I must admit, Windhoek would not top the list as one of my favourite destinations for Christmas. I would much rather spend a Christmas in London or even here in Namibia at the coast…somewhere where there is a vibrant atmosphere. But with the arrival of our very own Mr G, there are quite a few considerations that I have to take into account. And so it is that we spend Christmas in Windhoek with the extended family and yes, it was way better than I expected.
Firstly, Windhoek is a breeze over Christmas. The traffic is way less than normal and the usual drunk and careless drivers have moved elsewhere. Secondly, shopping is actually possible as parking isn’t an issue and the queues in the shops are manageable. And lastly, it is quiet. Traffic completely stops at night with hardly any ambulance sirens tearing through the night.
As with all ups, there are always downs too. In Namibia, everything locks down on public holidays and even more so over Christmas. So for the foreign traveller stuck in Windhoek over these days, I do feel sorry. Hardly any shops will be open after 14h00 and forget about finding an open restaurant on the 25th December. I seriously doubt if you will find any point of interest open. Namibians are not nearly as greedy as elsewhere in the world. Family time is much more important here than keeping shops and restaurants open until midnight on Christmas Day.
And so it is that we rather carefully planned our days. As Namibia is an ex German colony, most Afrikaans families celebrate Christmas on the evening of the 24th. This year, we were joined by our extended family from South Africa who celebrates Christmas on the 25th. And for the first time in my life, I had to wait until after church on the 25th for the gifts. Thankfully Mr G is still too small to understand that he would have, under normal circumstances, received his gifts a day earlier!
To accommodate the change in tradition, we still gathered on the 24th and had a good old fashioned braai (barbeque). On the 25th we went to church (probably the only one offering a place of worship in town!) and then gathered again for the exchange of gifts and eating… and then some more eating.
As a Christian family, we try to remember that Christmas is not about gifts which I think we manage fairly well. But I think we should also try to remember that it is not about eating! It’s been a long time since I have eaten this much.
Namibians don’t celebrate Boxing Day. In fact, hardly anyone would know what it is. No shopping for us on the 26th. And so it is, that we planned another round of sitting on the porch while chatting, eating and drinking the day away. But we forgot to buy the extra food and drinks for the day… and could not find one open shop during the afternoon. Namibians don’t do shopping… not on the 26th
After four days of basically doing nothing but eating and drinking and chatting, we called it quits and packed our little car with lots and lots of luggage and hit the road home to Otjiwarongo.
To all the friends and family that we had the privilege of spending time with during this time, thank you so much! To all the grans and aunts helping me with Mr G, even a bigger thank you
For a Review on the one place that we did find open… Primi Piati