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Monday, 7 January 2019

Caribbean Cruise - St Kitts and Nevis

The fourth island we visited on our cruise was St. Kitts, the classic Caribbean island with a mixture of deserted beaches, sleepy villages, lush rainforests and sugarcane fields and a mini mountain range with a dormant volcano in its midst.

Along with the island of Nevis, it is also known as the Federation of Saint Christopher and Nevis. It is a country located in the Leeward Islands chain of the Lesser Antilles, and is the smallest sovereign state in the Western Hemisphere, in both area and population, and is a member of the British Commonwealth.

We began our visit by taking a trip on the St Kitts Scenic Railway.
St Kitts Scenic Railway
The St Kitts Scenic Railway is a narrow guage railway, which was built between 1912 and 1926 to transport sugar cane from the island’s sugar plantations to the sugar factory in the capital city of Basseterre, today the “Last Railway in the West Indies” provides visitors an unsurpassed opportunity to experience the scenery and culture of this unspoiled country.

In a short while we came across this magnificent view of the cloud topped island of Nevis.
Nevis
Although St Kitts is undoubtedly a beautiful island, the government are having a problem with abandoned vehicles. There doesn't appear to be any scrap metal industry so when a vehicle has reached the end of its useful life, it is just abandoned either by the side of the road, in a field or anywhere else the owner can find. In this exammple the tractor appears to have been abandoned on the verge of the roadside.
Abandoned
Weeds are growing up through the centre of the vehicle, while a stray donkey chews the grass.  

A  few minutes later we leave the village and head into the countryside, crossing a steel bridge over a canyon.
Railway Bridge
The image shows the unique double decker coaches with an upper open–air observation platform and the train travelling through the lush vegetation of the island.

The next two images show examples of the lovely bays and deep blue sea to be found on the island.
Bay in St Kitts
One of the many bays on the island of St Kitts viewed from the train, showing deep blue sea, crashing waves onto the beach and a cloud free blue sky.

St Kitts 
View of St Kitts showing the vegetation, blue sea, rolling waves, sandy bays and mountains with a cloud topped Mount Liamuiga, the highest point on the island of Saint Kitts, as well as one of the tallest peaks in the eastern Caribbean archipelago.

After our railway journey, we spent a few hours walking around the capital of the island, Basseterre. 

Basseterre is a very small town, laid out in a grid pattern. It has four main streets running west to east, and a main street running north to south. The city has 2 centres, at The Circus, which is geared towards tourism, and the Independence Square, which contains the cathedral, courthouse, and most of the older buildings.

Berkeley Memorial
The Berkeley Memorial is in the form of a clock and drinking fountain  and stands in what is known as the ‘Circus’, named after Piccadilly Circus, London. It is an ornate, cast iron tower with four clock faces and more than a little architectural decoration and was built in Glasgow, Scotland. There are four clock faces, each one facing one of the four streets leading to the Circus. It was built in honour of Thomas B.H. Berkeley, a former president of the General Legislative Council in the 1880s.

Independence Park
Independence Park was developed in the 1730's as a market place and is centrally located by the Cathedral, the Circus area and the Port Zante shopping complex in Brasseterre. Formerly the site of a slave market, the square was renamed "Independence Square" when St. Kitts & Nevis gained political Independence from Britain on 19th September 1983. The stone fountain in the centre commemorates the introduction of piped water to Basseterre in the 1800's. The figurines at the top of the fountain are decorative nymphs. 

Look out for my next post, the island of Antigua, which boasts of having over 365 beaches - one for every day of the year!

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