A Beach Walk in Memories

Anne Bonfert

Repeating my daily routines from years back

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Credit: Anne Bonfert

When I used to live in Swakopmund (Namibia, southern Africa) I would go almost daily for walks on the beach. First of all, because I always dreamt of living on the beach and all of a sudden I just did it. Living in a coastal town. And secondly, I had a dog to go for walks. As easy as that.

Yes, it’s the cold Atlantic ocean and the beach has nothing tropical in itself but it doesn’t matter. I lived on the beach. So enjoy it while you can. I told myself.

Getting attached to the dog of my boss I would always walk with her when she would go for a walk. We could chat for hours while walking. And if she was gone on holiday or wherever, I would take her dog and explore the coastline up and down.

Lost in my thoughts I could write books during those walks. So much creativity and inspiration sparked from the trips along the beach. Loved it. Walking on the beach has a healing factor in itself. For me at least.

Being back in the coastal town after having lived for a year in Thailand and six months in Germany I very much looked forward to these walks again. And to see the dog again. The dog I fell in love with.

The dog that taught me how to like dogs. And why you don’t have to afraid of dogs. Unless they are rat-sized. Then do a big detour around them. But all of this is a whole different story.

Today was the day to meet each other again. The first time in six months. What a reunion. There’s just nothing like a dog’s love. You can be gone for two minutes and he will come to greet you tail wagging as if you’ve been gone a week.

And you can be gone for a year and he won’t pretend like he doesn’t know you. He greets you as you’ve always been his best friend and he spends all this time just waiting for you.

So that was how it looked liked when he saw me on the beach. He forgot the other dogs distracting him earlier. He came racing towards me. Tail wagging and smiling from one ear to another.

I missed you too my buddy!

After I finished greeting Zak I also greeted her. My former boss. A good friend of mine now. And we started chatting. Last seen at the beginning of the pandemic there was a lot we had to catch up on.

Despite her telling me I missed these gardens in their full bloom this year in early spring, I still embrace the flowers. The colorful blossoms. Gardens planted in a mixture of beach sand and desert sand.

It’s a misty morning. But that doesn’t bother me at all. Fog hanging over the coast is part of living in this town. There aren’t many days without mist. And there aren’t many days either in which the fog doesn’t move out or disappear.

Despite the cold ocean breeze, I can feel the summer. The rays of sunshine burning through the fog are the most dangerous ones. The ones that bring you the worst sunburns.

You think it’s overcast. You think the sun won’t burn you. And you don’t put sunscreen on. Your worst mistake ever. First of all the fog will most probably lift eventually and second of all the sun burns through the fog. While clouds block the sun, fog doesn’t. So without feeling the warmth of the sun rays you burn.

It has been a long learning curve. But after living for five years in this town I learned my lessons. Some very painful ones. But believe me now if I tell you to put sunscreen on. Just do it.

While walking and chatting I stop now and then to capture the beauty of this walk. The flowers. The beach. The gardens. The palm trees. Einfach alles. Simply all of it is worth capturing.

And as we continue walking I don’t realize the fog has disappeared. I just start getting warm. Taking layers of clothes off. One by one. Also typical for those walks.

You can still see the fog bank hanging over the ocean. But the town is free. It’s sunny and warm all of a sudden. People go for walks, do their daily cardio exercise on the beach, or cycle together with friends.

This path is very popular. Especially in lockdown times when people here weren’t allowed to anything outdoors except walking their dogs or do exercise, this path was packed.

Going into the small park in front of the Mall we have to slow down our walk. Too many smells. Zak, the dog, has to sniff every bush and leave his mark behind. That takes time. Plus lots of dogs around here. Dogs to play with.

That’s okay with us. More time to chat about my last season in Germany and her business trying to survive the lack of tourism. It isn’t easy but by minimizing her staff and putting out some specials for locals she is doing her best.

One of these days I will have to come with. To the dunes. To go sandboarding again and explore the desert with my buddy Zak. He loves to chase me when I go down on the sandboard.

We always had so much fun together.

By the way. Where is he? We can’t see him. We see all the other dogs. But not him. That’s typical. He has been hiding. He can be a bit shy next to other dogs. He’s an easy dog. I can walk with him through town, crossing main streets without putting him on the leash.

While talking about friends and family we are slowly turning around making our way back. This is usually the time Zak would slow down and you would need to drag him step by step.

But not this time. For the past six months, my boss would go with him often twice a day for a walk since there was no work. So he is fit now. He can walk for hours without a break.

I could do with some water and a change of clothing. From a chilled spring morning, it turned quickly into an African summer heat day. That is Swakopmund. The town where you get four seasons in a day.

We’re entering another set of gardens in front of a housing complex. Every time I would this way up the beach with him I would enter the gardens on the way back. He simply loves them. And me too!

Just look at those views. As much as people hate the weather in this town I must say I learned to love it. This mist bank in front of the clear blue sky and the ocean underneath it. A beautiful contrast of colors.

As I’m heading up the beach to get to my house it’s time to say goodbye. Dogs aren’t for goodbyes. They only like reunions. So I just say see you next time and disappear around the corner.

What a lovely walk it was.

All pictures are taken with my GoPro Hero 7.
“The world would be a nicer place if everyone had the ability to love as unconditionally as a dog.” — M.K. Clinton

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I am a traveler. Photographer. Writer. Teacher. Skydiving instructor. Adventure enthusiast. Nature lover. And fell in love with the African continent. My stories go around travel, nature and all kinds of adventurous activities.

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