30 Nov 2010
The island was originally named St Christopher by Christopher Columbus and is now known by either the official name (St Christopher) or a more common shortened version, St Kitts.
The morning was spent roaming the streets of the capital, Basseterre. These streets are very similar to St John's, many one way, others dual, all in poor condition giving the town its relaxed character. The town felt even more relaxed than St John's.
The afternoon was spent on a cruise tour called “Scenic and Historical St Kitts”. This included a drive half way around the island to the north through some picturesque rainforests and included two stops.
The first stop was Romney Manor. The 350 year old estate is home to Caribelle Batik – where locals use local sea island cotton, wax and dye prints to create wraps, scarves and even ties (I'll pass). The gardens are well kept filled with many tropical plants and flowers.
Next stop, situated 250 metres above sea level, was Brimstone Hill Fortress - a World Heritage Site. Two things make this site amazing - firstly is the stunning views; second is the level of fortification. The first cannon was mounted in 1690 by the British. The fort was taken by the French in 1782 after the British had to surrender after a month of fighting. It was returned to the British the following year, eventually abandoned in 1852 when the British troop were redeployed.
The main road of the island is a rough narrow road with what appears to be no speed limits (and very few rules), locals all along the sides, that can barely hold two-way traffic, it does, and with the odd car parked at the side makes for an interesting ride.
It's been an interesting day.