St. Kitts is an island with a surprising number of things to see, especially considering that it is only 18 miles long and an average of 5 miles across.
My brother headed off on his own journey to climb Mount Liamuiga, the 3,792-foot-tall volcano that dominates the western end of the island.
|Picture borrowed from here|
The remaining five of us toured Basseterre (see last post), and then headed out of the city in our rental car on a trip along the coast.
Just a note about renting a car. On most of the Eastern Caribbean islands, the steering wheel is on the right and you drive on the left side of the road as you do in Great Britain, the opposite of what we're used to. It can be a little disconcerting at first, but you'll get used to it quickly. However, driving is further complicated on St. Kitts because the roads are almost all only wide enough for one car, so if there is two-way traffic, one car pulls as far over to the left as possible.The roads were clearly not built for a lot of automobiles.
No wonder that in some places, St. Kitts feels like an uninhabited tropical jungle:
Our first stop was one I had requested, a batik factory. I had read that batik is one of the main crafts of the Caribbean, and Romney Manor is the place to go to see it made.
Long before batik became popular here, however, he first European settler of this area was Sam Jefferson, the third-great-grandfather of Thomas Jefferson. He established a home on St. Kitts in the early 17th century, but sold part of his estate to the Earl of Romney in the mid-17th century. Successive Earls of Romney owned this area through the mid-19th century. In 1834, contrary to the wishes of British Parliament, the Lord Romney of the day freed all his slaves, making the Romney Estate the first one in St. Kitts to emancipate its slaves.
Moving forward to the 20th century, since 1974 the Caribelle Batik company has been operating a highly successful business from this spot. The name "Caribelle" can be broken down into its two key parts: "Carib" (for Caribbean) and "belle" (meaning beautiful). And beautiful it is: