St Lucia is a volcanic island and it showed. There were mountains, volcanoes and hills draped in verdant tropical rainforest. Much more picturesque.
It felt warm and thrilling as we slipped into the sanctuary of St Lucia’s natural harbour.
Teaming up with another couple were negotiated a taxi and headed off to the far side, to the volcanoes!
We made our way up steep winding roads into the interior with spectacular views, and stop-over places lined with market stalls selling fruit, local crafts and tourist tat. There were gaily painted houses on stilts, lianas, tropical greenery, rocks, mountains and laid-back people trying to sell you things you didn’t want where-ever you stopped.
At one place we were accosted by a guy with a huge boa constrictor around his neck. He wanted us to put it around our necks and have photos taken – for a price. We told him to put it back in the jungle and drove away. It’s not good.
It was hot but with the windows down the breeze was great.
Having gone up through the centre we started to come down the other side, past expensive stilted houses, cheap chattel houses, stopping for views over luscious scenery.
Then there were the Pitons – two huge dormant volcanoes standing up like perfect steep-sided cones. They were breath-takingly beautiful. At the side of one were the sulphur geysers of bubbling mud and hot water. We could see the steam rising in the air.
We went down into the large fishing village with the boats drawn up on the beach, the brightly painted houses, huge church and murals. Out the other side we stopped for a view and a Rasta guy tried to sell us ‘his art’ – crudely painted calabashes – and brought his guitar out to sing us some Bob Marley in order to snare us.
We had a choice of sulphur springs or botanical gardens – we chose a brief rush through the gardens – trailing creepers, gorgeous tropical trees, epiphytes, fabulous flowers, the smell of vegetation, decay, humid air (coupled with a faint whiff of sulphur) and the scent from a thousand nectaries. There were hummingbirds, the squawk of parrots – heard but not seen – and many other small colourful birds flitting about.
Then it was the waterfall – but no ordinary waterfall – a colourful scene where water cascaded over smooth rocks – volcanic water permeated with sulphur and various salts creating a range of colours.
Then we were hurtling back up and down the mountains, tearing along mountain roads and hurtling around tight bends.
There were fewer stops on the way back but we did manage to see a big arch of rock in the bay. A Rasta guy came up. He was working with two kids. They were standing out on the arch rock and for a price would jump into the water below.
Back in town we paid up the taxi – with a big tip – and he dropped us off at a decent restaurant where we had salted fish, beer and rum punches!
Staggering back through the square, past the church, and after a little look around town, we managed to find the boat.