07 July 2012

Grenada - Round the Island in one day

little houses in the mountains
As we're gonna stay a while in Grenada we really want to see as much as possible from this beautiful island. When a friend asked us if we want to join a "Round the Island Tour" she was organizing we happily agreed. We were 12 people plus our guide Joe who was born and raised in St.George's. He was a careful driver and during the nine hours we circled the island we got a little taste of the nature and life of this little Caribbean gem.
Grenada is not very big (344km2 - that's roughly 120 times smaller than big Switzerland) but as it is mountainous the few streets have to wind up and down and distances seem to be bigger as they actually are. Colored little houses are clued to the steep slopes of the mountains everywhere, almost hidden in the lush tropical vegetation. It seemed to be laundry day as there was linen out to dry outside at almost every home - or maybe they did hang the laundry out to get washed as there was rain on and off that day?

laundry day
rain coming and going

The rain scotched our plans just a little. When we arrived at the Concord waterfall we just got a glimpse of it in bright sunshine before the clouds densified and a heavy rainshower poured down. No surprise that nobody felt like having a bath in the cool water anymore...

Concord waterfall

Many people make their living with fishing. When we arrived in Gouyave we could observe fishermen pulling in their nets. This town is famous for its "Fish Friday" where food stands are set up down a street serving all kind of fish. We will go there soon! That day we had lunch in one of the local Restaurants. As we got there a bit too early and the cook was not fully prepared we just had simple dishes like Wrap Roti or Fish & Chips. 

Fishing village Gouyave

It was not a culinary delight but it was good to have something in the stomach especially given our next destination: The River Antoine Rum Distillery. On our tour we observed a process of Rum production that has changed little since the 1800s with the oldest functioning water-propelled distillery throughout the Caribbean. They are bottling two kind of Rum, one with 69% and another with 75% Alc/Vol (you can't bring the second one on a plane as it is too strong!). We did of course taste them but for most of us they just fired the throat!

Rivers Rum 69% Alc/Vol

Luckily our next stop was the Belmont Estate! It operates as an organic goat dairy, has its own gardens, museum and restaurants. But what we came for was chocolate! OK this is not entirely correct. The Grenada Chocolate Factory doesn't offer any tour, but as the Belmont Estate produces organic cocoa for them they close this gap. So we learned about the fascinating story of the cocoa bean from traditional to present-day methods of processing and the transformation of raw cocoa into chocolate and other products. Unfortunately they don't produce any milk chocolate but their dark chocolate with 60% or 71% cocoa tastes really good - and it's no secret that the consumption of dark chocolate can be good for your health! So off we went to visit the on site store to buy a bar (or two) of chocolate or some pralinés... Mmhhh

Belmont Estate / Grenada Chocolate Factory

To get back from the East to the West coast our guide drove through the Grand Etang National Park & Forest Reserve in the central part of the island. The highest altitude we passed was around 580m and when we stopped at the Grand Etang Lake to stroll around we could feel the significant drop of the temperature - how refreshing to breath cool air! The street snaked through parts of the rainforest where the elfin vegetation amazed us and our eyes couldn't almost cope with all the different shades of green! Joe asked me if I was able to drive such winding mountain roads? I answered honestly: "I guess, I would! We have many roads like this in Switzerland and I'm used to drive on them." Marco poked me in the side and hissed into my ear: "I guess, now you have insulted him! He'd expected you to say NO!" To be honest, I'm really bad in being diplomatic. In this case I don't find just to enhance a males' ego I had to lie - what do you think?

Grand Etang Lake
Grand Etang Rainforest

Our very last stop was in Fort Frederick that was started by the French after they had captured the island from the British in 1779. I don't want to tire you with historical details - but the view was amazing! From its location you have a view in every direction.

view from Fort Frederick

I will upload much more pictures on our facebook page, so feel free to have a look or even like our page if you haven't yet.

From paradise with love

No comments:

Post a Comment