep and Oep ve Eet. Don’t ask me which is which or what it means, but we rolled into an old farm shop with retro tea garden, ordered a bottle of Darling Cellars Sauvignon Blanc and oohed and aaahed at the fun decor and the old South African memories attached to them. The rain stayed away long enough for us to sit in the garden and absorb a few rays. Lunch, while at first appearing on the small portion side, was very little less than sensational. Even managed a short chinwag with Kobus van der Merwe, the owner, chef and previous editor of Eat Out (although I think he prefers the title and the lifestyle of talented sea-side village chef).
Only three emails checked. Good lunch.
Vredeburg is the little town you hit right before you reach Paternoster and where we stopped to buy our weekend groceries (the expense of which always surprises me!). We were equipped with braai food and wine for afternoons and evenings of relaxation. Our indoor fireplace doubled up as an indoor braai (its supposed to do that!) on our first night and we settled down to a bottle of Laborie Bubbly (still one of my faves) and my Dan Brown book (conveniently purchased at the Kalahari sale! Have to love a R20 paperback).
As with every evening spent on the West Coast, we were spoilt with a stunning sunset. TIA.
What surprised me when we first arrived at our Paternoster cottage was the (poor) introduction we received to the locals. Yes, this isn’t a happy-go-lucky paragraph. Basically we were advised against leaving any windows or doors open, even if we were at the cottage. Quite simply – and after trying to sugar coat it – the locals will take advantage of any opportunity. They apparently pretend to sell crayfish, but in actual fact, they’ll slip in and out with your handbag, laptop or (maybe not a bad thing) blackberry! Let’s be honest, it wasn’t the nicest introduction. As a result, my planned long ‘get back into running’ run the next morning didn’t go so well as I kept looking over my shoulder to make sure I wasn’t being followed (it had nothing to do with the fact that I haven’t exercised in months).
Not to worry – we satisfied our fear (well, my nervousness) with another great meal out. This time at Gaaitjie. I had made a reservation in advance as I know how booked up this place gets – although maybe in the middle of winter it wasn’t entirely necessary. The venue is right on the beach front between the rocks and other fishing cabins. While it is rustic and relaxed, it needs to be noted that the decor wasn’t old or tired, it felt tastefully seen to. I was loving it. We had a great little table in the front room next to the fire place. We had brought our own wine along (at R40 corkage), the fantastic Lammershoek Chenin, but were impressed to see they stock the Lammershoek LAM which is a must-try wine.
The issue with writing a blog post two months after the event, is trying to remember what exactly it was that you had for lunch. A lunch that accompanied a bottle of wine, and an afternoon of more drinking. I have the photos, and remember that it was incredible. I also recall rating it as one of the best meals I’ve ever had. This I maintain. I expected the food to be comfort food. The type that your mom makes, or your gran. This, was something spectacular (sorry Mom). Out of this world food art. (For choice of an over-dramatic way of explaining good food.) It was creative and involved a little bit of ‘just try it’ on my part, but I’m so glad I did.
Day 3 in Paternoster was what God intended Paternoster to always be. Sunny. The light across that endless white beach called for a long walk. Watching seagulls pick up and drop their mussels, looking at crabs and for the perfect abandoned shell (that would consequently become a napkin ring. Gaatjie inspiration) all the while the sun shone – this is what seaside holidays are made of. Just as we were settling in to the beautiful day, the Sharks vs someone game was calling and we had to head back to the bright lights so as not to miss it. That always happens. Not the Sharks game, but rather that just as soon as you finally drift away from real life. You’re back at home. Checking emails. Analytics. And twitter.
Ok, so some deets are always good:
Gaatjie: 022 – 7522 242, Off Sampson Road, Paternoster
Oep ve Koep: 022-7522105, St. Augustine Road, Paternoster, West Coast