Green, Lush, Grenada

August 07 – August 27 2021; 6980 nm and 890 days after departure from La Rochelle.

What a beautiful island! Yes, I know we’ve been here already for half a year. (What? Can that be? Well, time is definitely speeding lately.) But we are still wowed by the luscious green landscapes showing off at every turn. We just can’t get enough of it. The nature here is literally exploding. And with the car we rented for a week, we were able to step into the nature much easier. Just following the main roads of Grenada was already an amazing trip. Maybe I should explain that the main roads here are a bit different. I would compare them to one way roads of remote areas in Europe not very well maintained. Unless you are in the area of St George’s, where they even have a so called highway for one mile, the roads provide just enough place for two passing cars. So just by going up north, taking the road through the Grand Etang Forest Reserve immersed us into the thick rainforest. Meandering through the forest inhaling the cool and rainy air was already a highlight. But of course we did explore more. I think we’ve seen almost every drivable road on the island which was sometimes quite a challenge, but gave us the possibility of seeing very remote areas.

Water reed (I think) at the Grand Etang Lake

With our Canadian friends Shell and James we drove to the very north of Grenada to hike up the Welcome Rock. Going up the steep road to the “entrance” of the hike our car almost collapsed. The automatic gearbox was at the very end of its power, we were crawling with 2 miles per hour and thought we needed to jump out to push it up the hill. Eventually the car made it, though I’m sure it wouldn’t have made it 1/4 of a mile further. Hahaha lucky us. It was a very hot and humid day and we were more than happy that we didn’t choose to walk up there. At first we thought we were at a wrong place as we couldn’t see a path anywhere. Fortunately brave James found himselve a stick and managed to find and clear the overgrown path. It was only a short walk and then the Rock literally welcomed us with its epic view over the north/east end of Grenada.

The view to the east from Welcome Rock; Norbert and James enjoying the view

My highlight of the tour (that day) was visiting Belmont Estate. A sprawling, circa-17th-century working colonial estate which encompasses an organic farm, cocoa bean harvesting and processing, museum and restaurant among other attractions. The property’s open-air eatery culls ingredients from the on-site organic farm for traditional regional dishes such as callaloo soup, chicken stew and pumpkin mash. A couple of weeks ago Hash number ? took place in this area and we already had the pleasure of hashing through this beautiful estate. Ever since we wanted to visit this property and immerse in its nature and learn about it. (That does sound a bit pompous, but I like it 😉 .) We also met Alicia at the hashes, a friend of Sherri and Johannes, who happened to manage the Estate. She was so nice to organise a very interesting tour for us. We probable would have gotten the same tour without knowing her, but we felt kind of important when we arrived. All the people knew my name. And little me felt like a VIP, hahaha. Sometimes it’s nice, isn’t it 🙂 ? Kelly, the very knowledgable guide explained us all about cocoa harvesting, fermenting, sun-drying and much more. (If you’re interested in more explanation about cocoa processing and the Estate click here.)

Cocoa beans ready for drying on big wooden trays; to aid the drying process farmers (here visitors 😉 ) walk through the beans to allow air to flow evenly through the beans

The unbeatable highlight of our Grenada trip was spending two days in a hotel. At the north/west tip of the island we spent two lazy days in a pretty little resort located directly at the beach. We couldn’t care less about the perfect location because WE were enjoying the huge bed with fresh clean sheets yeah, the big shower with a lot of water and too many towels. That felt soooo nice, not needing to economise the water. Just showering for two minutes felt like x-mas and then wrapping in a fresh big towel brought me almost to heaven. I might have exaggerate a little, but… no! It was a real treat! Unfortunately every nice event has it’s end and so we had to let go of the fresh clean towels, the shower and the big bed. Oh, it was hard to leave our new comfort! At least our car was happy to see us as it started well after a day without movement. We were a bit concerned as the battery light switched on half an hour before we reached the hotel.

the dream bed

For our last ride we decided to take a smaller road to explore the nature in the county of St. Mark. A beautiful road which meandered again through pure luscious nature – wonderful. The downside happened when we realised that we couldn’t go further with our car. The street suddenly turned into a kind of country lane with only skidmarks in the green and without a four wheel drive not managable. So we turned the car and just after the turn the car was dead. Just like that. Oh what fun! Ok, we didn’t pay much attention on the still alight battery light. Who cares? And, to our excuse the car rental company told us not to worrie about another light which went on then and again… Here we were in the middle of nowhere, no houses or civilisation and even better no mobile recption. The good part was that we were up the hill and as the car luckily has let us made the turn we could just roll down the hill. A bit scary in some curves but still better than pushing the car or walking back to find reception. Of course it was pourring down then. With its beach volleyball (from jumping up very high to reach the net) trained calfs El Capitano showed his strenght and managed to push the break and stir the dead car through the curvy lane. One mile in a car without power can feel quite long! Eventually we had to stop. Luckily it was next to a house and mobile reception was back. Then everything was easy. Despite of a Sunday the car company was surprisingly immidiately reachable and they send us a new car. One hour waiting in the remote humidity and we were good to go again. Great service!

waiting for the new car; fortunately El Capitano could listen to a football game, we brought a boom box …

Since maybe two weeks the COVID infections in Grenada have increased. We often talked about that would probably happen as most of the locals are not vaccinated, but of course we were hoping it wouldn’t. They are still frightened to get vaccined because they don’t believe in or don’t want to listen to the health professionals. In the past the government could always find the source of a spreading. Most of the time it was travel related. This time it was caused by illegal parties. Usually in August Grenada celebrates its famous carnival and it seemed that a lot of parties were held. No names were listed so the tracking was very difficult or even impossible. As an understandable result of this outbreak of community spread we are back to more restrictions. Curfew from 9pm to 5am, no amplified music (what ever that exactly means), gatherings of max 20 people and since today all bars and restaurants are only allowed to provide take away food and beverages. It doesn’t have a huge impact on us but of course it would be nicer without any restrictions. So far we’re still allowed to play volleyball so thats nice! So cross fingers the number of cases will decrease soon.

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