Monday, March 31, 2008

Letters - Briewe

Thanks to SAPS

My mother and a friend from the UK recently visited your small town.

They were going to drive over the Swartberg Pass and went to the police station first to let them know. They said that they would phone the police when they got to the other side and if they hadn't phoned, asked whether the police would mind going to look for them.

Well, what happened next has to be the most unbelievable act of kindness they could have ever experienced. These two old ladies were given two police escorts to drive them over the Pass; one policeman drove my mother’s car while the other followed. I only know that the one policeman’s name was Fanie and it was a Captain Claassen who organised the escort.

We cannot express our gratitude enough and would like to thank the policemen concerned for being so gracious and helpful. This could only happen in Africa.

Kind regards and keep up the excellent work.

Jenny du Toit
Cape Town

What do tourists really want?

I think that there are as many answers to this question as there are tourists.

For hundreds of years, philosophers like Nietzsche, have been pondering why people travel. He suggested that through travel, a person may learn how his “societies and identities have been formed by the past and so acquire a sense of continuity and belonging.”

As early as the 1800s, poet William Wordsworth advocated trips into the country as “an indispensable corrective to the psychological damage inflicted by life in the city”.

Alain de Botton, author of The Art of Travel, says that the charm of a foreign place arises from the simple idea of novelty and change. He also says: “What we find exotic abroad may be what we hunger for in vain at home.” The 70s hippie rush to the East seems a good example of this.

Or maybe people simply travel for fun, and return home to dine out on their experiences.

That tourists love Prince Albert and the Karoo, there is no doubt, and it is easy to see why. So I will refrain from applauding our virtues and throw in another idea – that different aspects of tourism could co-exist.

The quad bikes, 4x4s racing through our veldt, off-road motor bikes, hang gliders jumping off our mountains, all the activities extreme sport tourists demand could work alongside our peace and quiet, our art and our culture. So long as the two don’t conflict. Separate spaces could be allocated for the noisy stuff, way out of town on a piece of otherwise useless ground.

I am concerned that in this world of certain change, if provision is not made for new directions in tourism, Prince Albert may be “left on the shelf” like a musty old maiden aunt, appealing only to those looking for a trip into the past.

The world moves fast these days, let’s move with it.

Romy Matthews

Auf Wiedersehen

My time in Prince Albert has passed very quickly and it is difficult to believe that three months have already passed. I return to Germany in the middle of March.

I have appreciated Prince Albert and its people very much. I have found the people open, friendly and most happy to help. I take away good memories of this beautiful place.

My school in Germany is very different to Hoërskool Zwartberg but it has been good to be a student here and I have learned much.

I want to say a special thank you to Gerda and Jürgen Klein – friends of my grandma - because without their invitation and hospitality my trip would not have been possible

I look forward to returning someday!

Laura Lukanz
(Grand daughter of Edeltraud Pfob)

No to a noisy airfield

As a fairly new and very happy resident of our lovely little town, I would like to comment on a recent suggestion to reopen the airfield for small planes (which will inevitably be followed by the incessant irritation of microlights, small helicopters and the like), as an additional attraction to tourists wishing to take flips over our beautiful mountains and surrounding countryside.

In my opinion, the type of tourists attracted by such amenities would completely destroy the charm and simplicity of our lovely, small historical town. This is its unique selling point and quintessential attraction, appealing to tourists from all walks of life wishing to see something different. To quote the editor of the March issue of Condé Nast House & Garden Magazine "I think the Karoo is pretty much as it has always been. What's changed is us. We are wanting what it has to offer - wilderness and all the non worldliness that it implies - more and more". She goes on to elaborate further in her editorial, and I hope the people concerned think long and hard before taking a step which would reduce this special place to just another ordinary small town.

Jackie Canning

Goodbye Prince Albert

To all of you good folk of Prince Albert, my sad good-bye – I shall truly miss you, the genuine care and friendships which wrapped me on every hand.

Lewis Tilney

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