Wednesday, January 11, 2012

St. Kitts (St. Christopher) - Maybe there is something to Same Shit, Different Island

St. Kitts  January 11, 2012

Umm, I think I may be falling into that “Same Shit, Different Island” mentality of Andy’s.

St. Kitts is less than impressive to me.  My take away is that this island is just one big shopping area for the cruise ships that dock here.  
 Christopher Columbus didn’t stop here in 1492, but cruising past, named the island, “St. Christopher”.  
Brimstone Hill Fortress at the northern end of St. Kitts
The history of St. Kitts is much like the others, with raging battles for ownership, particularly between the French and the British.   
The Brimstone Hill Fortress known as the “Gibraltar of the West Indies”  rises 800’ feet above the coast and is the largest fort I recall seeing thus far.  Constructed over a 100 year period, beginning in about 1690 by the Brits, this fort sprawls over 40 acres, up and down and has 11 different areas.   Built of volcanic rock and local limestone & fortified with 49 huge cannons, the fort was considered impenetrable.  Not to 1782 8,000 French attacked the fort, laying siege for over 30 days.  The 1,000 Brits fought the good battle til the French finally breached the walls.  The Brits surrendered but got the Island back a year later via the Treaty of Versailles.  The Brits finally abandoned the fort in 1852, believing Peace At Last.  Restoration began in 1965.  It's now a World Heritage Site, one of over 200 on St. Kitts alone!
Andy catching up on the history of St. Kitts while underway
In Basseterre, the capital & site of the original French settlement,   Port Zante Marina is about the best place to stay, particularly if weather conditions are not exactly perfect.  At 75 cents a foot and $15 for all the water you can use, we spent most of our first day there scrubbing Finally Fun top to bottom.   Ah, she looks good! 
National Museum
In two hours we’d seen the entire old town which is a mix of British and French architecture.  My take away is that St. Kitts is just a huge cruise ship destination with the obligatory ‘duty free’ shops absolutely everywhere.   
Love the music & dancing in the streets

 Playing tourist, wandering about both the cruise ship section and the old town,  we watched locals dance for the crowds.   The National Museum of St. Kitts is the entry way into the cruise ship area from the old town.    

I'd read about the English styled Picadilly Circus located in the center of the historic district.  Oops, way below my's a clock in the middle of a roundabout.  Called Berkeley Memorial in honor of some old gent......bah.  My bubble popped....I was looking forward to I don't know what, but this didn't cut it.

This old tree witnessed much history
 Wandering through Independence Square, an attractive park just at the edge of town, we realized that this was built in 1790 for slave auctions and town hall type meetings.  The Park was renamed Independence Square in 1983 in recognition of the independence of St. Kitts & Nevis, (the sister island) from Great Britain.

Fountain in the middle of Independence Park

 The Catholic Church at the edge of the Park is undergoing renovation

Colorful Caribbean buildings abound

I wanted to see the little green monkeys, called Green or Vervet Monkeys that are so plentiful on this island.  These monkeys were brought over from Africa with French settlers & their slaves.  I got my wish, but not in the manner I'd wished.  Ugh.  Locals wander about with 2-3 monkeys (and they are tiny!) monkeys crawling all over them.  These locals will place the monkeys on the shoulders and head of an unsuspecting tourist (the monkeys are wearing Pampers sized for a premie).  Cameras snap away and THEN, that guy or a Partner in Crime, hits up all those who took photos for $10 US per photo!  I noticed several heated arguments between the tourists and these locals.   I did not dare to pull out my camera, never liking to feel ripped off, so I missed my photo opportunity!  These little monkeys are so very cute, however and really tiny!

Many dancers are children

Ah, the pirates!
 We passed on an island tour of any kind - feeling ‘been there/done that’.  We also skipped Nevis, the sister island to St. Kitts and only two miles away.  One more sugar plantation or rum factory & I will croak. 

Just maybe........Same Shit, Different Island working its way into my psyche.

At last count, however, we have dropped anchor in one way or another at 44 islands since leaving Florida in February 2011.  That is a LOT of islands!  Maybe I'm getting jaded and ready to be home again.....

No comments:

Post a Comment