Wednesday 24th August 2022
Today we broke loose and ventured out on an island trip with a fabulous driver named ‘Presley’ – recommended by the Doc – a very lovely, witty man who took us to some interesting places in the south of the island and knew all there was to know. He kept us entertained. And the best thing ever … he was such a careful driver, particularly as the roads are a bit hairy – couldn’t believe how relaxed I felt.
We selected to be picked up at 8.00am rather than 9.00am, thinking of the heat. As it turned out it was a great decision, as at each spot we seemed to be leaving just as coach parties were arriving, having done all that we wanted to do. We’re so used to being alone now that crowds of tourists seemed so alien!
Our house is on the outskirts of a town called Choiseul so we first had a little look at the main town area, taking the opportunity to visit the Catholic Church.
Right from the off, we had magnificent views of the Pitons – Gross Piton being right on our doorstep. Presley had climbed Gros Piton when he was younger and said he recommended it but it was tough. We’d love to have a go but it’s at least a four mile walk and we think it would be impossible for us in this heat – even though as our name suggests, we love a ramble. Petite Piton, although not quite as high, is even harder as it requires ropes. So this time round we’ll just admire them from a distance and appreciate their magnificence.
We headed on to the town of Soufriere, stopping on the way at the Sulphur Springs – the only drive through volcano in the Caribbean. The smell hits you long before you arrive and takes some getting used to. It supposedly clears your sinuses – I should say it does … and more. It last erupted in the 1700s and is thought to be dormant – though bubbling away like a good’un. We had such a sweet guide called Suzette who was so knowledgeable on volcanos and sang to us as we walked too. We relished her company as we toured around and she introduced us to the gardener, Junior … who gave a huge toothless grin when Steve called out his name. It felt so good to have other people in our lives!! But very soon a whole stream of tourists arrived – it felt novel at first as we haven’t seen any non-Lucian people since being in St. Lucia – but as more and more arrived we decided the quiet life was preferential.
A couple of hundred metres downstream from the springs, the water temperature is still hot (about 45 degrees celsius) but cool enough for tourists to enjoy a mud bath. Well, whilst in Rome and all that …!! So, off with the clothes and into the excruciatingly HOT muddy water we went – questioning ourselves as to why. Then, we were encouraged to cake our faces and body with further mud supplied in buckets … said to heal sunburn, eczema, arthritis, sore joints and more. Despite not having any of these conditions we did as we were told and joined in with the throng of others experiencing this strangest of exercises. It was fun, and different, except the water was so hot that my heart was racing big time. Walking up the hill to the car in the heat afterwards I started to feel dizzy but luckily enough made it back in time to rehydrate and bask in the car’s air-conditioning.
Our next stop was the opposite extreme. Presley drove us to the Toraille Waterfall where we could shower off properly … in freezing water. Although painful in its force, we much preferred the water temperature here and again were lucky to beat the crowds. A beautiful peaceful spot to enjoy.
Suitably refreshed and re-clothed, we drove on into the town of Soufriere, which sits on the West Coast of the island, overlooked by the Pitons. We took a little look around the town and it’s beautiful harbour before joining Presley for a traditional lunch.
We had lunch in this brightly painted first floor restaurant, overlooking the Caribbean Sea. Lunch consisted of tuna, saltfish, creole chicken, yam, plantain, avocado and salads, washed down with Piton beer. We loved it.
We were home by 2.00pm, exhausted after our day’s release! Managed to fit in some swimming and chilling before dinner.
And the rest of the week has been more relaxation, swimming, reading, writing, some chores plus regular Youtube exercise sessions. We took a hot walk down to our local beach but unfortunately it’s not that inviting – the river meets the sea and so is churned up and murky – decided to return to our beautiful pool instead. While we were there though, we did see an elderly, very slight Rastafarian man, inch his way down the hill from his hut, on his bottom, fully naked … casually diving in for a swim. We’ve since learned that his name is Rambo … wouldn’t have been the first nickname to spring to mind.
And the mowing commenced this week … and, despite some heavy duty tropical rainstorms, Steve managed to complete the exercise over three days, choosing early morning hours to avoid the strong sunshine. The lawn looks great … and he so enjoyed the ride.