Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Lazy Day in Luderitz, Namibia (Nov. 18, 2010)

Luderitz was founded in 1883 when a German purchased some land from a local Nama chief. It began as a trading post, but in 1909 with the discovery of diamonds, it enjoyed a huge surge in prosperity. Today, diamonds are mostly found in other areas of Namibia, and Luderitz has returned to being a quiet town of 20,000 people. It is known for its colonial architecture—the German version of the Victorian style.

About 20 km outside of town is Kolmanskop, an abandoned mining town (ghost town!) which is slowly being reclaimed by the sands of the Namib Desert. That would have been fun to visit, but with limited time, we decided to just putter around the town.

The little town of Luderitz…not really what you picture for Africa!

Walking into town with Nancy and Joe...

Sleepy little town…we spent the first 30 minutes outside the bank while people tried their best to get South African rand. They accept both the Namibian dollar and the rand here.

Do I look slightly overdressed next to Kathy and Nancy?? With the fog that is prevalent here, I was freezing, but it wasn’t too long before the layers started coming off.

The train station…beautiful architecture…

Even with a shipload of people in town, it was pretty quiet…

This looked like a good place for a local beer, but it wasn’t open until 4:00 p.m. By now, Nancy and I had concluded that we could make a fortune in a town like this, just by being open when people are here! They actually don’t get that many cruise ships, so I guess they don’t see the need. Many of the shops were closed from 12:00-2:00.

We were beginning to think we didn’t have to go to the ghost town…this is the ghost town!

We were wandering around trying to find a fish and chip restaurant that we had seen several signs for . They weren’t making it easy!

We found the waterfront which has been newly developed to accommodate larger vessels.

It's a work in progress.

But we did find the fish and chip place and the fish was excellent.

A sleepy doggie…

When we got off the ship, a lady was handing out flyers for a local gift shop. So we got a taxi to take us there, about a kilometre away. We should have walked (ha ha!) as the taxi became a bit of an episode. There were some lovely houses…

We found the gift shop and made a few purchases. They had some really beautiful handmade silver jewellery. Nancy and I both bought a pair of earrings and then we headed back. This might be some kind of fort?

We got the driver to drop us off at the port and then he started demanding payment in US dollars We had negotiated 20 Namibian dollars, but he was saying $20 US. Crazy for a kilometre drive. We gave him $10 US and a handful of Namibian change and scuttled away. Thank heavens we were at the port and he couldn’t chase us!

We sauntered back to the ship…

Past some seagulls…

If we could have just cut through the fence by this marine research station, we would have been close to the gift shop and saved ourselves some hassle. But it wouldn’t have been as much fun!

Surprise…here comes the fog again! In no time, you could hardly see a thing. The Captain is required to blow the fog horn every two minutes while at sea, so we were hoping it cleared up!

Goodbye, sleepy town of Luderitz!

And we’re off to Cape Town!! I can’t believe the first leg of the cruise is almost over…

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