Sarah “Enveloped” by flowers, for this weeks photo challenge. 🙂
View more of my challenges HERE.
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Our excursion today “St Kitts Scenic Railway” didn’t start until 11am, so we had a more relaxed breakfast at Lido’s on Deck 9. Then another lovely coffee at the Coffee Port on Deck 8. Now we had sustenance, it was down to Deck 4 and off the ship to enjoy what today had in store for us?! 🙂
Welcome to St Kitts…
Once an illustrious sugar colony, it now focusses its efforts on being a tropical paradise. A seductive blend of blonde sandss, and duck egg blue seas.
Once we slowly navigated down the gangway steps, we looked up to see a view of the beautiful bay.
The Caribbean never failed to surprise us, even when we thought we had seen the most beautiful places, the next place would leave us awe-struck with it’s breathtaking landscapes!
⇧ Sarah’s Panorama of St Kitts ⇧
As i was taking a photo of Sarah, a nice lady came over and asked if we would like her to take one of us both together? “Oh yes please, that would be so kind of you”. The photo she took is probably my fave photo of the trip! 🙂
⇧ Sarah & i at St Kitts ⇧
Showing my excitement, and love for the Caribbean. Sarah chose(and bought) me an amazingly bright and colourful Caribbean shirt, 🙂
Excursion Details – St Kitts Scenic Railway…
First up, board a tour bus for a drive along the south coast. Important landmarks lie around every corner here.
Second, hop on a train at the “Needs-Must” station, and St Kitts light railway takes you on a 3 hour tour of the islands best bits. You’ll chug over ravines over 300 feet deep, circle mount Liamuga volcano, take a sneak peak at the islands black sand beaches, and soak up the jaw dropping views over lush sugar cain fields,
Another soothing air conditioned bus ride. Our tour guide was fantastic, and told us all about the Economy, history(some grusome battles), and the monkeys! She said “Around 100,000 monkeys live in the tree covered hills, and they steal our fruit etc. So if you want to take one with you, it will help us greatly!”.
⇧ A view from the bus window ⇧
We got off the bus at the “Needs-Must” station. The hot sun felt lovely as we waited for the train. We had no idea what to expect, and looking at the small narrow train tracks, we expected a little open top fun train, or something like.
Then…this large double decker monster pulled up. “Wow, i didn’t expect that! It’s really tall, and doesn’t look wide enough to take the height”. I said as we climbed the stairs to the upper deck of the 1st carriage. “Yes! We get to sit at the front too! Unbelievable”.
As the train pulled away, the tour guide told us that the train will sway(strongly) side to side, so it’s best to stay seated, but if you want to stand then keep hold of the rail above the seats. She wasn’t joking!! It was the craziest train i’d ever been on, and i thought there is no way i can take photos whilst being violently thrown around!
But…as usual, i didn’t let that stop me! My Nikkor lens has VR(Vibration Reduction) on it, so i’ll test it out. I really didn’t expect to have any photos from this amazing, unforgettable train ride, but was surprised when a few turned out not too blurry!
We started off travelling through vivid green fields flanked by volcanos.
Then just as a lady asked us if we wanted a “Pina Colada”, we saw the first of many beautiful curved bays, with the sea crashing into the shore.
Sarah & i just kept saying “Wow, this is Amazing! How did we get here, it’s like a dream”. The beautiful hot sun shining down, a lovely cool breeze flowing through the train, and a Pina Colada in hand. Some of my fave things are Coconut, Banana and Pineapple, and this drink had them all! Mmmmm. 🙂
Then as the train curled its way through the lush landscape, a 3 part harmony choir started singing. The ladies would come up to our deck and sing some beautiful songs as part of the trip. The voices were fantastic, and brought even more sunshine to this incredible journey. 🙂
As the singers finished, we heard a horn next to us, so we all started waving at the people on the fun bus! 🙂
We were then treated to another stunning bay!
After passing through more sugarcane fields, the lady brought us a piece of sugarcane with spices. Wow, it was the nicest sweet thing i’d ever tasted! I always talk about this sugarcane everywhere i go.
⇧ Sarah sat at the front of the train! ⇧
The tour guide then said “On your left you will make out the bridge we will be travelling over shortly”. I heard Sarah say “No way, the train isn’t going to make it over that, it looks too small and rickety. Steve, if you could see it, you’d be saying the same!!”.
Yes i would! After seeing this photo, i could tell exactly why Sarah was getting worried! 🙂
After the bridge, we travelled back towards the end of the journey. But not before we were blessed, by what is now my favourite church building.
This fantastic train ride came to an end back at “Needs-Must” station, where the bus was ready to take us back to the ship. But before we boarded, we still had a short time to look around the shops at the dock.
I bought another Caribbean shirt(blue one) so i could keep up with the vibrant colours surrounding us from all angles! Sarah even plaited my hair too! 🙂
⇧ My quiet blue shirt ⇧
Tomorrow will be our last Caribbean island, before we are at sea for 5 days crossing the atlantic for the Azores.
We’ve booked a horse ride across the beach etc, so i’m a little nervous. But at least the horse isn’t blind(i hope) and will lead the way! Either way, i’m sure it’ll be another unforgettable experience! This holiday has been full of them! 🙂
Our Route 4 2day…
This evening Thomson Dream travels to St Johns, Antigua. We’ll arrive tomorrow morning having travelled 61 nautical miles, at an average speed of 4 knots.
🌴 Day Navigator 🌴
🌴 Day Navigator 🌴
After a quick bacon roll from Lido’s on Deck 9, Sarah & i found our way off the ship, and to the shore excursion point.
St Maarten Island Tour…(excursion details)
Flying under two flags, St Maarten has got something of a split personality. But despite being one half Dutch and the other French, its whole is as Caribbean as it gets. And on this trip you’ll get to see both sides of this two-faced island, with your guide giving you snippets of history as you go
You’ll travel from Philipsburg(Dutch capital) to Marigot(French capital) passing through dinky villages hardly touched by time. Once you reach Marigot, you have some free time to explore this four street-wide city. All patisseries, pavement cafés and designer boutiques, it’s easy to see why it’s known as the French Riviera of the Caribbean.
The Dutch Side…
Our tour started with a drive around the beautiful Dutch side of the island, the air conditioned bus was perfect on this hot day. The guide pretty much told us that this was the place for the profligates. Casinos, night clubs, fast food outlets etc. I instantly thought of Mathew 23 “You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean”. Not quite in context, but you get the idea! 🙂
I know i keep going on about the vivid colours, i still can’t put into words how stunning they are, i couldn’t get my camera to do them justice! The Colours will be the main thing i remember about the caribbean! 🙂
Lookout Point, Simpson Bay Lagoon…
The driver/tour guide said he’d stop the bus for about 5 minutes so we could take some photos of the bay. “Excellent”, i thought as Sarah & i followed a man with a DSLR who was leaving in a hurry off the bus. I thought “if he is so keen to get off, then it must be a beautiful bay”. But as soon as he had moved to the edge of the cliff, he started saying “Why did he stop here? This is horrible, and a building site! There were much nicer places where he should’ve stopped”.
I ignored his complaining and started taking photos of the scenery i couldn’t see anyway, as i wanted to see what he was talking about when i zoomed in at home after the holiday. I still can’t make out the detail, but what i can see looks beautiful!, and well worth stopping for! 🙂
⇧ Lookout Point – Simpson Bay Lagoon ⇧
The French Side…
Moving seamlessly from the Dutch side of the island to the French side, Sarah started to feel a little more at home as the guide said “You won’t find any Burger King, KFC, casino’s etc. You’ll find cafe’s, restaurants, small independent market stores etc”.
After more fascinating history of the island, we pulled into Marigot(French capital), and now had 45 minutes to have a look around!
After leaving the bus, we headed straight for the open space where we found another lovely bay
⇧ Marigot bay ⇧
After standing a moment to absorb the beauty, it was over to the market to see what we could find.
The smell of the locals cooking on the market was amazing, but Sarah had found a sweet little craft stall. The lady created items from the coral found off the shores St Maarten. “Oooooh, i could have a necklace made from St Maarten”. I knew that to mean “i’m getting one, i just don’t know which one yet?!” 🙂
⇧ Sarah’s St Maartens Coral Necklace ⇧
Sarah really was starting to feel at home here, but we had to get back to the bus! We enjoyed our stop in Marigot, and we said we’d love to spend a week here to investigate more! 🙂
Back On The Ship…
After finishing the island tour, we went back to the ship to get some lunch. We had a few hours before the ship sails away, so we decided to see if we could find a beach!
Sarah always says “The holiday hasn’t properly started until our feet are standing on the sand!!” 🙂
After a frustrating hour walking from one end of the dock to the other, trying to find transport to take us to a beach. We started heading back to the ship defeated. When.. suddenly a “Water Taxi” sign appeared! Fantastic, lets go! Eventually we got on-board a very busy(yet cool) boat that took us a short distance across the bay.
After just stepping out of the boat, i heard “Hi Steve and Sarah”. It was Martin, a kind man i sat next too on the plane over to Jamaica. We’d got chatting on the plane about sight loss and coping etc, and he has a Nephew who is suffering at the moment, so i was giving him some resources that may help etc. We Sadi “Hi Martin, are we anywhere near a beach?” He chuckled a little and said “Yeah it’s right here, just walk down this short pier and you won’t miss it” “Fantastic!” “Don’t be long though, you don’t want to miss the ship” Martin said, as he boarded the water taxi.
Great Bay Beach…
⇧ View of the cruise ships from Great Bay Beach ⇧
The afternoon sun was getting hot now, which must have been why most of the people were inside the bars. But we had been in air conditioning all morning so didn’t mind a bit of sun.
It also meant that, not only did we get to walk on the powder white sands, but Sarah got to swim in the turquoise waters with hardly anyone around! An amazing experience! 🙂
Sarah couldn’t believe she was swimming in paradise, and couldn’t stop smiling for the rest of the day! 🙂
⇧ Sarah relaxing in paradise ⇧
⇧ Beautiful! ⇧
It really was getting hot now, so we nipped into a small bar for a cold soothing drink. I thought i’d try a Rum & Coke(though i didn’t taste much coke), and Sarah had her fave Mojito.
We had a last walk up and down the beach before boarding the water taxi back to the ship. What an amazing day! This whole holiday has been simply breathtaking for us, and Sarah still can’t believe she got to swim in the beautiful, warm Caribbean sea! 🙂
Towel Folding & Beyond…
You’ve already seen the fantastic towel folded Elephant on Day 1, and each night the cabin steward folded our bed in amazingly straight lines, but he went one step further. We found Sarah’s nightie folded in this fantastic pattern.
⇧ Folded nightie and bed, with chocolate mints on pillows ⇧
Our Route 4 2day…
This evening Thomson Dream sails to Basseterre, St Kitts. We’ll arrive tomorrow morning having travelled 59 nautical miles at an average of 4 knots.
🌴 Day Navigator 🌴
I forgot to mention in my older 2 posts in this Tuscany Tour series, that i didn’t take any of my DSLR’s with me to Italy (you’ve probably already noticed, lol). All of the photos taken were using my iPhone 5s or Sarah’s iPhone 6 Plus.
I’d like to split Day 3 into 4 separate posts, as i don’t want them to get too long, and dare i say boring! If you’re just joining the “Tuscany Tour” for the first time then you can click here to start from Day 1.
Sarah & i were up bright and early, excited yet anxious for today’s big adventure. As we were in the reception area admiring the beautiful Christmas tree (see image above), the entrance doors opened as our taxi driver entered and escorted us to his taxi. It was still very dark (especially down the narrow side street) and already raining, and when i noticed the black minivan with blacked out windows (which only appear on episodes of 24) and the voice of the driver say “Get in”, i had a funny feeling that this could be anyone and we were in some kind of movie (this didn’t do my slight anxiety any good at all, lol).
The driver was very friendly and nothing like the man i was imagining, he dropped us off at the exact collection point for the ‘My Tour’ coach stop where we were met by Chiara, the tour guide. She already knew we were blind & partially sighted and said it would be easier for us if we sat on the front 2 seats of the coach. “Yes!” i said as they’re our fave seats too, good start! 🙂
It took about an hour until we arrived at Pisa, Chiara was telling us lots of interesting facts and history of the Tuscany regions we were passing through, this (and my excitement) made the journey seem really quick. The coach parked right near the Cathedral Square (Piazza del Duomo) and after a short walk in the group Chiara said “Now you have one hour free time, then meet back here”. This was just perfect for Sarah & i as we now have a point of reference to go from and to return.
Welcome to Pisa!
First for my tourist pose! 🙂
And now it’s Sarah’s turn! 🙂
Everyone was rushing straight for the tower, so we hung back and got a few photos of the Baptistry and the Cathedral.
Sarah sneakily snapped me tower gazing and trying to soak up the atmosphere, and the fact that i was actually in Pisa, looking at probably the most famous bell tower in the world! 🙂
There was only one small cafe opposite the tower, so Sarah & i went to check it out. We ordered 2 Cappachino’s and to my delight, a slice of pizza. I know you might laugh, but i just had to try the Pizza at Pisa! 🙂
The image above is the view from the open windows at our table, it was just amazing being sat with the leaning tower of Pisa as the backdrop. 🙂
After this final panoramic photo, we met up with the group and headed back to the coach.
This visit already made my day and i’d of been happy if that was the end, but this was only the beginning!!
Oh by the way…..The pizza was fantastic!! 🙂
Hope you’ve enjoyed the first stop of this “Tuscany in a day tour”. Please take your seats and see what’s coming next! 🙂
I really struggled with this weeks Photo Challenge, so i thought i’d use a minimalist photo of this little gadget that completely transformed my life shortly after losing my sight. I couldn’t even make myself a warm drink without burning myself several times! So instead i just drank Vodka as it was much easier, but this really didn’t help my dark depression (see my testimony).
Then my social worker brought me round this liquid level indicator, and it changed everything! I could finally make myself a cup of tea, and was quickly making anyone who came round drinks again, what a feeling! 🙂
Description of a liquid level indicator taken from RNIB online store…
Fill your cup with greater confidence, using RNIB’s audible and vibratory Liquid Level Indicator. Simply place it on the side of a cup and a series of audible beeps and vibrations will let you know when the liquid nears the top.
The Liquid Level Indicator will give off an intermittent beep and a series of vibrations when your cup is nearly full, followed by a faster beep and continuous vibration when it has reached its limit. There are also magnets built in, to allow easy storage on your fridge door.
⇧ ‘Stormy Bay’ – Ilfracombe, Devon, England ⇧
Hi all! I think my “Travel & Landscapes” page is ready, although i’m still searching for more photos to add (maybe i’ve missed one or two, i have quite a few to look through lol).
Thought you might like to check it out, let me know what you think?! 🙂
You can find the page by clicking the image above or clicking here. I’ll keep you updated as i go along!! Thanks once again for you amazing support and encouragements!
Thank you for being so patient! 🙂
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