Sunday, March 8, 2015

Virgin Islands: Arrival & Departure, Bluebeard's Castle and Charlotte Amelie

All righty. I've pretty much sorted out the big pile of photos from our trip to the Virgin Islands with my folks, so it's time to supersaturate the ol' Patio Boat blog with pictures, pictures, pictures.

Let's start with a reminder of what we fled with our tail between our legs:

This was my everyday attire headed out to work. It was even worse the morning we left Wolverine Lake -- minus-eighteen degrees Fahrenheit! Ugh!

In St. Thomas?


It's really hard to describe in words the joy it's like to go to a place more than a hundred degrees warmer than your frozen hellscape. So Monique will demonstrate through interpretive chaise lounge dance at our first night's stay, Bluebeard's Castle:

It was a Bluebeardy kind of stay. Most of our time in St. Thomas we stayed at Bluebeard's Beach Club, the timeshare on the beach that my Mom had traded into. But Monique and I spent our first and last night at Bluebeard's Castle, a resort on the hill in Charlotte Amelie. We tacked those two days onto our stay since Saturday flights are so expensive because so many of the timeshare condos have Saturday-to-Saturday stints for their guests. By flying in on a Friday and out on a Sunday we saved several hundred dollars, even including the cost of two nights' hotel and two extra days of car rental.

Two days more away from our frozen hellscape and several hundred dollars in savings? Now THAT is a win-win situation!

The view of the harbor from our room. Do you want to know what really struck me about it?


Selfie from our balcony.

Our room was a one-night rental in a little condo a bit down the hill from the main resort. It was spacious and had a lovely view, though there was quite a bit of climbing up and down the hill to get to the main resort.

After unpacking our gear we climbed back up the hill for dinner. The view and sunset were spectacular:

Sunset over the Caribbean complete with fruity rum drinks. Beats the heck out of -18F that morning!

The next morning we packed up then headed down into the little downtown of Charlotte Amelie for a bit of shopping and exploration. We parked right by this fine five-star dining establishment:

Monique immediately went searching for something frozen. My wife is beautiful, but occasionally deranged:

Let's skip by the main part of our stay -- plenty more photos to come I assure you -- and fast-forward to our final Saturday in St. Thomas.

After dropping my folks off at the airport we headed downtown to pick up a few little knick-knacks and souvenirs. The shops in the downtown market area were all built in old warehouses and buildings that were built in the early 19th century after several wood-built versions of the city burnt down. One of the features of this little area is a series of small little alleys or hallways with storefronts throughout and lovely little architectural details throughout.

Wrought-iron palm tree.

Monique bought a cool little pelican print from this hallway gallery.

We stopped at Greengos restaurant for a quick snack. Since the sun was out we opted to sit outside. As you'll see below, however, I soon had to pull out our umbrella to protect our plate of nachos from a little rainshower:

After our snack, we headed back into the passageways and the stores....

Soon we had sated our souvenir shopping desires. It was time to check back into Bluebeard's Castle. As we checked in, a rainstorm swept over the harbor and downtown Charlotte Amelie:

The apartment we had for our final night overlooked a yacht harbor filled with the superyachts of the superwealthy:

It's hard to see how really big these yachts are when they're all parked together like this. They're enormous, even the ones that look comparatively small in this picture. We'll get another look at one of them on its own in a future post with the pictures of our sailing and snorkeling expedition.

Meanwhile, for those of us not in the one percent, it was time for dinner. The immediate option involved a chicken dinner with a bit more self-service than we were up for:

Plus, if we ate the rooster for dinner, who would wake us up at the crack of dawn? (And yes, he did wake us up at the crack of dawn the next morning.)

Instead of chicken for dinner we drove to the top of the hill above Charlotte Amelie to a truly excellent option, the Mafolie Hotel with its open-air restaurant and sweeping views of St. Thomas:

If I tried to tell you how delicious the coconut-encrusted snapper I had for dinner was, you would think I was fibbing. Oh, so yummy!

Alas, that brings us to Sunday morning, our final day in St. Thomas. We started with coffee and breakfast poolside at Bluebeard's Castle:

One more look at the harbor where a cruise ship had joined the superyachts:

St. Thomas is one of the busiest cruise-ship ports in the Caribbean. It can accomodate up to a dozen of these monsters per day. The crowds they discharge can double the population of St. Thomas for a few hours. Oddly enough for a tourist destination, Saturdays and Sundays are relatively quiet on the island, since most of them return to their home port to exchange passengers on the weekends.

The last stop of our vacation was for a bite of lunch -- this time at the Green House, a dandy little bar and restaurant that looks out at the harbor from downtown.

Outside the restaurant, commerce continued apace:

You can't really see the guy in this niche very well in this photo. But rest assured, if you walk by him you will buy something. If I worked in sales and marketing for a company and the corporate world worked like the NFL, I would draft this guy in the first round of my 2015 draft.

Alas, after lunch our time in St. Thomas was up. We headed to the airport, dropped off the rental car, and soon enough found ourselves on our plane, preparing to say goodbye to our tropical paradise:

On our return?

Yeah, yeah. So we still had a few Christmas lights on. They can go when the snow goes:

The next morning? It was almost as if the whole trip had never happened:

It was all just a tropical dream....

No comments:

Post a Comment