Mar 122013
 

Originally our plan was to take a boat from Trinidad to Venezuela, then travel through Venezuela to Colombia.
After talking with people, and reading some advice and information about Venezuela, we decided to skip the whole country, and find another way to Colombia. It turns out that kidnapping,robbery and murder of tourists are all too common there, especially in the capital Caracas. We figured that if we wont feel safe there, there is not much reason to go there. One lady we spoke with had lived in Caracas for 10 years, but never gone into the center because it was too dangerous. That says something. In addition to that it is generally hazardous, it was even worse when we were supposed to go there, as President Hugo Chavez was dying.
So we went to Curacao instead, although it was approximately twice as expensive. On the flight from Trinidad til Curacao, flying above Venezuela, we saw several deserted archipelagoes that looked like the perfect paradise. A good reason to buy a sailboat one day.

Willemstad views

Willemstad views

At the airport Jan Driesprong came to pick us up and drove us to his house on the outskirts of Willemsted (capital).

Jan Driesprong is a couch surfing host who thankfully opened his home for us the 5 days we would stay on this island. He is a funny guy; a Dutchman in his 60's who has spent much of his life traveling around the world before he settled in Curacao 25 years ago.

Curacao sign

Curacao sign

He took us to the capital Willemsted and bought large quantities of beer for us, which was fine for us.
Willemsted is one of the nicest cities in the Caribbean. The houses are incredibly colorful, and of a special architecture. The Dutch built the city in the 1600s just after they had taken over the island from the Spaniards. The bridges have many imaginative

Torunn and Jan on the bridge

Torunn and Jan on the bridge

ways to let boats pass, inspired by Amsterdam. The biggest bridge has a motor that drives the bridge to the side every time a large boat is going past. That happens quite often because Curacao is a popular destination for cruise tourists, and in addition there is much traffic to the oil refinery located near the center.
In Curacao they speak Pamiento, which is a mix between Dutch and Creole. Some people on Curacao speak only Pamiento, which means that if they go to any other place than Curacao they will be "lost in translation".
One museum that is worth checking out in Willemstad Location is the slave museum. Curacao was in fact the island where all the slaves were transported to, directly from Africa. On the market in Willemstad the slaves were sold to the highest bidder from one of the other Caribbean islands. Then they were transported there to work on the sugar plantations of rich Europeans.
The museum was interesting and showed how horrible slaves were treated during transport, and during work. It was common that the slavetraders brought too many slaves in the ship so that 1/3 of them died during shipment(150 people). They also had focus on all the racism that blacks were subjected to after the slavery was forbidden. Their life was not much better even after the emancipation..

Jan was a perfect host; He not only gave us shelter, but he also drove us around the island to see everything that was worth seeing, our own private guide! .

Beer with Jan Driesprong

Beer with Jan Driesprong

He took us to the north of the island to a small lake with thousands of beautiful pink flamingos. Then we went on to the east coast where the terrain is a mix of desert and volcanic rock. The sea is crashing against the cliffs, forming some incredible rock formations and caves. It was worth a visit.

Curacao flamingoes

Curacao flamingoes

When it was time for lunch, he drove to the other side of the island, where the ocean is a little quieter, and there are many beaches.

We had lunch right next to a beach, and it was not long before we were surrounded by 15-20 giant lizards. The local iguanas have learned that there are easier ways to find food than to look for green grass in the desert terrain.
Tourists are usually more than willing to feed the cute annoying lizards, and we were no exception. Once the damage is done there is no longer any point trying to convince restaurant-owners that they should not let people feed wild animals. They are amazing and interesting creatures to observe. There is something quite special about having 3 small dinosaurs climbing on your leg while trying to eat your lunch. There were many people feeding them with french fries, which perhaps is not quite ideal for their digestive system.
There are quite a few that eat iguanas on Curacao, even if it is not allowed nowadays.
Of course we did some diving on this island too! No Caribbean island without diving!

Diving from the beach !

Diving from the beach !

This time was a bit special because we only paid for the gear and jumped into the sea from the beach. Jan was kind enough to drive us out to the nicest beach on the island; Cas Abao.
We rented the equipment and did 2 dives on the coral reefs, and relaxed on the beach in between diving. Cas Abao is a fantastic beach with white sand, bar with beers, and lot of nice little palms for shade.

Morey eel swimming

Morey eel swimming

Brain coral and Torunn

Brain coral and Torunn

Curacao feels like an island where all the locals do their own thing, and are not too bothered with tourists, with the exception of some merchants near the cruise terminal. It's not the nicest island we visited, but it has its charms, especially Willemsted. I was seriously annoyed at the authorities when they took 40$ from us at the airport in "departure tax". That is quite a lot of money to pay for nothing, and not fair to tourists who have already spent a lot of money in their country. Curacao is also the richest island in the Caribbean since they have so much oil wealth .
After 4 months of island hopping in the Caribbean, it was almost melancholic to leave the last island, island number 22 and country number 12 on the trip. On the other hand I looked very much forward to going to South America, where prices are low, beers are large, and you do not have to take expensive flights everywhere.

 Posted by at 9:09 pm
Feb 072013
 

We happily arrived in St.Vincent, ready to take on the hard task of island hopping through the Grenadines. We felt ready for some relaxation after 5 days of intensive sightseeing and activities on Dominica. Finally we got a chance to just relax a bit on various tropical islands with tropical beaches and azure-blue ocean.

Local Hairoun beer and Torunn

Local Hairoun beer and Torunn


We spent a half day in the capital Kingstown where we found a local festival where we got to taste some local favorites; Callolou soup(tasty) og Mauby(horrible). The city was chaotic and lacked charm. The locals rushed around in dirty and disorganized streets - we decided early on to go right to the smaller islands without having to spend any more time on the main island.
We jumped on a ferry to Bequia. The front of the ferry read out: "Andøya, Tromsø" and signs around the ferry were in Norwegian. How they have managed to get that small ferry across the Atlantic is beyond my understanding.
Bequia is a small island with a few thousand inhabitants. It is a sailing paradise. The harbour is full of yachts from all possible countries, and the streets are full of typical sailboat people. We came to the pier in the afternoon with no place to stay. We figured we would just walk around the place and we would find lots of cheap guesthouses to choose from. Unfortunately, there were very very limited amounts of cheap places to stay. If you have a lot of money there are lots of places to stay.
Hillsbourough sunset

Hillsbourough sunset


We were lucky to find an apartment to live in right before dark, but it was a higher price than we were used to pay.
Crab that loved banana

Crab that loved banana


It was a nice little village with local fruit markets and restaurants along the waterfront. The water in the Grenadines was the most turquoise color I have ever seen. We spent most of the day at various beaches, well-earned rest after many months of island hopping.
We also visited a guy who worked with protection of the local sea turtles. He told us that most local there do not care if they are endangered, they still steal their eggs and kill turtles for food. Extremely sad, but it is unfortunately like this everywhere in the Caribbean.
Turtle Rescue Centre

Turtle Rescue Centre


The guy that was running the turtle sanctuary used to eat them, but one day when he was in the tent on the beach there was a turtle right up to his door and buried her eggs. He let the eggs be and one day when his friends came to visit appeared a small turtle by
Stig and green turtle

Stig and green turtle

sand. The friends were surprised that he left the eggs in place without making an omelette, and when the turtles appeared they made the pot ready for a little evening snack. But he had an epiphany and thought the whole episode was a sign from God that he from then on had to protect turtles from extinction. It would have been better if he could keep God out of the picture and protect them on his own initiative, but the important thing is that he does a good job for the turtles. We visited his house by the sea. He has hundreds of tiny turtles that can not even dive, and dozens of larger turtles are in rehabilitation. In the wild the turtles can not dive until they are 4-5
The biggest turtle

The biggest turtle

months old, so there is only 1 of 3000 turtles that survive. When turtles are old enough to fend for themselves, he drops them into the ocean. He has had one of the turtles there for 30 years, and he considers it as a pet. There were 2 holes in its shell. He said it was because he tends to tie it to the boat when he is out swimming, so that it can swim with him.
After 5 days, we felt that we had seen most of what Bequia had to offer, so we went to the next island called Mayreau. Mayreau is the smallest inhabited island in the Grenadines. Only 300 people live there, and they did not have electricity until 2005.
The first one we met at the dock was a man named John Roache. He was pretty funny, and spoke non-stop. We really just wanted to find a place to stay in Mayreau, but before we knew it, he was well under way with a tirade about world peace and how we can save the children. He was very involved in peace and such.
Tough days in Mayreau

Tough days in Mayreau

He knew the name of Jens Stoltenberg as he had sent letters to him about world peace and stuff. He was also a personal friend of the Pope as he was penpals with him too(although I really think that it was a one-way communication). He told us that he has won an award for being a St.Vincent and Grenadines hero(not quite clear on why), and he has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize as St.Vincent and the Grenadines candidate. Little Mayreau is possibly the last place in the world you'd expect to meet someone who is nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.
We were lucky enough to find a lady that we got to rent a room from. It was a small island that we could walk across in 10 minutes. There was not much to do there beside the obvious - lying on the beach.
After 2 days we were picked up by a dive boat that came from Union island, which is the next inhabited island in the Grenadines. They took us to a group of uninhabited paradise islands called Tobago Cays. Parts of the «Pirates of the caribbean» -movies were filmed here, and when you are there it is easy to recognize many of the scenes from the movies. Our guidebook praised this area highly, as the most amazingly beautiful place on planet earth, and a "must" for diving.
Porcupine fish !

Porcupine fish !


The diving was very expensive, and just average quality. There were a lot of fish and we saw some nurse sharks. Luckily we got to do some snorkeling with turtles after the dives.
Torunn and Stig underwater

Torunn and Stig underwater

All the turtles are located in an area with a lot of seagrass.
Union island was our last island in the Grenadines. There was a nice little town called Clifton where they sold a lot of fruit and they had good pizzas, but otherwise there is not much to see or do on Union island.
Crocodile fish

Crocodile fish

We went up to the top of the mountain near Clifton where there was a small fort and a nice view of the rest of the island and the Grenadines.
The Grenadines were beautiful, but it was the most disappointing country in the Caribbean for me. I had been looking forward to going there because it was a chance to see many small islands which actually had ferry connections. What was disappointing was that the people there were generally very unpleasant and mostly quite rude and grumpy. Its a wonder how they can be like that, living in a tropical paradise.
The airport on Union Island, Clifton

The airport on Union Island, Clifton


In the apartment we rented in Bequia, we were thrown out of the place at 8 on a Sunday morning by a crazy old lady who wanted us out before the morning ferry came in, just in case there would be any other tourists who needed an apartment. All the 5 days we were there, there had been no other tourists who had shown any interest in her apartment, and she had another apartment that was empty. Yet she felt that it was a good idea to throw us out in the morning for no reason when our boat did not leave before 5 the afternoon. That meant we had to carry our backpacks around for the rest of the day - not cool!
It was also very expensive for both food and housing. Most tourists on these islands are sailboat people who have both house and food with them.
I was glad when we took a small mailboat from Union island to another small island called Carriacou, which is also in another country - Grenada. The people there were friendlier.

 Posted by at 1:15 in the morning
Jan 292013
 

We approached Dominica in our anciently old and small airplane with 70 75 year-old captain Mike at the controls. The airport was as small as it is possible for an airport to be, But Mike made a miraculous landing on the short runway with his heap-of-junk aircraft . Finally we were on the fruit island of Dominica - The forgotten paradise island in the Caribbean sea.
It was one of the few islands we travelled to without having any idea of where we were going to stay. We took a bus to the capital Roseau and wandered around with our big backpacks . The people there were not particularly friendly or helpful, but this was a phenomenon we discovered was similar on most of the islands we visited.

Stig and Captain Mike on the way to Dominica

Stig and Captain Mike on the way to Dominica

We had not booked a hotel in advance because it was impossible to find anything at a reasonable rate on the internet. After an hour of searching around, in the dirty and congested streets of Roseau, we found a place to stay. It would be wrong to characterize it as a hotel, motel, hostel or guesthouse. It was one step down from all those characterizations.
There was no reception, just an anonymous old door that led straight into a kitchen. There was an ancient lady in pajamas who led us up to the second floor. The second floor looked like the inside of a 200 years old woodshed, and smelled like it as well. There was a kind of living room with some dusty furnitures, and several doors that led into the various rooms. The rooms were all occupied with local rastas who did what Rastas enjoy doing; smoking pot.
The old woman in pajamas led us into a dark corridor, to a room that reeked of mildew, and there were gaps in the floor where we

Sellers roadside

Sellers roadside

could look down to the room on the first floor. The beds were exceedingly unpleasant, full of metal springs that almost poked through the top of the mattress.
Luckily I managed to persuade Torunn to stay there with me, all in the name of budget travelling!!
The only compromise I had to conceed was that we would take the "nicer" of the two rooms she showed us.
Roseau is not a city worth spending any amount of time in, It is simply a good base to see the west side of the island.
The streets of Roseau are very busy, with lots of traffic and local Caribs chugging back and forth. On the 4 days we stayed there we discovered that it was virtually impossible to find a grocery store, and the same with restaurants. There was many a night where we walked around for hours looking for food before we finally had to give up and go to Pizzahut. Pizzahut was the only open restaurant we found, but we tried to avoid it, as we sort of wanted to eat local Dominican food. The result was that we had to eat our breakfast at Subway and dinners at Pizzahut, so all american food and no local food.
Another thing that was annoying about Roseau was that there was alot of cruise ships there every single day. One day we were wandering around in the streets, and minding our own business, and suddenly we saw a long line of tanned old people with cameras around their neck and the classic panama hat on their heads. Typical cruise tourists. Fortunately we managed to escape them by going deeper into the twisting streets of Roseau, but we had already concluded that this was not a prospective place to stay!

delicious local beer

delicious local beer

Dominica is a very nice little island with an incredible amount of rainforests, waterfalls, hot springs, fruit trees everywhere and lots of colorful birds.

In the hot springs

In the hot springs

In a place like Dominica it is a real shame to stay in the only congested city, but it is necessary for those who are on a budget. There are lots of so-called "EcoResorts" – which are small cabins that are far out in the jungle. Some of them have sea views and an open design, so there are actually parrots entering the rooms during the days. The disadvantage of these places is that they typically cost 1000-1500 kroner each night(200$), Unlike the 200 kroner(30$) we paid in Roseau.
We only had 6 days for Dominica, but got to experience alot

man VS waterfall

man VS waterfall

of the island in that time. We travelled to one of the many waterfalls that the island had to offer. There was a waterfall surrounded by pristine rainforest named Trafalgar falls. The only way to describe it is to imagine the floating mountains of Avatar with waterfalls coming of them.
This is the number 1 tourist attraction on the island, but me and Torunn were completely alone when we were there. Thank God that there were no cruise ships in that day!
We climbed over the large stones that lay around the mouth of the waterfall . From there we followed the river downwards and bathed in various pristine pools. The water was just the perfect cold temperature - around 20 degrees, which is about three times hotter than any Norwegian river water.
The best thing about it all was that in parallel with the river flowed a stream of water that came out of the mountain in the same area where the falls come down. The creek was formed by water that came from deep inside the mountain and kept a very high temperature. At the start of the stream the water was almost boiling temperature, but further down it was around 40 C . We bathed first in the cold water, and then in the warm water that stank of sulfur, Just like at the spa!

In a bathtub with volcanic water

In a bathtub with volcanic water

Where the warm stream met the river it was possible to be in the cold river, while we got a hot shower from the sulfur water. The rest of the day was spent in an outdoor spa, where they had several sulfur springs with different temperatures, and an area with sulfurous mud. There was also lots of tasty fruits falling off the myriads of fruit trees there. I picked avacados, grapefruit, oranges and star fruit so that we had something to munch on while we relaxed in the warm mineral water.
It's the best day we had on the entire trip. A wonderful nature experience without us having to walk through miles of forest and mountains to get there (as we did with all the mountains we have climbed)
On our second day in Dominica, we had to work a little harder for nature experiences. We were going to go deep into the forest to find the fabled world's second largest boiling lake.
We almost wore ourselves out just to get to the beginning of the trail, because there was not much public transportation up in the mountains.

I "valley of desolation"

. “valley of desolation”

We got a bus to drop us off on a random road far up in the mountains, and started walking from there. After an hour of walking, vertically, we were already exhausted before

The guide leads the way through the valley

The guide leads the way through the valley

we had come to the start of the tough path that led to the lake. Luckily we hiked with a car that took us even higher up the mountain to the trail. At the start of the trail we met a group of middle-aged barbadossians that had a guide who were taking them to the lake. We decided join the gang, as a guide apparently was mandatory on the trail, and they had found a local guide to take them.
They were a nice bunch who shared all sorts of strange Barbados food with us, but me and Torunn would probably have walked the trail twice as fast without them.
It was actually a pretty tough trail that went up one tropical rainforest mountain, and down the next, until finally we arrived at a valley called «valley of desolation". A very appropriate name as it was a valley with no plants, and with lots of volcanic activity. The air stank from sulphur, and everywhere there were pools of actively boiling water, and streams that were colored chalkwhite from the minerals.

Stig and Torunn on new adventures

Stig and Torunn on new adventures

It felt like we were in Mordor on the way to Mount Doom, only without the ring. It is the most fairy tale-like place I have ever visited, and made more magical by the effort it took to get there. For every step we walked we had to be careful not to fall into a boiling puddle. There are reportedly many tourists who have been burned there, which is one of the reasons that a guide is required. We proceeded deeper into the rainforest on the other side of the valley. After a while we came to yet another smelly sulfuric Mordor-world. It was the last major effort towards the boiling lake. We saw the cloud of vapor from the bottom of the mountain and started climbing with renewed eager for an imminent reward.
When we finally got to the lake we were not disappointed - it was boiling like like mad!
Those who climbed up there a few years ago however was very disappointed when they found out that not only had the lake stopped boiling, but it had disappeared altogether.
Over the next few months it came back again, but did not start boiling. Some were even stupid enough to bathe there…seriously Darwin Awards candidates. A few months later it started boiling like before, which marked the end of the bathing season.
Since we came with a group of middle-aged barbadians (hehe , maybe barbadossians sounds better?) it took over 4 hours to go up to the lake. Some of them did not make it all the way, but most of them got there by turtle speed. Me and Torunn were a bit restless.

A boiling lake

A boiling lake

The lake was a worthwhile destination, incredible to see it. We walked into a misty valley of water vapor and when it finally dissolved, we saw the bright green boiling sea. There are not many such oddities in the world, and this is the second largest, just after one in New Zealand. It was definitely worth a long walk through the rainforest. Actually the trip itself was worth it, even if there had not been a cool(maybe not the right adjective..) boiling lake at the end of it. We ditched the group, and went back to the start on less than half the time it took to go with the barbadossians..

On top of Scots head

On top of Scots head

The next day we rented a car and drove around the island. We drove all the way to the south of the island and snorkeled at a reef called "champagne reef». The name comes from the fact that there is volcanic activity below the reef

Champagne reef (bubbles) outside of Roseau

Champagne reef (bubbles) outside of Roseau

so that there is plenty of bubbles coming up from the rocks. It was just like swimming in a giant aquarium with a massive air pump. The fish looked like they enjoyed the bubbles, and to swim through them. We also visited some wonderful fishing villages south on the island, with many rasta fishermen.
We also drove to the north of the island and visited a town called Plymouth, apparently named after Plymouth in England.
On the way up we took a detour far into a jungleroad to take a walk in a rain forest. On the way we passed thousands of fruit trees that were chock full of ripe oranges, grapefruit, avacado, mango and star fruit. Amazingly lovely to be able to pick your own lunch.

sunset in Dominica

sunset in Dominica

The rainforest was very beautiful. The trees were massively big and ancient, and the forest was silent and magical, .Luckily we were alone there. After an hour on the trail, we heard some intense screams from farther in the woods, and we knew that it could only be one thing; Parrots. We went off the trail and sneaked gently deeper and deeper into the forest. As we came closer to the pack we suddenly saw 10-15 green screaming-machines fleeing from the tree they were sitting in; we had been discovered. We followed them deeper into the jungle, and I felt like a spy as I was lurking on tiptoe in an attempt to remain undetected. Finally we managed to get ourselves close enough to approach the herd without scaring them off, and got lots of nice photos and movies. These parrots were quite rare, of a type found only on this island (Red-necked amazon – close to extinction), so it was fun to get as close to them as we did.

Rare parrot

Rare parrot

blue-dotted lizard

blue-dotted lizard

The day ended with a visit to a beautiful fort, which was full of snakes and lizards, and then snorkeling on the reef at sunset. After sunset we were going to a new hotel on the north side of the island in a town called Marigot. We decided not to go the direct road, but instead take a route that went a little further north along the coast. It would later prove to be a bad idea. The road was insanely steep, so much so that I wondered if the car was going to topple over at times. It was an unusually poorly maintained road, It is not an exaggeration to say that there were more holes than road. It was up one mountain, and down the next, without really getting much closer to the where we were going. It took 3 hours to reach the hotel, while the other way would have taken less than an hour. It was a very long drive on the bad roads in the mountains, and in the dark as well.
The guesthouse we would stay in at Marigot was an Ecoresort; lots of small cottages and bungalows surrounded by forest, Flowers and untouched nature. They had messed up the booking so we got a cabin that was gigantic with our own huge terrace. The sound of the running water from the river was constant, and the following morning we woke up in a paradise of birds chirping, water flowing and the smell of flowers. There was a swarm of hummingbirds right outside our front porch.
It was definitely a place where we could have spent one week, or maybe one month. If I'm ever going to write a book this is where I would stay for inspiration; far in the forest, surrounded by nature and animals.
The last day we drove around along the northeast coast and visited a Carib village . Dominica is the only island in the Caribbean where you can still find survivors of the original Carib people.

kitchen

kitchen

All the Caribs were slaughtered when Europeans came to the islands to grow sugarcane so that the britts could have sugar in their tea. The only reason that there were a few who survived in Dominica is that they had a number of mountain ranges where they could hide from bloodthirsty Europeans. The village was a replica of how they lived, so it was just some straw huts here and there that we had to visit with a local overpriced guide . We saw a few more waterfalls in miscellaneous rain forests around the island.
Dominica has definitely been a highlight of our journey through the Caribbean, and is an island I could easily imagine myself going back to (although we DID manage to see most of the attractions on the days we were there).The hot springs (which are everywhere), the juicy fruits, the amazing rainforest with waterfalls everywhere, and the diversity of birds were all helping to make this our favorite island.
Bloggurat.

 Posted by at 5:24 in the morning
Jan 102013
 

Our plane was flying above one volcanic island after the next. We flew over Saba (one of the best places to dive in the world) and St.Eustasius before we saw the volcanic peaks of incredible St.Kitts and Nevis.
We landed at the worlds smallest airport, in St.Eustasius, before we took off and landed on the worlds second smallest airport, in Nevis. From there we took the boat over to St.Kitts in the sunset.

The volcanic island Nevis !

The volcanic island Nevis !


In St.Kitts we stayed in the capital Basseterre along with our new couch surfing buddy - a very jovial and cool American.
We stayed on the hill just above the capital Basseterre. It was a place with incredible views. .
St.Kitts and Nevis flag

St.Kitts and Nevis flag


In St.Kitts and Nevis there are many monkeys, more than twice as many as there are people. The people there see them as vermin because they eat all the crops and fruit. They were introduced to the islands 200 years ago by some jerk, and have quickly taken over the place.
Basseterre is a perfectly fine city, but there is not much to see there really. Okay place to walk around half a day before going off to see other places on the island. We spent our first day going to St.Kitts' most famous landmark : Brimstone Hill fortress. It is a very well-preserved fort built by the British, to chase away the French. Just like all the other islands in the Caribbean, St.Kitts has had a lot of different ownership through the years, and there have been many who have struggled to stay on the island. These fights started because everyone wanted to have a tropical island so that they could grow sugarcanes to put in their tea home in England. England and France shared St.Kitts, but it was not a harmonious friendship. It was only just long enough that they could kill all the original Karibs who lived there. They killed 4000 people on a day at the location where the fort is located, and the blood apparently flowed for days afterwards. That's why the place now called "bloody point".
Torunn riding a canon

Torunn riding a canon


The fort was definitely the highlight of St.Kitts. It was very cool, with fantastic views out over the neighboring islands Saba and St.Eustasius. There were many levels of the fort, One level with more canons than the next. It was very difficult for someone to take over the fort. . 1790 came 8000 French and tried to take it from 500 British soldiers. It took them over a month with a huge loss. The month afterwards there was a political agreement in Versailles that caused the French to have to give the island back to the British,. Surely a bummer to those who had been struggling for a month to take over the fort.
On the way down from the fort we saw a colony of green "Verdet" monkeys, but they were not interested in having contact.
To get around the island, we used the local buses, which are really just converted vans. This is the same on about all the Caribbean islands we have visited so far.
The fort is the main attraction on the island, Otherwise there are really not that many things to see. There is a place called Romney Manor which is located in a small forest at a villa halfway between Basseterre and Brimstone Hill Fortress. We went there as well, but were quite disappointed when we found out that it was only a small house with a nice garden. In the house lived a Carib woman who sold various works of art. Actually what I remember most about the place is that we found skinks in the garden. They are small lizards that look like 50/50 mix between lizard and snake. There were also some ruins of a sugar plantation, but this is something you can find everywhere on the Caribbean Islands.
One day we got up before dawn to meet a friend of our couch surfer named Andrew.
He met us in a small rastatown on the northeast side of the island. The plan was to go up to a herbal plantation and ecological "research center" that was far up in the jungle half way up the volcano.
A church in the middle of St.Kitts

A church in the middle of St.Kitts


After an ambitious drive in a small rental car through 1 meter tall grass and 60 degrees hill, combined with the half-hour walk through the jungle, we finally arrived to our destination. The only thing there was a chair, a hammock, and a tin roof. It was an older rasta man who owned and ran the place.
Only those who put up the sign can feed the monkey !

Only those who put up the sign can feed the monkey !


The goal was to grow some fruits and herbs to find out if there was anything that monkeys would not eat. It is a major problem on the island that the monkeys destroy farms and eat everything that is there.
Monkey eating freshly picked orange

Monkey eating freshly picked orange


The plan for this rasta man was to find a solution to the problem, but was very vague about how it would take place. Every time he planted anything, the monkeys came and destroyed the field shortly after.
It was a handy little excursion, Sitting and enjoying the scenery and smoking marijuana is the most common activity up there in the jungle.
..., ...
Organic herbal plantation on a volcano

Organic herbal plantation on a volcano

One of Mikes friends, Chris was accidentally married to a veterinarian at the local veterinary school . That suited us very well as it gave us something to do the next day - a personal tour from professor Rebecca Hall of the veterinary school with the best surroundings in the world.
The school campus is located directly on the Caribbean sea, overlooking the bright blue tropical waters from the lecture hall. I dont think I had managed to focus on the study with that view,….but considering that the students there have to pay 600 000 kroner (100 000 USD) a year to study there, they may be a little more motivated. Dad will probably be pretty angry if they fail and have retake the semester..
The rest of the day we drove around the island with Chris and visited the finest beaches in St.Kitts. Then we went to a rastafarm where he taught us various yoga techniques.
Later in the evening we had a barbecue with Chris and Rebecca. It was a typical night in St.Kitts with fun new friends, lots of food and of course enormous amounts of rum. They were a great gang that made us wish we could have stayed longer on the island, so we had a good evening with good drinks that gave us a headache in the morning.
Torunn and the girls making kebabs

Torunn and the girls making kebabs


The next day we took the boat over to Nevis to spend some time there. St Kitts and Nevis is a typical 2 island state where residents of one island is talking shit about the residents on the other island. Nevisians say that Kittsians are some scary guys who are just looking for trouble. Every time there is a crime committed in Nevis there is immediate assumption that the villain must be a visitor from St.Kitts. The Kittsians are always full of mischief !
He who we stayed with was very fed up with the with Kittisians and all their weird traits, and had plans to write a book about how best to communicate with them.
We lived in the middle of the capital of Nevis - Charlestown. A charming little coastal town that becomes a ghost town after eight o'clock in the evening.
Stig and Torunn on top the volcano - Mt Nevis

Stig and Torunn on top the volcano - Mt Nevis

View from the Mt Nevis volcano of St.Kitts

View from the Mt Nevis volcano of St.Kitts


The one day we were there we were determined to climb the top of the volcano which dominates the small island. We took a little rattly bus to a village at the foot of the mountain and managed to find what looked like a trail up the mountain. Everyone recommended to have a guide as it would be difficult to find the way. We did not want to spend lots of money on a guide, so we thought we would try to climb the mountain alone.
It began as a normal path, but it became more and more difficult until the point where it was almost vertically upright. Fortunately there were ropes there as well so we could pull ourselves up. The path continued like this all the way to the top. It was not a walk in the park, it was actually an incredibly challenging route to walk, especially considering that it was 35C and sunny.
When we finally got to the top we were dirty, full of mud and sweaty.
Fortunately we had brought a beer each with us as a reward for all the hard work.
The view was very nice,and we were lucky that the clouds cleared up at the top. We could see St.Kitts and the long peninsula extending almost to Nevis.
The way down was not so tiring, but we always had to be careful not to slip as there is little chance of survival if we fall off the volcano.
Torunn on the way down

Torunn on the way down


The rest of the day we spent in Charlestown. There were actually some tourists there. We saw more tourists for an hour there than we did for 5 days on St.Kitts.
Nevis is a luxury destination for the rich people in Europe. The hotels there were very nice, and very expensive. Our guest house cost 72$, which is so far the most expensive room we have had.
The following morning we went to the airport and waited for Captain Mike to pick us up. After half an hour of waiting we saw the ancient 70s plane on the horizon, and the captain landed the plane on Nevis only to pick up me and Torunn. This is personal aviation at its best!
This time I was the lucky passenger who got to co-pilot. Fortunately, we did not get into any situations where Mike needed assistance on the short trip to the next island. We flew over the volcanic island of Montserrat which only a few years ago had an eruption. Half the island was covered with solidified lava and it was easy to see where the capital had once been.
Sunset on Nevis

Sunset on Nevis


 Posted by at 2:29 pm