If you say that word to yourself, “Honeymoon”, it makes not sense. When you look up the etymology of it, the meaning is also somewhat obscure. However, the general consensus is that…
Originally having no reference to the period of a month, but comparing the mutual affection of newly-married persons to the changing moon which is no sooner ‘full’ than it begins to ‘wane’ – now usually the holiday spent together by a newly-married couple, prior to settling down at home
After our glorious wedding day, the following morning [Sunday, 24th July] was spent waking up far too early, followed by a quick breakfast, a trip to the house to unpack and subsequently repack for the honeymoon and then to go to the venue to clear out the last of our things from the night before. Aside from being tired and our minds still in a haze from how quickly it all ‘went down’, we finally found ourselves ready to embark on our honeymoon – the first two days of which I had booked as a surprise [with the help of my awesome mother, who managed to pull a few strings…] and for the rest… well, we simply decided to take each day as it came and ‘wing it’!
As would be the case, the weather on the day of the wedding had been most spectacularly beautiful… followed by a weather warning for potential cyclones and/or a possible hurricane, with a definite chance of heavy rains, fog and grey skies. Thankfully our first ‘Port of call’ was my mothers guesthouse in Port Elizabeth, which under normal circumstances takes approximately +- 3 hours, and that’s traveling the speed limit. This time however, it took us a staggering 5+ hours. Upon arrival we were greeted with miniature dams of water and a torrential downpour.
It was already 18H30 at that stage, and once we’d eaten our supper, unpacked, showered and warmed up, that brought us to about 20H30 at which point we turned in for the night, because you just have no idea how tired you are after a wedding! Wow. I slept dead and for a solid 12/13 hours. After a lazy rise and slow breakfast, we decided to make tracks. Opting for the more scenic garden route – which took us on a lovely, lush little excursion with many roadside stops, ‘padstalletjies’ (basically meaning roadside stalls/stands) and various ‘touristy’ places – we made it to Knysna at about 15H30.
After arriving at Lightleys Holiday Houseboats, we checked in and were subsequently shown the 10 minute instructional DVD on what NOT to do and where NOT to go in a houseboat, followed by a daunting run of things that could possibly go wrong, tide times to avoid and possible stranding on sand banks in the river, so after we were made to believe that this was to be a terribly scary and difficult adventure… I assured my husband that “he’d be just fine…” With temporary skipper license in hand, we offloaded our luggage and explored the small vessel. After which we went grocery shopping [only to establish the prices on everything to be even worse than in East London], followed by the hunt for the ‘cheapest yet fluffiest’ towels, as the ‘self-catering’ boat only came with 5 Litres of drinkable water and two additional blankets. Our first evening was spent making ‘breakfast in pita’s’, followed by some reading, coffee, a trip to the ablutions and a fight for space on the ‘not-so-spacious’ double bed.
The following morning after breakfast we embarked on our first ‘boat ride’, towards Belvedere. We were forewarned not to stray off course by an inch, as recent storms had left sand banks in odd places and the whole route hadn’t been entirely ‘secured’ as yet. We insisted that one of the deckhands accompany us on our maiden voyage as I think we both had visions of being out in the water until the tide rose to free us from a sandbank or from us unwittingly ‘sailing’ into an oyster bed!
Once we returned from our little outing onto the Knysna Lagoon, ruffled by the fresh air and inspired for some adventure… I suggested that we would go in search of a castle. The Noetzi castle specifically. I remember spending a weekend in Knysna during my youth and venturing to the very same ‘castle’ with my mother and father – but all I recall from that trip was much rain, many stairs and a sickly baby brother. Upon arrival at the obscure destination, I had no recollection of what it was supposed to be like or where exactly we were supposed to go – there were however no stairs but a ridiculous decline of a road leading to the beachside… So we first scaled this pathway, only to discover that the ‘newer’ castle had been converted into a guesthouse, and the ‘older’ castle had been abandoned! This prospect excited me muchly!!! So I decided we would pay an ‘uninvited’ visit to the old abandoned place and get some strange pictures… see below!
It was awesome, between feeling like a ‘criminal’ and getting some really ‘artistic photos’ – we were famished and headed back into town and in search of oysters. Knysna at one time had been renowned for their oysters, but more specifically for harvesting their own fresh oysters from the lagoon, only to find out that they no longer produce oysters locally but bring them in from Port Elizabeth. Disappointing.
There was exactly one interesting shop in the centre of town and an interesting ‘all day’ African wares market, with various crafts brought down from countries such as Kenya, Mozambique and Zimbabwe – but when you’ve seen one African mask, you’ve seen them all. The only other point of interest was the wharf. There were some genuinely ‘different’ little shops, interesting sculptures which promoted local industry and trade and far too many restaurants. We had seen this really quaint pub on our drive down to the wharf and after enquiring as to ‘Where the locals hang out?’, it was confirmed as the same place – our late lunch/early supper was divine, the atmosphere relaxed and prices within reason.Which leaves nothing much else about Knysna to visit, aside from ridiculously priced groceries and a surreal sense of quiet and isolation. The ‘locals’ don’t seem to want the tourists around and have thwarted attempts made by industrious businessmen in their attempt to promote the town. On the garden route however, en-route to Knysna, there is much to see – but I suggest that unless ‘dead quiet’ and paying through your nose is what you’re looking for, give Knysna a miss. The houseboating was fun though, but it was too cold (mmm, good weather for a newly married couple to snuggle in 🙂 ) I think for the houseboating to be a true experience, it needs to be a team effort – like a group of friends in the summer, where lazy warm afternoons are spent sunbathing and evenings spent with a barbeque on deck accompanied by sundowners… this would be more appropriate and scene-setting.
By wednesday morning we’d seen enough of the wet, expensive little place, with the all-too-confined sleeping quarters… and so the second part of our honeymoon trip beckoned…
to be continued