Linne's diary,part 5, the final. Which island is the best?
Haven’t dreamt about parrots even though one is hanging down from the ceiling over our bed.
Hb, we have to get up now! OK. Have our breakfast, were so lucky to find rye bread in the super market, not the Danish one but similar. But like the other places we have stayed, no egg cup for a soft-boiled egg. Don’t the Americans eat soft-boiled eggs? OK, we take a fried egg. Pack our things and off we go. Find a parking place in Christiansted and go to the harbour. Like the atmosphere here. Cosy, laid-back. Can see the catamaran “Renegade”, the boat we have to go with. Are early, let’s sit down on this bench here nearby! Wonder about the name of the boat, “Renegade”. “Ren gade” in Danish means “clean street” in English. But the name cannot have something to do with that? Hmm. We have to ask the crew. Other people are coming. On another bench close to us a woman is talking in cell phone for a very long time and very loud. In Danish! Be careful. Some people understand Danish! Cannot stop thinking how expensive it must be, if she talks with some in Denmark! OK, now we can board. Find a good place and look curiously at the people around us. The boat is filled up. Seems as if everybody speaks English, and except from the Danish woman, think they are Americans. Or perhaps from other Caribbean islands? One family, an elderly couple and a younger couple with kids, are the only dark-skinned. The young man doesn’t look happy. No smile, no talking. Can it be a problem for him to be together with only white people? Would have liked to know, but of course you don’t ask about such subjects! Some of the people socialize very fast and have a beer very fast. Seems as if especially one couple want to entertain and talk with all of us, wanting to create a nice feeling in the boat. Can see, they know some of the other couples. Perhaps the party who booked their tickets in the telephone? The Danish woman talks in telephone again. I can’t help thinking of the telephone costs. Enjoy the sailing. There are waves, but you don’t feel them, nice to sail with a catamaran, have been told that, no seasick pills this time! So relaxing to sit here.
But what about the glass-bottom they have advertised with? Cannot see any glass-bottom.
Ask the captain. The so-called glass- bottom is a very small place in the deck with glass, and you cannot see it, people have their feet and luggage there. It’s not possible to have a bottom where a bigger part is glass, will not be strong enough, the captain says. OK. Probably true, but feel it’s cheating to advertise with glass-bottom as an important factor to choose exactly this boat. Except from that, like the captain and the crew. Calm, look as though you can trust them, not too much talk about tipping. Look, look a big turtle in the surface, a man says near me. People come to see. Please, please not all of you, the boat will capsize. No problem, most people stay where they are. What happens now? Dolphins are following the boat.
Love dolphins, can never be tired looking at their play. Now we are at the beach. So excited. Have read that Buck Island should have some of the best snorkelling in the Caribbean. What a nice beach!
No time to enjoy the beach, let’s go snorkelling. What, nearly nothing to see! Oh, a little turtle there, and a stingray! But nothing else. Sand bottom. Suddenly I see a dolphin very close to me, feel I can touch it, what a delight, have always dreamt of swimming with dolphins. Oh, no! Stay here! Don’t swim away! Urrgh! Can I tell that I have swum with dolphins, when it was less than a minute? No! Ashore again. Haven’t seen any nice corals, is this the famous Buck Island? No, one of the young women from the crew says, we are only here because of the beginners. Better to try to snorkel from a beach, snorkel at the reef will be from the boat. OK. Sounds sensible. Sail to another place. Now it’s time for adventure! A guided tour at first. Everybody has to wear life jacket now, but not necessarily to blow them up. Down in the sea. Use the ladder! Always difficult to find out when it’s the best time to take fins on, feel clumsy. Hb helps. Now in the water trying to follow the guide. Oh, what a beautiful reef. Very big and very dramatic looking formations. Many colourful fish. Impressive. Exciting. The guided tour ends, snorkel ourselves. So diversified surroundings. Forget everything else than just admiring what to see. Look! Look!
It’s time to come up the boat again. Wasn’t it just good hb? Perhaps the best snorkelling on this trip? Now sailing back. Can see STX from the sea. Always a special sight to see an Island in this perspective. Next stop is a secluded beach on STX to have our lunch. Here we are. The crew began to work: The captain prepare the grill, the women do the most important job: making rum punch in a big butt with a tap! Thank you! So easy to have a glass. Don’t need to ask, just take. We do! Tastes really good, take again. Just as good as the first glass! What about some snacks while waiting for food? Thank you! Get thirsty after eating the snacks. Can we take a glass more? Nobody sees it, tastes nearly as good as the first glass. People are going around chatting with each other, some relax on the beach, and others like us sit on a bench near the table with snacks- and the rum punch! See here a crab! And now a mongoose.
Now the hot dogs are ready. Take one - and one more. Enjoy having our lunch here on a nice beach with a beautiful view to the blue water, the white ship and the green Buck Island. Hamburgers are served too. Thirsty again. Need to take one more glass of the rum punch. What about Mahi Mahi? Have to wait, they grill the fish as the latest. People have to be filled up with the meat at first. The Danish woman comes and has a chat with us. She is an artist. Do artists phone more than other people? Don’t ask her. Also talk with the entertaining woman. She and her husband have silver wedding on Tuesday. They just love STX and want to celebrate it here together with friends going on vacation with them. But Tuesday they want to go to the big grill party arrangement on Protestant Cay, so the official celebrating of the silver wedding will be Wednesday instead. Must be a good grill party if you adjourn your silver wedding celebration! The woman, I know from home, has told about this party too. All you can eat, entertainment and Mocko Jumbies. Why do you not come too? OK, perhaps we do. Now we have to sail home again. Look hb! The Danish woman phones again! Think that she has been talking in phone nearly half the time, we have been on this trip. Strange! In the harbour now, farewell, has been such a nice trip, value for the money!
What now? Let’s go home to Villa Margarita! The villa is placed near the National Park in Salt River Bay. So much we want to see there, have only visited Columbus Landing, where Columbus should have been on the second journey in 1493. But you cannot see it all, have to choose. Look, there is this sign with “Scenic Road”. Let’s try the road today! OK. A nice drive up in the heights, but the vegetation is so high along the road that you only see the sea from very few places. What a pity! The trees should have been cut down. Finding home again is as usual not so easy. Even though hb normally is a very good guide, we have problems, detours due to roadwork make it of course not more easy, and I’m still a bad helper. OK. Let’s look at it from the positive side. We see much more of STX than we would have done otherwise! And can understand why people gave us different answers asking for the time for church service. So many churches there are, and so many different religions! But now we are home, enjoy a swim in the pool, our GTI and the dinner – ribs. Tomorrow we will go to Frederiksted, and on our way see some sights. Let’s look at the map to be prepared! Oh, hb, I totally forgot to taste the Mahi, Mahi! What?
MAHOGANY ROAD, FREDERIKSSTED, WHIM GREAT HOUSE
Looking forward to see Frederiksted. Have read much about all the events, which lead to the emancipation in 1848 and have also seen a film about Peter von Scholten and his life on STX.
But first a drive on Mahogany road. A part of the road is going through, what it’s named the rainforest. Know that it isn’t a real rain forest, too little rain to be that, but nearly. Trees are seen as a curve over the road with lianas hanging down. Very green and very lushness. Go out for listening to the chirping from the birds - surprisingly not so much. In one way it’s very beautiful here, but something is spoiling our general impression. The houses near the road are not well kept, and at many of them you can find a lot of trash, old cars etc. Poor looking. Also in places without buildings you can find junk cars. Cannot understand why people just leave such things in the nature. Something must be wrong in their heads! See hb! It’s here they have the famous drinking pigs. Let’s stop. Except from a woman in the bar, no people to see, no pigs to see either and difficult to explain, but a feeling as if it’s a wrong place for us to be. Besides, hb doesn’t think we shall use our time on drinking pigs. So in the car again. Also have a drive up to STX Leap Tree Service. Should be able to see wood carvers working here, but don’t see any. Back on the road. Now we come to Little la Grange, a plantation which the Danish Lawaetz family have owned for many years, now a museum. Even though it looks interesting we don’t visit the house or the park, just take a look through the windows and walk a little around. Very pretty here. But too little time.
Finally we come to Frederiksted. The town looks very sleepy. Not many people. Drive to Sandy Point to see, if we can find some turtles- have one of their favourite breading grounds here. But cannot come out to the place, is closed at this time. Protection of the turtles. OK. Understandable. Go back. Some kids on the beach seem to have swimming lessons.
Go around looking at the surroundings. A lake nearby with brownish water, is there any life to see?
Also a nearly new building where some school kids stay. Looks like a sport centre, has swimming pool etc. Have noticed that it seems, as if they use much money on education on STX. Have seen a parking place with a lot of school buses. Wonder if there are so many pupils that the buses can be filled up, and where to drive them? Have seen a university, very big, very nice looking, cannot really understand how an island with about 53.000 inhabitants can have such a place. But perhaps people are coming from other places to study there, perhaps it’s used for other purpose too, perhaps they are having economical support? Don’t know. OK. Let’s go to Frederiksted! The fort, Fort Frederik was built to encourage a settlement there, but has also played a role during the American Revolution. Official the island was neutral but many residents there gave support to the cause of American Independence. It was also the cannon on the fort, which fired the first salute to the new flag in 1776. And it was here that von Scholten gave the slaves their freedom in 1848 - the fort was surrounded! And it was here that the labour rebellion known as “Fireburn” started 30 years later. After that the fort has been used in different purpose, but today it’s a museum. So let’s go and see it! It’s under renovation, not so nice outside, but still looking nice from the yard.
Very small rooms, can understand that it wasn’t a pleasant job to be a soldier here. And being a prisoner, terrible! As in Fort Christian there is in one way peaceful here, only another couple and us are visiting, but thinking how the life has been here, isn’t so peaceful. Although interesting. Now next step, the emancipation place with the statue of “general” Buddho, the slave, who was friend with von Scholten, but also the leader of the revolt. Take also a stroll on the new built mole, has cost a lot of money, but today not any cruisers or big ships at all. Know it’s difficult for them to compete with the harbour in CA. OK, lets’ walk around in the town. Surprisingly few tourists to see. Many houses are built in the same style and with Danish Arcades, some of the houses rather dilapidated.
Why not just pull these houses down? Perhaps difficult. Some of them might have historic interest. And it will cost much money to have them renovated. Must be the problem. But the building, where the pharmacy has been, is not so bad looking.
Time for lunch. Go down to Strandstræde the road along the sea. Find a nice place, admire the bar counter of polished mahogany, order burgers, have several questions about how we want the burgers prepared, different answers from hb and me, have the burgers, the burgers look identical, and the taste is the same (have a bit of hb’s). Why all this questions? But very tasty! Think the burger is even better than the one we had at Skinny Leg. OK. Let’s pay! Hb gives the waiter his Visa Card. Next to us are another couple, can hear they are Danish, younger than us, the man with a long horsetail, the woman very colourful with her red hair. The waiter comes and tells the couple something with a low voice, they have a discussion, cannot hear what they say, but suddenly hb sees that the waiter shows them hb’s Visa Card. What happens, it’s my card! Sorry, the waiter says, comes to our table and tells, again with a very low voice, that something is wrong, the bank will not accept the card. How can the waiter make such a mistake? Tell that to other people. Not sure he is totally sober. A little embarrassing for us although we know that nothing should be wrong with the card. Pay in cash. Should we go to the old churchyard now? No, let’s say farewell to Frederiksted and go to Whim Great House.
Here we are, pay, please wait for a guided tour. Now some schoolchildren arrive together with a grown up, probably the teacher. The guided tour began, very interesting to see the rooms, the furniture and the paintings. Not everything is from this house, also objects from other plantations. Some chairs have belonged to Victor Borge giving to the museum after his death. See also a part of an old book, where the planter has written the names of the slaves, where they were from, and if they were good or bad!!! The guide tells about the house, the slavery, and how the slaves were treated. Not so happy with the situation, what will the children think being together with us hearing how the whites treated their forefathers? But I seems, as if it don’t really interest them. Nothing to see in their faces. And as soon the guide finish the talk most of them go out and start to play or talk. Only a few stay back and ask the guide some questions. So interesting to see the house and talk with the knowledgeable guide. Go out. Want to see some of the other buildings, the old kitchen, the mill, the chimney, the sugar factory etc..Exciting to see too. Look, what a beautiful flower!
No more sightseeing today. Let’s go home. Pass the Cruzan Rum Distillery, know that you can come in and see how they make the rum and also to taste it. Discuss what to do. Could be fun to taste the different sorts of rum, but no, decide to go home. Want to go to the beach near Villa Margarita. Haven’t seen it yet. Down to the sea. No sand here, go to the right, the beach belongs to a resort, have a swim. Nice here, but difficult to impress us. Have been on STJ.
What about dinner? Let’s try this grill party people are talking so enthusiastically about.
Decide to wear some nice cloth tonight. A silk dress with long trousers. And the necklace from Tracey. Fine. Take the boat from Christiansted to Protestant Cay. What now? People are standing in line to buy a ticket for dinner. Do the same. Surprisingly cheap. 53 dollars for both of us. Find a table. Where to order something to drink? Waiting for a long time, finally a waitress comes, and we order. What now? People are standing in line to get the food. Do the same. A woman to control that you have a ticket. It’s hot, regret that I wear long trousers. Now we have the food, but what about our beer? Wait and wait, nothing happens. There is a bar, go up to buy the beer there, people are standing in line. Finally have the beers - nearly at the same time as the waitress comes with the ordered beer. Have forgot the water, we have ordered. But now we have enough beer. The food is good, go again and pick some more, after that coffee and cake. Say hello to the man from the silver wedding couple, cannot see his wife. The Danish woman, who recommend the party, see us. Come to our table. OK. We will, when we have had our food. Now the entertainment starts. Only one Mocko Jumbie. Looks as if people are giving him money.
Later new entertainers on a scene, see a little, but also talk with the people at the table.
Still hot here. Hb, shall we go home. Good idea. To be honest, don’t think it was a special experience, but can see that people in big groups have fun. The Danish people say the evening isn’t so good as last time they were here. Don’t know. But it wasn’t bad and not very expensive, don’t regret going there.
CHISTIANSTED, CANE BAY, THE EAST END
Today it’s our last vacation day. Have decided to go to Cane Bay beach, where you can find The Wall, two vertically walls of corals, very famous among divers. Aren’t divers, but hope to manage to come out to the place and snorkel, perhaps by boat. But at first Christiansted. Have still a few sights to visit and also want to go around, when the shops are open. Start with Steeple Building, the first Danish Lutheran church from 1753, have also been used as a bakery, hospital and school, but is now renovated with help from Danish experts. Not much to admire here, it’s the history which is the exciting.
There should be a slave museum close to, but cannot find it. And the man who takes care of the Steeple Building doesn’t know. OK. We drop it. Next step is the Government house, partly built in 1747 for a grocer. Hope to come in. Have seen it from outside. Very pretty building.
Good morning, are we allowed to see this building inside? Yes, just write your name in the book.
Here visitor signs to wear! Have a talk with one of the employees, a nice, middle-aged man, who advises us where to go. Discuss how much money it has costs to renovate the building - about 14 mill. dollars, he tells! Hb, have you seen all these gongs and decorations he wears? Must be really heavy to wear a whole day! But looks impressing. Go around without anyone looking after us, even to the old ballroom, now the representation room for the governor. How beautiful it is.
So exciting to be here, knowing that von Scholten and his mistress Anna Heegaard, who was what was called a free-negro, have had their party’s here, and to someone’s indignations have invited black people together with white people. Luckily times have changed! Hb, I want to be governor for a day. Please take a picture of me, I will make a speech, while the Danish king Frederik the 7’th s looking at me from the wall.
Enough governor today. Let’s go shopping. Very different from STT. Smaller shops and not so many. No people in the street trying to push us to their shop. In one way more relaxing. Here is a shop with glass and other decorations for the house. Oh, could be the one we have spoken of, have seen some beautiful photos, and the photographer has a Danish surname “Larsen”, like a part of the name on the shop here. Let’s have a look.
Shortly after having the question and a new answer.
“Which part of Denmark are you from”
“Which town in Jutland”
A little surprised we tell, where we are born, and where we live now.
“That’s funny, …… is born in the same town”
Nearly at the same time a man enter the shop with some big photos in frames.
“Say hello to these Danish people, they are born in the same town as you”
Find out that he is from the main town, while we are from the suburb of the town, and that he is the photographer with the nice photos, we have seen. Chat a little more with him, how he has ended up on STX etc., so interesting, but he is busy, has to leave. Go in some other stores, still want to see if it’s possible to have a hook necklace. No. Now it’s time for the beach. On our way to the parking place the photographer pass us in his car, shouts some slighting words about the suburb, where we are from, just as in the old days. So funny!
Now Cane Bay. Nice beach, but again difficult not to compare with STJ or Buck Island. Out with the Neat Sheet, our snorkel equipment and the homemade sandwich. Have a swim, have lunch, relax. What about snorkelling? It’s windy today and there are waves. Don’t think we will be able to see anything. What about The Wall? Is too far away from the shore to swim, cannot see any boats sailing out there, cannot see any people snorkelling there. How silly, should have made some arrangements in advance. What now? OK. Would like to see the Eastern part of STX too. Let’s go. Hb, I need something to comfort me, not coming out snorkelling on our last day. OK. There is a beach bar, perhaps they have painkiller. They have! Always good but again- cannot beat the first one in High Tide! In the car. Take the north road towards East. Pass many places which look nice, see the Buccaneer sign, would like to see the beaches there, but it seems, as if only guests can drive through. The East End is very different from the West End. Bigger houses, better kept houses, no trash, think people living here are wealthier. Why? Perhaps newcomers? Look! What a nice view. And look, so many colours in the water!
The landscape change, more deserted, mostly cactus are growing here. Want to see what should be the most Eastern point in USA, Point Uldall. A dirty road, don’t meet any cars, can understand
why it’s just named “Et stykke land”, which means ”a piece of land”. Here we are. What a view, look how pretty Buck Island is from here. See the monument.
Which way back? Let’s take the south shore road. The surroundings here is again different from the West End, more similar the East End. Such a small island and so varied. Oh, have you seen the castle there glinting in the sun! Must be Castle Aura owned by the eccentric Rumanian lady.
Pass Hovensa Oil Refinery. Very, very big. Of course not nice. Cannot be that, but must be good for the economy of the island to have it here. Time to change direction towards Villa Margarita! Make some shopping in “Pueblo”, another big supermarket. Buy some Cruzan Rum. Home again. Why not go to the pool and relax, only a short time to sunset, haven’t tried the sun beds yet. So relaxing! fine! How we would like to have one of Adele’s drinks now. Try to make some noise, moving the beds, talking loud to hb, hoping she notice us, it’s our last evening. She does. “Would you like me to make a drink for you”. Thank you, Adele, you are so sweet, know exactly what people need. How delicious the drinks are! Hb, take a picture of us!
TRAVELLING TO NEW YORK
Up early start packing. Be careful packing the rum bottles!! Have also bought some mix in plastic bottles to make Pina Colada and Daiquiri. Don’t know how it will taste, just a try, not so expensive. Isn’t this too heavy now! No, hb, don’t think the weight is more than the allowed 23 kg.
Farewell Adele, we have enjoyed our stay! Deliver the car in the airport, only a few persons waiting before us, when booking. No crowd flying with Cape Air. So easy. Please, take your luggage on the weight? Sorry, but this one is too heavy! What to do? Very proud of myself having foreseen that, give hb a bag, which normally is used to take around a backpack to protect it. Have put it in my carry-on backpack. Here, you can use this! Hb starts to move luggage from one place to another. Have to hurry up. Other people are coming now. What is your own weight? Tell them my weight in kg. Don’t know in stone. Haven’t been a problem before. The employees know to convert. But here it’s a problem. They don’t know. Please, go up on the weight to luggage, so we can see! What! Do they really mean that I have to be weighted in like a suitcase? Yes. Feel a little foolish standing on the luggage weight, people are looking.
Now security. Should be no problem. Know what is allowed and what isn’t. A kind lady asks, do you have any liquids? No! Put my carry-on backpack in the X-ray. The bag is filled up. Have books, papers, tickets etc. in it together with my handbag and my small belt bag. Not so good, have forgot to remove a small water bottle. Sorry! All my stuff in the X ray again. Something is wrong. The woman looks in my bags, finds a sun block in my belt bag, throws it away. How silly I have been. Have forgot to control the belt bag. A new X ray. Still something wrong. People are waiting and looking. And now the woman empty my bags completely, take every little thing out. So embarrassing. The system in my bags is “be prepared”, and I have a good imagination about what can happen. So there is really much stuff, both my backpack and my handbag have several rooms. Some of the objects in my handbag even surprise me. Wish the earth would swallow me up, seeing, and other people seeing what a bag can hide. But she doesn’t find anything not allowed being there! No explanation about what was wrong. Now she really surprises me. She takes every little thing and put it back in the bags from where she has taken it. Very impressing. Don’t think she make any mistake. Say thank you and compliment her for her memory. Get a smile. Thinking about what I have read that the Cruzians were not so friendly. That isn’t our experience. Like the other places we have mostly met very friendly people. And if we want to have an extra smile, we just add, after answering the where are you from question: “We are coming to buy the Islands back”. People think it’s funny. Perhaps they don’t believe we have the money? OK. Finally both of us have managed the security. What do you move to the backpack-bag, hb? The rum bottles and the mix! What? Are you crazy, they will break, have read several times about broken bottles! No, problem I packed them in the Neat Sheet, had to move the heaviest things in a hurry. Oh, no. Could really need the painkiller now!!
The flight to Puerto Rico goes fine. A bigger airport than imagined, clean and nice. Have to wait for the next flight. Delay. Bad weather in NY. Look in the stores for a necklace. Last year in Prague I lost my favorite necklace. Not an expensive one, but very special. Hb bought it to me, when we were in Botswana a few years ago, not so easy to replace. Always try to find one similar. Have also looked on STJ and STT together with my hunt for a hook necklace. This here could perhaps be a substitute. OK. I buy it. Still time. Let’s have a smoothie! Delicious. Now boarding for NY. No problems, a pleasant flight, arriving to the airport, contact the hotel, Marriott Courtyard in Elisabeth, New Ark. Tell us where to go to find the shuttle bus. Hotel is nice and the room is light and clean, both better and cheaper than the hotel on Manhattan. Unpacking, the rum bottles were NOT broken, a Neat Sheet is just fantastic, dining at the hotel, tiring to travel, nice to come to bed - two beds, no problem to sleep!
JERSEY OUTLETT MALL, TRAVELLING HOME
Up in the morning, hb, not completely awake. Oh, how I need a bath after all that packing and travelling yesterday. Find the things I need, up in the bath to take a shower. What? No water! OK. I must have done something wrong. Try again. No water! Call with my sweetish voice, knowing that hb is still half sleeping, darling, there is no water! What do you expect, I can do with that, hb answers, a little growling. Hmm. Perhaps call the reception? Hb get up, open the tap, no water, call the reception. Sorry, there is a main broke in the town. Cannot do anything. Not the same to wash yourselves and brush your teeth with the left drinking water! As compensation for the missing water we have our breakfast free. Is there a special smell here, people not being washed?
Have an important mission this morning. Buy gifts for our family and for friends, who take care of our house and garden, when we are away. Of course also want to look after something for us. Most important is to buy Neat Sheets. Have been so happy for ours, and know that both family and friends will like it. And it will be so funny to give them something they haven’t seen before. In our global world isn’t so easy. Jersey outlet mall must be the answer, have booked this hotel just because it was close to. Go with the shuttle bus to the mall. Have about 4 hours to spend. Oh, what a big, big centre. Never seen anything like this. Where to start and where to end? OK. Let’s start finding something to our lovely grandchildren. Two boys, one and a half and three and a half year old. Miss them so much. Here a store with clothes to children. Incredible cheap. Buy several T-shirts, shorts and nightclothes. Have already bought shoes on STT with pictures of Spiderman and blinking when you go with them. Look forward to see their faces having them. Stop buying more! Have to bring all that with us and want also to give them some toys. OK. Looking in several stores to find some nice cloth, hb is waiting outside, think shopping is boring. Thank you hb for being patient. But the stores are so big and don’t’ know the names of all these designers. Only recognise a few of them. Nearly too much, cannot choose, a little confused - and in a hurry, important to find Neat Sheets and toys too. After being running in at least twenty stores, the result is 3 nearly identical black T-shirts on offer and a cheap shirt for our daughter in law!!
Have to find the Neat Sheets now. Have brought a copy of their homepage from home. Ask and ask. Nobody knows. How annoying, it’s such a good idea, don’t know what else to buy. One advice us to ask in the reception. We do. Talk with a big black woman, partly red-haired. She is busy, but after a talk with us, she is very eager to help, has a Neat Sheet herself. Phones to different stores in the mall. No success. Show her the homepage, where you have the name of a private agent, but also that they perhaps can be found in Toys R Us. She phones the private agent. No success. She phones a Toys R Us, have only 2 left, phone another, finally success after a long waiting for the answer. They have them in Toys R Us nearby. Cheer! How to come there? Oh, I have already required a taxi for you, know you are busy! What a service, have never expected so much help. Very grateful we ask, what to pay for the calls. Nothing, is service! Shake hands with her, have some tip in, farewell and thank you. A big smile from her, is surprised. Think that people in NY are very service minded. In the airport too! Always people to help. The taxi is here, find Toys R Us. The 5 Neat Sheets we have ordered are already brought to the cash desk. See that they are bigger than ours. Fine. Let’s take one more to ourselves. Buy toys. Oh, think I will buy two of the smaller like ours too. So with a lot of toys and 8 Neat Sheets we leave. Have a little hour left. Not real satisfied to come home without cloth from “over there”, persuade hb to go back to the mall. But difficult to find anything in a hurry. Hungry and thirsty now. Buy Pretzel dogs with cheese dip in Auntie Anne’s. A special Lemonade too. Never tried before. Taste good. Now we have to find the hotel to find out how to pack all this! Have a backpack-bag more. When packing the Neat Sheets hb suddenly asks:” Are you sure that you cannot buy them in Toys R us in Denmark?
Not much to tell about the flight. Sitting in a plane for about nine hours is not the most exciting in the world! But talk about and think of Virgin Island. Feel that we have been so lucky. A wonderful and eventful vacation. A mix of history, beaches, snorkelling and culture, meeting people from other countries, just as we like it. And all the worries I could have saved. No problem with bugs, sunburn, hurricanes, missing A/C, destructive delays, crowds in the airport, lost luggage, no accidents and except from Manhattan very satisfied with our accommodations. And hb has been satisfied, with all I have planned. So fine!! Couldn’t have done it, if I haven’t found out that you can ask for help in a Forum. So glad for that. Have used incredible much time reading every day in the forum. Addicted! Hb thinks it’s nearly too much. But hb, it improves my English! Have already learned several important English words, as noodle, painkiller, LOL, yummy, no-se-ums (smile)... And hubby! Thought Hubby was the husband’s name reading it in a trip report. But then the husband in the next report have the same name, and in another too. OK perhaps it’s not the name! Decide that I will write a long trip report coming home, even though it will take my time once more. Oh, have you seen the sunrise!
Finally we are in Hamburg. Will be nice to come home now. Have our luggage, let’s find the car!
The airport has several parking places, some are parking houses, and some are outdoors parking. Use normally a special outdoor parking, where it’s cheap, if you are away for more than a week.
But this parking place was filled up, when hb came, he got a slip of paper telling that instead he could park for the same price in one of the houses. So easy, close to Arrival, after 5 minutes we are there. A very big building. Go to the second floor, where hb has parked the car. Go around, cannot find it, go around once more, no car to see. Hb was sure, it was the second floor, but perhaps not? Stay here with the luggage, I will look on the other floors! I wait and wait, cannot understand he is not coming back, but now he is here. Where have you been? There are 5 floors and also parking outside! Take time. What now? Cannot understand if the car should be stolen, isn’t so easy. Ask hb a question I normally never will ask him “ Are you sure it’s the right house?” Yes. OK. Now you can take care of the luggage, I will go and look. Start going around in the second floor. But haven’t I seen this car before and this? So difficult to remember where I have started. Smile. Think of a joke about people in a city in Denmark. Have the reputation that they are a little stupid. So in their roundabouts there is a sign telling.” it’s not allowed to drive more than 4 rounds”. I could be one of them. I’m on my second! Hear hb shout, please come back! What now? He has found the paper he got about having another parking place. We are in the wrong house! So happy to find the car on second floor in the right parking house. But understandable that after 3 eventful weeks, even hb’s memory can fail. Don’t talk too much about it.
So off we go, direction Denmark. Much traffic. It’s Saturday, many Germans start on vacation and many of them are heading north. Nearly all of them have bicycles with, many have a boat too. Sometimes the traffic stops totally. Try not to fall asleep, hb must be sleepy too. How nice it will be to come home. Know that our house is very clean. Always clean meticulous the last days before a longer vacation. Hb asks: Why do you stress yourselves so much? You know hb, if we have a flight crash and other people shall empty our house, I want them to see, that I’m good housewife! You are silly, an accident can happen everywhere! Yes, I know, but also enjoy coming home after a vacation, not starting to clean. Still trying not to sleep. Thinking of how I will answer the question. Not the where are you from question, but the question:
Which island is the best??
Not so easy to say. Depending of whom I have to advise.
Some of our friends have been backpackers and are nature- and beach lovers like us. No doubt. St. John. They will like the atmosphere there, and not one, two or three beautiful beaches, many!! And each one with its own snorkelling experience. Beautiful nature in most of the island and interesting trails. But expensive to live there, both the accommodations and the living costs.
Also know that some of our friends will be bored on STJ staying there for a longer time. Do not really appreciate to be on a beach for more than having a short bath. Want more opportunities, more different things to see, more restaurants and hotels to choose among. Some of them also love to shop. Then I will definitely say St. Thomas.
Other friends don’t like a place with too many tourists, and other are like us very interested in history. No doubt. St. Croix. More laid-back than STT, not so many tourists, much to see from the time of the Danish. Cheaper to rent a car, cheaper accommodations, don’t know for sure about living costs, but think they are lower too.
But the best advice must be: Take a long vacation so you will be able to visit all three of them!! They are different and all of them very interesting with their own spirit. Just arrange the number of days on each island taking your own preference into consideration.
Now we are near home, let’s buy some food before going to our house. How nice to be home again. Have to go around and look. Nothing changed. Both of us are very tired, try not to sleep, it’s best to wait until your normal bedtime. Began to unpack, wash, find some fresh flowers to the vases, look in the post, phone our son, have some food, now it must be time. Haven’t been in bed in about 32 hours. What a delight to lie in our own bed. Nothing better. Love to travel but also love to come home again. Look forward to tomorrow. Our sweet son and daughter in law come and visit us, and as the best our two lovely grandchildren. How we are longing to take them in our arms and kiss them! And then I think I fall asleep!
This was the end of my very, very long story. Perhaps too long. Don’t know if people have the time to read it all. Have even surprised myself, how much I have written. But like to tell, even in English. And you were warned! This is the first sentence in my part one:
“This will probably be the longest trip report/diary you have ever seen”- Am I right or not?
But I hope that some “newbies” can find inspiration in my diary, and that some “oldbies” have been entertained. And the best final must be to say:
Loved your final posting and have missed your other/s so I will go back to read! Nice pictures as well! About your question as to why they don't tare down some of the old buildings, I can't answer your question, but I have always found them quite interesting! If you could only see the interior....some soooooo cool! One I went in, you could see the layers of old paint in differant colors, like the crackle paint that people actually do on purpose! Also, you can see how they were braced on the interior walls to help keep them standing during a Hurricane (how cool)! One old house I went in had a Palm tree that was used as an anchor as well, both on an interior wall and exterior. Very unique to say the least. To me, they do have historical value. It is also neet to see how these extended families actually lived and still do! If and when you come back, I hope you will get the chance to see the things I have! One example is at Bryan's Plants on the Northside of STT. They use this old Frenchy house as a place to sell furniture and baskets..... a must see on the subject! (First time I've recommended this)! LOL! You would truly enjoy it! Another place to see some unique Frenchy houses is in French Town, on your way to Oceana!
Great Post! LOL, You must be exhausted.
I've been waiting for your final post on St. Croix. I love the way you write. I've read many trips reports over the years and enjoyed your's the most. I also share your love of painkillers! I'm looking forward to our trip to St. Croix next April. Thanks for your interesting and humorous insights!
Linne - I have been waiting for this final report and you did not disappoint. Fabulous. Absolutely loved it. Hope you and your hubby will come to visit again.
Linne I appreciate your reports. That man's first name is Steffen. Quite a character. Sorry I wasn't paying more attention as I would have tried to meet up with you and give a great Virgin Island velcommen! I am the President of the St Thomas/St John Friends of Denmark. We have counterparts all over Denmark. You should try and meet up with them as they are all lovers of the Danish West Indies. They are the Dansk Vestindisk Selskab. http://www.dwis.dk/3_default.htm We visit each other every two years or so alternating. They were here this year and we will be in Denmark in 2009.
Loved the reports & pics. You guys were so lucky to have had time to see so much. Thanks again for taking the time to write such a fun report.
Could have been so fun to have met you on the islands. We met Miss Schulterbrandt, when we visited her house, as you can see in part one. Is she a member too? I know www.dwis.dk pretty well. Actually it’s so, that my special interest for the islands mainly was caused from a programme in the TV about the slavery. A little later I have to write an undergraduate dissertation to be able to pass an examination. I chose to write about the sale of the Danish West Indies and what caused it. So I read a lot of books and have also found much information in dwis. They lead me to another homepage where I found some very interesting old pictures, which I could show in the dissertation too. So this year I want to see the islands and some of the places I have mentioned myself!
About coming back to the islands or be a member of Dansk Vestindisk Selskab. It’s mainly me, who has the interest, not my husband. But we enjoyed our vacation very much, so perhaps we will come back. But we still miss to see Australia and South America, and we don’t have long travels every year. So it will not be in the near future!
I so very much enjoyed every word of your charming trip reports. How cute you both are! Thank you for taking the time to share your lovely trip with us!!!
Yes, Ms Shulterbrandt is a member. Cannot believe the things she told you, but such is life. Look up Per Nielsen at the National Museum, he has tons of information as well.
About miss Schulterbrandt I need to tell that both hb and me liked her. She was not directly unfriendly to us, I mostly understand her words as if the Africans have to be proud of their abilities, and what she said about the Danish is in one way right. But to be a Dane visiting the islands means that you have different feelings. Proud of what some Danes have managed to build up so far from home and ashamed about the way the slaves were treated - but of course, times were different from today. Thank you for the information about Per Nielsen.
I too, think your trip report was one of the most enjoyable to read! I loved the way you would put down what you were thinking. I had to laugh out loud at the part about the man with the "horsetail"!! We call it a "ponytail" but some men's really do look like a horsetail! I'm so glad you had a safe and enjoyable trip. It sounds as if you have some wonderful travels in the future also.
So funny with the horsetail. It's translated directly from Danish. Forgot to control in the dictionary.
But someone has told me that I have made another funny mistake . Wondering why nobody has mentioned it? When I describe the rum punch we had on our trip to Buck Island I wrote that it was in a "big butt with a tap". I have found the word "butt" in the dictionary. But can see now that "butt" in English and "butt" in American doesn't mean the same. What I meant was a closed bucket, perhaps the word is a cask, not a part of your body!
Linne I think your translations are cute. Good board etiquette says not to correct someones English and grammar. The one I thought was cutest was the 'hot tube' you went in that wasn't working. It's a hot tub!! Not to worry, you reports were excellent and very much understood.
Ronni! I'm glad that people have understood my reports even though my Englist isn't perfect. As you say too!
About the Hot "Tube": I have laughed so much that tears began to run, because cocosmom wrote that she thought it was the TV. I can imagine her surprise when I told that we went in the Hot Tube. So funny!!!
But I'm still curious. Did you understood what I meant with " a big butt with a tap". Did you knew , that the English use this word about a cask?