After more ballroom dancing by our shipmates, our next excursion took us to the glorious island of Saint Lucia and into the capital city of Castries – a town with lots of charming colonial buildings. At this fabulous port, we would see some of the beauty, history and culture of Saint Lucia by making stops at the Morne Fortune fortress, Caribelle Batik, The Distillery and St. Marks – an authentic colonial mansion way up on the hillside.
“St. Lucia is the sort of island that travelers to the Caribbean dream about – a small, lush tropical gem that is still relatively unknown. One of the Windward Islands of the Lesser Antilles, it is located midway down the Eastern Caribbean chain, between Martinique and St. Vincent, north of Barbados. St. Lucia is only 27 miles long and 14 miles wide, with a shape that is said to resemble either a mango or an avocado (depending on your taste). The Atlantic Ocean kisses its eastern shore, while the beaches of the west coast owe their beauty to the calm Caribbean Sea.” – READ MORE about Saint Lucia
The Pitons (pronounced Pee-tons) are the twin peaks (volcanic spires) of Saint Lucia. The larger of the two – Gros Piton is 2,530 ft. and just slightly smaller is Petit Piton at 2,438 ft. Click for some photos of the Pitons, since I don’t recall our tour guide even talking about them. I think this was the tour where I couldn’t really understand the woman who was speaking. That must be why I have so few photos of things I would normally shoot.
You may think that my lapse in memory may have something to do with our first stop being The Distillery, the only rum distillery on the island. We thoroughly enjoyed the guided tour to see how this sweet nectar is produced, and then got to taste the sweet nectar first hand. Since they pretty much left us alone to taste whatever we wanted, with bottles of different varieties all around a U-shaped table and shot-glasses galore, this could have been a dangerous spot for us as we tried to minimize our cruise expenses by taking advantage of the freebies. Had there been some of the mix from the last tour to make the Bajan Rum, I would have been all over it, but straight rum wasn’t as easy for me to swallow, so we did some tasting and headed in to buy a bottle we could enjoy several months later when we needed a reminder of the beautiful Caribbean. See? It was a poor tour guide, not my enjoyment of the sweet nectar that makes this blog post a little skimpy – photo wise.
The tour included a video, a spice market and some recreations of carnival costumes for us to try on, which made for some interesting photos! It was meant to give an insight into spirit of the Saint Lucians. It sure was fun, I know that! I also know that I have more pictures of the costumes and I’ll post them as soon as I find them.
We hopped on the bus and headed on to another studio of Caribelle Batik, where many of the island’s batik creations are made. If you’ll remember my Saint Kitts blog, I gave a description of the Batik process and showed some fabulous photos of the beautiful landscaped grounds of the shop on that island. This stop only offered products made from the dyed fabric, which was nice because after wishing I had bought something at the last stop, I was able to buy it here. Although there was no demonstration of the process, which I thoroughly enjoyed at the previous stop, this shop was located in an old Victorian mansion with fabulous views. It looks as though their website may be under construction, so there’s not much info on there, but all in all, it was a very nice stop.
We were supposed to go to Morne Fortune next – a 17th century strategic outpost that was a key battleground during the fight for Saint Lucia’s colonization, but somehow we missed that, because I don’t recall the fortress at all, and I surely would have taken some pictures. Maybe it was the rum? Maybe it was the tour guide again. I’ll go with her, because when I looked at the photos in the link above of the fortress, we did not see it. Oh well.
I do remember the fabulous views and the gentleman that let me take his picture for $2. He was just one of the colorful characters of this fabulous island, who weaved hats out of the local vegetation. The photos below were taken when we stopped at an overlook with great views of Marigot Bay.
The photo below is of the Governor’s Mansion. It was amazing how you can go from a mansion like this to shacks that are about to fall down. I guess government officials score in other countries as well.
Next stop was St. Marks – an authentic colonial mansion with a spectacular view of the harbor and Castries. For a great photo of the outside, which also slipped my mind to photograph (that may have been the rum), click HERE. We had a great guided tour of the house and then some traditional Saint Lucian snacks and rum punch on the fabulous wrap-around porch where we could see our ship docked in the harbor below. The gorgeous tree in front of the porch was easy to spot on our bus-ride back to the ship, so we knew right where we had been and how high up the hill we were at the time. What a great day!
The last picture above is our ship, docked right on the other side of the Bougainvilleas. We stopped to enjoy a cheap local beer, called a Piton – remember the twin peaks? It is brewed by the company owned by Heineken. Of course, the locals prefer Heineken but the tourists love the Piton. We could see why! If you click on the link (Piton), you can watch a nice video about Saint Lucia. Pretty nice for a beer commercial.
We also had some great views as we pulled away from Saint Lucia. I could see coming back here, for the views, for the flowers and for the rum!
“Saint Lucia is the perfect destination, whether you’re after romance, rejuvenation or adventure. A genuine, natural landscape of gorgeous palm-fringed beaches, miles of unspoiled rainforest and the majestic Piton Mountains, are sure to indulge every taste. Natural waterfalls, breath-taking views, friendly locals and authentic culture impress the most travelled individuals for a holiday with lasting memories.” – READ MORE about why YOU should visit Saint Lucia
For a few more things to see while you’re there, visit this website.
Next up: Eastern Caribbean Cruise: Finale