Yes, I’m a week behind with our Project 52. We’ve been away on the holiday of a lifetime for the last two weeks and I’m catching up.
Two Saturdays ago we set off for the Caribbean to join our cruise ship. Some of you will remember that I won the holiday in a competition before Christmas. We’d never been to the Caribbean before so you can imagine how excited we were. An early start, long flight and change of time zones meant that we were exhausted by the time early evening came around. H had to be carried down asleep to attend the compulsory muster (like a fire drill, but for ship safety stuff). Once that was over the ship could leave Barbados and we could retire to our beds.
The next day we were still tired, but H was keen to explore the ship and try out the various swimming pools. It was good to have a day at sea without any shore excursion possibilities to take it easy and get used to life on-board.
Our first port of call was St. Lucia. We spent the morning exploring Castries, the capital. The highlight of our walk round was a visit to the cathedral with its colourfully-painted interior where we were joined by literally hundreds and hundreds of St. Lucian schoolgirls attending a mass to celebrate their new term. It was an amazing sight seeing the girls stream in through every entrance, immaculately turned out in their navy, school pinafore dresses with bright white blouses and socks. Surprised too to see their teachers all dressed in school colours.
Tuesday saw us visiting delightful Grenada. Grenada was a real surprise as I hadn’t picked out from the other islands from the guidebook, but it was a joy to visit with colourful houses, laid back people and stunning scenery. We went on a rum and chocolate tour here and saw both products being produced and got the chance to sample them too.
Wednesday saw us in Dominica which is perhaps the least developed of the bigger islands with large areas of rainforest and some of the native Indians surviving. We went on a row boat trip up the Indian River, through the rain forest, seeing herons, humming birds, lizards, crabs and even locations from the Pirates of the Caribbean films along the way before ending up at a rustic bar for a shot of rum punch.
The next day we were in St.Kitts visiting a world heritage site: Brimstone Hill Fortress. This was a real piece of British (and French) history in the Caribbean and familiar to us, in many ways after so many visits to castles in the UK.
Friday saw us visiting St.Maartan which was our first former Dutch island. It was very different to what I expected as it was very American and very busy (there were five enormous cruise ships in port that day). On the back streets though we came across some lovely, old, Dutch style buildings and got a bit of a hint into the character of the island away from the main area of Williamstad town.