Wednesday 6th February Settling into Grenada and enjoying a lovely beach 12km
After our well-deserved sleep, we were up early to sort things. It was warm but partly cloudy. We could see the view down to the sea, past the mangrove trees.
We were disconcerted to find no toaster. Rita soon appeared, and on asking, brought us one, plus a papaya, some of which we ate for breakfast on the terrace. We were sadly aware of mozzies – all the windows and doors have nets. We drove off to a nearby small supermarket. We realised what a rough track we are at the end of! There was very little in the shop – we hunted around and found enough for today, including an eggplant. It was really hot on our terrace – further up there was a breeze, so we ate our lunch, including tinned tuna, inside. In the afternoon we drove along to la Sagesse beach. This was a magical place – one’s idea of a perfect Caribbean beach. Fringed with green trees, the sandy bay had a little stream coming out into it. There were very few people about. Sadly the waves were a bit rough today, but we had tremendous fun sitting in the stream, as water swished from both that and the sea. Adrian braved the waves a bit. He thought how our children would have loved damming the stream in the past, but here the wonderful thing was it was so warm. We were having such fun, dampened a bit when a well meaning white man said that the water came from houses, and might not be clean. We then sat in the edge of the sea for a bit.
The view from our terrace at Langdon House, Grenada
When we got back to the small carpark, I was congratulating myself in remembering the registration number PAJ. There were two similar cars next to each other, both PAJ. I said ‘I nearly went to the wrong one’. Adrian tried the keys – they didn’t fit! We had gone to the wrong one! When we got back to Langdon House at 4.00, it was still too hot to sit on the patio. We had to shower to get all the sand from ourselves and our cozzies. There was a lovely sundown, with colours behind the hills. We sat on the terrace, but were aware of mosquitoes. Rita came to talk to us, as we watched bats swooping around. There was a tiny horizontal moon.
Enjoying la Sagesse beach
We had both aperitifs and supper outside, the latter with our head-torches on as the outside light didn't work and it was dark. The smoked herring we’d bought was far too salty to eat, so we had pasta and aubergine, followed by cheese and biscuits. We came in at 9.00. It had been lovely, but a good night didn’t follow!
Thursday 7th February Grenada's Independence Day 44 km
It was a disturbed night, particularly for Adrian, with mosquitoes, so we were a bit late surfacing. It was too hot for breakfast on the patio without the sunshade, but it kept collapsing, making things difficult. Today was Independence Day in Grenada, so we wondered what things would be like in St George's, which we intended visiting today. It was nearly 10.30 before we left - Adrian had been chasing mozzies again! We drove down to St George's (the capital) - the road looked better in the light than it had done when we arrived late at night - we could see the topes! We stopped with a view across the water to the colourful town. It was actually quiet on this public holiday. There were flags and decorations in the national colours of yellow, red and green everywhere. We stopped again at Carenage - the long inlet before the town. It was really quiet, with just a few tourists walking around. We walked back to see the 'Christ of the Deep' monument. This was a thank you to the people of the town from an Italian ship company for the town’s help when its ship had caught fire and sunk in 1961. There were several boats anchored. A man was touching up the paint on his boat in a pleasant dark blue.
We drove on through the town and up to Fort George, which gave good views down to the bay. The ground was really dry.
Looking across Carenage to St George's, with the 'Christ of the Deep' monument
A huge cruiseship was docked - we saw many white people walking around. We had to wait for the petit train to pass before we could continue driving around, past the ruins of the Scots Kirk Cathedral and through the Sendall Tunnel, built in 1894.
Fort George and the view down
We continued past the stadium where things were being set up for independence day celebrations later. Now it was time to head south towards Grand Anse, the sandy bay south of the town. We stopped to have lunch at a 'carib sushi' restaurant where we enjoyed sashimi and tuna maki-zushi with a beer.
Entrance to the Sendall Tunnel - Happy Independence
We had hoped to shop afterwards, but the nearby mall was not open due to 'unforeseen circumstances'. A nearby supermarket was also closed (although most food shops were open today), so we continued past Grand Anse to Quarantine Park, run by the Rotary Club. This was a large picnic area on a high promontory, where just one group was picnicking. It was really hot as we walked across the dry grass, but when we got to the cliff edge there was no good view back to Grand Anse.
On the way to have Carib sushi
We drove down to Morne Rouge beach, ending by a hotel access, but everywhere was packed out and much too busy for us! We headed to the southern end of Grand Anse Bay, where we came to a lovely beach of white sand with azure water. We had a view of the whole bay. We had a refreshing swim, although the sea bed shelved a bit as we got in. It was fairly quiet here, and apart from a smelly stream coming out it was perfect.
Adrian in Quarantine Park - and the view from a bit further down to Grand Anse Beach
We stopped at a food store to get more supplies on our way back to Langdon House, but Adrian still couldn't get his tonic. We got back at 5.15. It was a nice sundown. We sat out with our aperitifs and 'cheese dream' supper, having had to give up on the smoked herring as a bad job! We were using our headtorches, as the outside light doesn’t work. When we came in, we finished the website for St Vincent.
Splendid Grand Anse Beach
Friday 8th February A southeast circuit of Grenada 71km
We were up early. We had breakfast on the terrace before it got too hot. A worker came to change the outside bulb, but the light still didn't work. We sent the email for the St Vincent website and left at 10.00. Our plan was to drive up the east coast and then across the island, coming back via the west. The first place we stopped at was Hope Bay, where we had coffee sitting on a log beneath a tree. There were no people, just one ramshackle little cafe. There was seaweed on the shore, and mangroves growing. Behind was a large grassy area and a children's playground.
Driving up the coast, we missed seeing Mt Carmel falls, despite our efforts. We pulled in just before Grenville at a beach with colourful boats, and with tyres painted in the national colours of red, yellow and green. There was an offshore reef, so the water was quite calm.
A bit of shade at Hope Bay
Sugar cane at Hope - used for making rum in Grenada
Grenville is the second largest town on Grenada. It was busy and bustling as we drove through, with lots of people in their brightly coloured clothes, contrasting with the smartly dressed schoolchildren in muted colours. We turned inland now to cross the island. This road crosses the highest part of Grenada at 1900 ft (580m), going through Grand Etang forest reserve. There were more waterfalls in this area. We knew that the St Margaret falls were too far for us to walk, so we continued to the actual Grand Etang - big pond. We were hoping to eat our lunch here, and expected that it might be busy, but hadn't expected this to be with two groups of primary school children! They were taking up both covered picnic shelters, so we sat on a concrete plinth to eat our sandwiches. We saw that children are the same everywhere - one small boy was being reprimanded by his teacher. From the lookout on the lake we saw dozens of huge fish, which came to the surface to grab my crusts.
Grenada's national colours of red, yellow and green
The Grand Etang Visitors centre was nearby. The actual centre was quite antiquated. There is supposedly a lot of wildlife in the park, but all we saw was one Mona monkey near the simple stalls. We set off on a walk to the Morne Labaye lookout. The path had been fashioned out of nutmeg husks, and included steps both down and up, but work was 'in progress', and many of the wooden railings weren't there. When we reached the lookout, it was roped off, having been damaged by a fire!
We cut our losses, and continued to Annandale falls, at the end of a side road. After paying our $2US each, we walked down steeply to the falls. Our book said that locals swim here, and tourists could too, but most don't. It was an exotic looking place, like many in Oz - a waterfall cascaded into a pool at the foot of steep rocks hung with lush climbers. Local men do leap from the top (if you give them some money), calling themselves the Annandale Jumpers. Having seen men do this before, we didn't bother, but just enjoyed the wonderful scenery before walking back up.
View from Grand Etang Reserve to the coast - and a mona monkey
We now headed for Grande Anse, on the west coast, where we shopped in the supermarket which had been closed yesterday. It was really busy, and was the most western (or American) shop we'd been in here. We were amused again at all the Waitrose items. Adrian at last got his tonic, but we couldn't find eggs! We went to have a swim from nearby Grande Anse sandy beach. It was very uncrowded, with mostly children enjoying the water. We came back to Langdon House, where it was almost time for Adrian's G&T on the terrace - with lime from the garden here. As the sun went behind the hills, there was a glorious sky of yellow, pink and blue. I made a vegetable tagine, including a dasheen we had bought - tasting a bit like sweet potato. We had to eat again by the light of our headtorches as the electrician hadn’t turned up! Rita is having her kitchen redone and the electrician was supposed to come to do some work. She says the labour here is most unreliable – sounds familiar. She has had to renew her kitchen as the original one came from IKEA, from England – but the termites had got in and eaten large sections!!
Saturday 9th February Our last day in the south of Grenada 38km
Our last day at Langdon House before driving to the north of the island, so we intended having a relaxing day. We had breakfast on the terrace before it became too hot. We spent the morning catching up, and didn't leave until after lunch. As we were leaving, Rita gave us some peeled breadfruit from her garden and also some plantain. We gave a lift to her carpenter and his 8 year old god daughter to his home near la Sagesse. After dropping them off - he spoke in a language we found hard to understand - seemingly English, but maybe creole - we looked at the beach, but decided it too rough. On the way back to the main road we passed a game of cricket.
We then headed towards Grand Anse, stopping at Foodland where Adrian was able to get eggs and butter. We vitally needed to get some money in order to pay Rita - how much easier if we could pay by card. We tried to get down to the local beach at Westerhall, but it all seemed to have private access. On the way back we had a good view up to Langdon House.
At Grand Anse, we stopped where we had parked the other day. Despite being Saturday it was very quiet. We had a lovely swim. The only other people in the water were a young couple reminding us of our earlier days. There was a Green Heron in the stream by the beach.
Langdon House from below
We enjoyed drinks and supper on the balcony - a macaroni/cauliflower cheese with the addition of breadfruit and plantain. The sky was a lovely array of yellow, pink and blue.
Now the last thing was the money! The ATM at the first bank refused Adrian's card, but at the second bank we were in luck. We arrived back at Langdon House for our last night. We then took some photos around the house as we realised we hadn't taken any.
A serious cricket match going on
Sunday 10th February To Bathway in the north of Grenada 58km
It was another disturbed night, especially for Adrian, with mosquitoes. Nevertheless, we were up early to get packed up ready to drive to the north of the island. It was still quite cool on the balcony as we ate our poached eggs for breakfast. When we were ready, we said goodbye to Rita, who we were surprised the find out was over 70. She has 5 children and 10 grandchildren, all living in England. She came back to her home alone - she had separated from her husband, who she said was no good.
We didn't leave until 9.45, driving through St George’s, which was quiet on a Sunday. Some men were taking down the Independence day flags. We continued up the west coast, sometimes by the sea, but nowhere was there anywhere to pull off. We drove through Gouyave (pron Gwarve), passing the ancient looking nutmeg factory which we hadn't expected to be open on a Sunday, but it was (The book said that it sometimes opened when cruise ships were in). We hope to visit another time. The next place was Victoria (named after Queen Victoria), where there is a renowned chocolate factory, not open today.
Goodbye to Rita
A very different house along the road
At Duquesne (pron Duquane), the road turned inland. There was a long climb down to the beach - but no parking when you reached the flat bit, so we just viewed the grey sand beach in passing The road next came down to the sea at Sauteurs, on the northern coast . We stopped by a deserted white sandy beach beneath a tall vertical cliff. They must have had Independence day celebrations, as there was a makeshift stage and a couple of gazebos on the beach. We ate our sandwich lunch sitting on a well-placed log in the shade of one of the gazebos, looking out to a black jetty and a few small boats.
We sat on a kerb and had our coffee, watching the waves crashing onto the rocks from an aquamarine sea.
Victoria - still with the flags out
No sand here!
Now we drove on to Bathway, at the northern end of the east coast of Grenada, driving partly on an unsurfaced road. It was 1.30 when we arrived at the pleasant white sandy beach. There were no house names, but Adrian thought that we had found Bathway Cottages, where we are staying for the next four nights. He went in, and met Michelle, the owner. She said that the place wasn't quite ready, so go down to the beach shacks and say that Michelle sent you for a drink! So we had a rum and coke, and chatted to the pleasant grey haired barman, but with all the noise around from locals enjoying their Sunday lunchtime, we couldn't hear him! He had lived in London. We weren't sure if we were supposed to pay for our drinks, but we did! Then it was back to Bathway Cottages, where Michelle welcomed us. Her black hair hung with newly done ringlets. She lives partly in New York where she is a lawyer. The cottage was nicely done up painted white, and recently edged with a muted orange/red and blue - in fact Adrian found a bit of still damp paint when we sat on the balcony with our cup of tea! The balcony looks across to the sea, so off we went for our swim! It was really busy on this Sunday afternoon. A natural barrier forms a calm lagoon, but as we found out, the current was still quite strong. The water wasn't deep, so feeling refreshed, we walked back and washed off the coarse sand. It felt cooler here than at Langdon House.
Sauteurs Beach on Grenada's north coast
We sat on the balcony for supper – it was already quiet by the beach.
Monday 11th February Rum and chocolates 29 km
We woke at 6.00 to hear heavy rain, but it was clear by the time we had breakfast – too hot to sit on the balcony, so we sat at the ‘breakfast bar’. The sea looked rough when we left at 9.50. We took a convoluted route towards Belmont, some of it being on unsurfaced roads. We were enjoying the verdant landscape with banana plantations and also cocoa, and nutmeg.
We came to a small place called Hermitage – just a few houses and a large church – with goats on the road, one of which didn’t want to move from the middle of the road, and had to be helped by locals!
Along this wonderful rural lane we saw cocoa growing
also nutmeg, and a 'cucumber tree' (bilimbi)
Hermitage was the site of a small chocolate factory, called the Grenada Chocolate Company. The tour was free - we were shown around, first seeing two ladies sorting the good beans – the others were used as compost. We were then taken around the whole process of organic chocolate production, and after sampling 6 different sorts – including 100% choc we bought some bars, which apparently keep well, and don’t melt. It was a happy visit, as we told the workers that we live in a (very different) village called Hermitage in England. The factory is only a small concern, but the chocolate is sold in Harrods and Fortnum & Mason.
'Hermitage Church' and the stubborn goat!
We continued to Belmont Estate, where there are supposedly tours, but we couldn’t find a ticket booth or anyone to ask, so just walked around the fine buildings with colourful shrubs, mostly bougainvillea, growing. We saw cocoa beans laid out to dry – we think for the place we had just visited. Palm trees lined the road.
Hermitage Police Station
Sorting the good cocoa beans
It goes in here
The liquid chocolate
Packing the bars by hand
We now made for the coast at Tivoli. Adrian found a bumpy little track which went down to the sea. It was wild and beautiful, but with no shade, so we sat on the back of the car to eat our lunch, in our isolation, with just a few simple shacks around.
Cocoa beans drying at Belmont Estate
Ixora, which we remember from Central America
We drove on to Lake Antoine, a crater lake a bit like Grand Etang, but deeper down. Bird life was supposed to be good here, but it turned out to be ‘a long way to go to see a coot'! Adrian talked to some local men who were working on mending a pump to water the nearby bananas.
Lunch near Tivoli
Now it was on to the River Antoine Rum Distillery. This was an interesting tour of the traditional plant which makes rum in an old-fashioned way – one could say archaic! The other 2 couples on our tour were from Toronto, and couldn't believe Adrian driving himself around the island. They, like most people, have a driver. At the end we had samples – first of the 75% rum, then the 69% and finally some rum punch. It was only 4 miles back to Bathway cottages, after all!
Later we walked along the front, having decided not to swim as the water looked quite rough. We looked into the small Visitors Centre which had posters of the wildlife around here. Nobody was in there. We continued to Aggies, a recommended restaurant, to suss it out. Aggie wasn’t there – apparently she was at a funeral. A very outgoing and exuberant girl started talking to us. She was heating the bottles of milk for her 9 month old twins! She conversed with the man there, told us that the food was good, then said to come along and have some fish soup, they had just made some at the ‘beach bar’. We had passed this group with noisy music playing on our way past. We were given a large plastic cup of the excellent fish soup, including lobster. There was nowhere to sit, just some ramshackled stalls to stand by. She called us over to see her twins, sitting in the car with her cousin. They had all come up for the day from Westerhall, and had bought the fish in Grenville. We met her husband too. It was all a bit surreal. Our lady told us her name, but it didn’t trip off the tongue, so we’ve forgotten it. She told us her husband’s name too. She lived in Notting Hill. Her husband had lived in Uxbridge and West Drayton. All a bit uncanny! Having greeted all and sundry, we said our goodbyes and made our way back.
River Antoine Rum Distillery
While sitting on the balcony, Michelle arrived back and came to talk to us. We still had one piece of breadfruit left, which I made into quite tasty ‘patties’.
Unexpected fish soup from our exuberant friend and husband
Tuesday 12th February The sights and smells of northern Grenada 66km
It was cool enough to sit on the balcony for breakfast, as there was a big cloud. We left at 9.30, realising how bumpy some of the unsurfaced road out of Bathway is! We stopped first at bustling Sauteurs, where we’d eaten our lunch on Sunday. We drove up to the imposing Catholic church of St Patrick. It was a long building, with colourful bougainvillea growing all along. The square tower was topped by a hexagonal bit. The windows were edged by red brick, filled in with white – a common practice here. Across the town we could see the Anglican church. Sauteurs is renowned as the place where dozens of Caribs leapt to their death from the high cliff into the sea, rather than surrender to the French. The town was full of little shops and many decrepit buildings. We could smell bread, but in the small bakers we found, we could only buy a small French looking loaf which turned out to be rather disappointing. We were able to get fuel at the petrol station, and the lady attendant even cleaned the windscreen. There were deep gullies beside the road, which you had to negotiate to go into the shops. Inside a door, we found quite a good sized supermarket and were able to buy water, milk and cheese. We always have to be aware of the next flight, and not end up with spare food!
We stopped next at Petite Anse, a beautiful typically Caribbean looking beach with palm trees and turquoise water, and some little islands offshore. It was quite windy, and the waves were big.
The Catholic church of St Patrick, and view to the Anglican church
Typical deep roadside gullies, Sauteurs
We took a very small remote road to the west coast, passing just the occasional smart house. We saw a dead mongoose on the road – we have seen several live ones. We stopped at Desquesne, which we had passed the other day. We found that you could park down by the beach. This is the beach with petroglyphs at the end. A local told us not to park where we were because of coconuts falling. He said that he looked after the petroglyphs. He then left us – people do always want to be helpful, and are very friendly. Those who come to England must find people very cold. We walked along the sandy beach, watching the antics of brown pelicans diving for fish, and of the little sand crabs. We were able to see the petroglyphs on the rocks at this idyllic beach. We came back and sat on a large bamboo under a fisherman's tarpaulin shelter to have coffee – it was still windy.
Wonderful Petite Anse
We drove up to the road at the top of the beach and looked down before driving south through Victoria to Gouyave. This is where the nutmeg factory is housed, in a particularly decrepit building. Tours were only $1 US, so you couldn’t complain whatever! We were joined by a large group (supposedly from a cruise ship) as ‘Frank’ talked to us about nutmeg and mace (both from the same nut), pointing to well-faded photos! It was a very simplistic factory, with everything done by hand- the grading, sorting and stacking into sacks, which had their destination hand stencilled on them. Nutmegs were introduced from Indonesia. The tour was quite short. There were many nutmeg goodies you could buy. Later we saw some nutmegs and mace from a tree we passed and photographed them.
Petroglyphs and pelicans at Desquesne Beach
It was now 12.15. We took a road across the island to Grenville, on the eastern side. It was a small road, and went through a green wilderness of verdant rainforest. It was quite lovely. We stopped at a place called Florida, where there was a seat painted in the national colours. We decided to eat our lunch here in the shade, when one of the ‘instant showers’ came, so it was back into the car.
Destination stencils for sacks of nutmegs
We have been amazed at the cars left to ‘rot’ beside the road in all the islands so far. We now passed the most classic one, with a rotting car sticking out into the road. We skirted Grenville, and drove on to Pearl’s Airport – now disused, and with two relic aircraft from 1983. The airport was the original small airport for Grenada built in 1942. In 1979 Maurice Bishop took power as a ‘moderate’ revolutionary. He organised to start building a new airport in the south west (the current Maurice Bishop International Airport), financed by and labour supplied from Cuba. In 1983, in a hard left coup Maurice Bishop was killed and the revolutionary leader Bernard Coard took power. Ronald Reagan saw this as bad news as he thought the nearly finished runway would be used by Russian planes and in any case was another communist country too near the USA. He was asked to help by the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States. On 25th October 1983 US Forces landed at Pearl’s Airport (in a bit of a fiasco between the various branches) with the pretext of rescuing 600 American Students and the US Governor. The Grenadian (& Cuban) soldiers were all defeated and a number of civilians & US Forces were killed but it was all over in a couple of days. Grenada had new elections and returned to a democracy. The two planes still there were shot up at the time and never moved. As a result of the fiasco between the various sections of the US Forces, the whole of it was restructured to come under one commander. There were lots of picnic tables set up with flags – a man told Adrian that they had a big Independence Day party here!
We find our own nutmeg
The village of Florida
Papaya growing in the verdant hills
Back at Bathway, we checked out ‘Aggies’ for tonight before going for a refreshing swim in the ‘lagoon’. Later we walked along to Aggie’s. It was all pretty dark, but we went in. I said ‘we’re looking for Aggie’. A quiet voice said ‘we’re here’. Aggie and a gentleman friend were eating in the almost dark - we couldn’t see them! She said that she’d cook us ‘pan fried fish’, and went off to start. Soon afterwards a white lady, Olly, came in. She was a bit younger than us, and got into deep conversation with Doyle, the chap, while Aggie organised the food. Our meal was of yellowfin tuna, caught yesterday it seems, and was very good. We drank beer with it. Olly had plenty to say for herself, but was very interesting. She had been born in Lancashire, but her family moved to Canada when she was four. She had just sold her house in Arizona, and lived nearby here in Bathway. She had one daughter, and was divorced. She had many an interesting story to tell, but did ask us about ourselves too. We were glad that she was eating as well, as we felt more relaxed than if it had been just us. After Olly had left – she’d just flown in today from USA, having been driven to the airport by 89 year old friends who’d recently got together! - Aggie came and sat down by us. She was a lovely lady, very genuine, who ‘just wanted to make people happy’. We wandered back to Bathway Cottages at 8.30, sitting on the balcony sharing our last small beer.
Old Russian (ex Cuban) planes lie derelict at Pearl's Airport, Grenville
Rosie with Aggie
Wednesday 13th February Levera Beach and Pond – our last day in Grenada 5 Km
We had left our last day on Grenada to get organised for our flight to Trinidad tomorrow, with just a visit to the nearby national park of Levera Beach. This was a short drive along an unsurfaced road through green forest. We left at 9.50 on a hot day (29°C). We had a look at the beach as we left – it looked beautiful from under the trees, but the tide was high and the waves were swishing over the barrier. When we reached Levera beach, that was beautiful too. From the white sandy beach, you looked straight across to conical Sugar Loaf island and a couple of other islands offshore. There was nobody about except two men who had made a fire. The waves were rough here too, so no chance of a swim. Turtles lay their eggs on this beach, but it is too early for that.
Behind was an area of woodland, with a track marked off by painted posts. We started walking along the track, beneath the trees. No signs anywhere said where the path was going, or how long it was. We presumed it to be going to the lake, so kept going. On and on it went, with no indication of how far. It wasn’t the most exciting, but we kept at it. Adrian fashioned a makeshift walking stick for me, as we hadn’t come prepared for walking! There were frequent crabs holes which you could easily trip up on. Very occasionally there was a name on a tree – white mangrove, red mangrove and white beech. After a long time, the path joined another, edged by posts joined with ropes - only the two paths didn’t really join, you had to step over the rope! One way led to steps up, and this we decided to take. We reached the road we had driven down, beside a sign with difficult to read information on conservation. We'd seen this sign from the car, but hadn’t noticed the track. Adrian said that he’d go back for the car, while I waited here, but there was nowhere in the shade to sit, so I followed behind slowly. I’d said earlier that it wouldn’t be much fun walking along this road, and now we were doing it! It was only 1 km but it seemed a long way! Adrian reached the car, and met up with me, and we drove back to the sign. There was just enough room to pull in at the side of the road. Having checked on the sat-nav, we found that it wasn’t far to the pond, so set off again along the roped walkway. We walked through the forest of mostly mangroves -both red and white, reaching a wooden walkway which ended at the pond. Steep steps led up to a lookout. It was all very pretty, but we’d seen no wildlife, and in fact saw virtually none now! It was a beautifully calm and pleasant view. We could hear birds in the trees above, and saw one or two ducks on the water, including what we thought was a black gallinule, but that wasn’t what our photo turned out to be! The best thing was a large black and red butterfly fluttering about, which was difficult to photograph!
Lovely Levera Beach
We made our way back along the walkway, and drove back to Bathway. It was now midday, and the waves were still rough. A man had come to work on the fence posts round our plot, so Adrian had to negotiate a pile of cement in the gateway as he drove in! We now had to get our bags sorted for ‘flight mode’ tomorrow. The sun had moved round from the balcony, so we were able to eat our lunch first outside, although it was still very warm. We had our last swim here. We had enjoyed this place, and couldn’t believe how quickly time had gone.
The bush we walked through
Adrian goes back for the car
Levera Pond - with an interesting butterfly
Farewell Bathway Beach and cottage
Thursday 14th February To Trinidad 52km
We were up early to get ready to fly to Trinidad. We exchanged Valentine cards- yes, after all these years. It was 25°C when we had breakfast on the balcony at 7 o'clock before finishing packing up.
We left at 9.00 to drive to the airport in the south of Grenada. Adrian had seen Michelle to say goodbye. Everywhere looked clean and tidy as we drove along on this sunny morning. We'd really enjoyed Grenada. I found myself singing Harry Belafonte's 'Island in the sun'. We drove down to Grenville, then across the high green centre of the island. I was feeling giddy from the constantly winding roads so we stopped for early coffee in Grand Etang. On the western side of the island, it became busy as we neared St George's. We'd allowed plenty of time so thought that we'd stop at one of the beaches near the airport, but found access very difficult, as all seemed to be through hotels, entailing a long walk round. We finally did make a walk on a rough track, but when we reached the beautiful Magazine beach beside an azure sea, it was a long walk past a hotel fence.
Goodbye to Bathway Cottage
It was now 11.30, so we parked beneath a shady tree while we got our bags organised before we got to the airport. We didn't know where to leave the car, and there was no representative to collect it. An anxious time followed while Adrian tried to contact the firm. Neither our phone nor the public ones worked. In the end he emailed them and told them we had left the car in the carpark with the keys under the drivers mat! (It was not until late in the evening we heard they had collected the car) Then it was the aggro of going through security, and of filling in the dreaded immigration forms for Trinidad. The airport was thronging with people as two International flights were leaving and we were all in the same waiting room! We couldn't find out any information on our flight. We heard a vague message but not the gate number, so Adrian went up to the next floor to see if it was there. Then a garbled announcement said our departure gate was number 3. (There were only 5 gates! and three were taken up with the two international flights – all 4 gates were only 25 metres apart). It turned out that our plane had come from Barbados and was just ‘stopping in’ for us. Our small plane was not full for our half hour flight to Trinidad. Our 2 o'clock departure was about half and hour late leaving, so at three o'clock we were descending to Trinidad. We'd passed the mountain range, but then there was a wide plain with rectangular agricultural plots. This airport was in sharp contrast to the previous ones - we had to walk along a never-ending wide corridor lined with carnival posters to immigration, where we were 'interrogated', having to give all sorts of information, including our home address and telephone number. When we got to the carousel, our bags were standing beside it. Adrian put them on a trolley, but this had to be given up after customs, so we had to lug all our stuff along to Hertz Car Hire, being constantly badgered by requests for a taxi! We'd thought that having a well known car hire firm this time, it would be simpler, but we stood at the counter for ages while the two men - one slim and quietly spoken, and the other one large, did all the endless formalities. Adrian heard one say to an inquirer that there were no hire cars available until the end of March, so perhaps we were well off! When we got our car, it was almost brand new! Always a worry! Now 4.00, we headed off towards our accommodation. Trinidad is a much larger island than the others, and immediately struck us as being different - large four-lane roads lined by 'American grot' - Subway, KFC etc.
Beautiful Magazine Beach - right near Grenada airport
There were really long waits at traffic lights - the other islands had a few traffic lights, but they weren't switched on! We stopped at Massy's supermarket to stock up for our stay here. We even found a Blue Badge parking space! There was more variety of goods, but it was very American. Further on we did pass some roadside stalls. We noticed that cars pull out from side streets just as much here! Alongside our road was a two lane bus road. Then all of a sudden we were in green hilly country. We were nearing Valley Oasis Inn, but now the fun began! Adrian had it marked on his sat-nav, but it wasn't where it should have been! Trying this way and that, we came to a gated road, and asked for the name - he didn't know, neither did a girl we asked. We tried to tie up with the small picture we had. Adrian phoned the number in the end, and got hold of Arlene, who had a long conversation. She was stuck in traffic she said, and she hadn't received Adrian's previous email. It was now nearing 6 o'clock . No, there was no house name she said! We found our way to her description and all we could do was to wait in the car on the incredibly steep road until she returned. What I would have done for a cup of tea! It was practically dark when a car pulled up- Arlene and her husband Randy and two sons- 9 year old Ethan and 22 year old Khristian (plus a bull terrier dog!) Arlene was most apologetic, and led us to our apartment - first down, then up some steps. Khristian carried our bags up. He has recently graduated and is waiting to start his Masters, so is at present helping his mum. We were both pretty worn out! I said to Arlene that the apartment had character. There was one large room, leading to a bathroom. The kitchen sink was up some steps. The sink in the bathroom was a large bowl on a stand. There were tall pots of artificial grasses. But - there was a washing machine! For cooking there was a microwave and a single hob.
Where are we?
We deserved the drink which we had on the balcony ( I hadn't seen that there was one). Adrian had bought some rum at the airport - it was higher strength (69%) which Adrian forgot when he poured it, so was a bit of a knock out! It was really quiet on the balcony, despite being in a 'nice residential area', apart from two dogs on the flat roof opposite. Somehow we managed to concoct some sort of meal between us on the one ring, before sitting out on the balcony until we collapsed into bed at 10.30.
Our apartment in Valley Oasis Inn
Some notes on Grenada
Grenada A proud country Independence Day Feb 7th (we were there) Some big sandy beaches Topes (speed humps) bad Very difficult to find anywhere to pull off People friendly – waved when passed, and greeted you
The Langdon House Way up high above the sea Extremely difficult to locate (no house name) Helpful owner Rita lived above No toaster on arrival – one soon brought Large bedsit Kitchen; sink in ‘hall’, with loo & shower off Mosquitoes really bad Mosquito nets on windows Nice view from patio, but too hot during day Sunshade kept collapsing Horrible plastic bed protector No outside light No views when sitting inside
Plenty of room Balcony with view to sea Welcoming owner Michelle- friendly and helpful Very newly painted chairs outside (paint still tacky) Well appointed Some appliances new – towels, pans, iron Large shower Space for toiletries by sink Bedside lamps and tables Very clean Nice sandy beach opposite