St. Lucia lies in about the middle of the arched string of Caribbean islands located between the Dominican Republic and South America. It’s one of the prettiest islands to tour, and, as far as I know, it’s the only place you can chow down on “cow heel” soup. And the only place I have ever been where your cabbie will take you to his house.
We loved our tour of St. Lucia. We found our cabbie, Lewis, right in the port of Castries, where our ship, the Pacific Princess, was docked. His big smile and quick understanding of our needs (both my husband and I are photographers) made him an easy choice.
Most cabbies think that when we say, “We want to take pictures,” that we mean head to the tourist traps. But that’s not what we mean at all. If the tourists go left, we must veer right.
Lewis caught on to that very quickly. And while we got quizzical looks from him, he took us to places the tourists don’t normally go, like a very old cemetery near Fort Charlotte. (David and I LOVE cemeteries – no finer place on earth to take a photo, in our minds).
This independent country (nicknamed “Helen of the West Indies”) was highly prized by both the French and the British, and only achieved its autonomy in 1979. So, those into military history will enjoy the island’s background. If you aren’t into history, or craft markets (there is a wonderful one you should see — just up from the bay — be sure to buy a St. Lucia two-sided doll – very charming), then go to the rainforest and take a tram ride. Wonderful views. Zip-line, if you feel courageous. But don’t wear any straps around your neck. (See my zip-lining blog).
Expect to become friends with your cabbie; these St. Lucians are wonderful people, with open hearts and open minds. Lewis took us to his home to meet his wife (she wasn’t home at the time), so, instead, he took us around to meet his cat, and see his chickens. Charming. Totally, charming.
As to the “cow heel” soup? We took Lewis for lunch at one of his favorite restaurants. (When traveling, especially with a trusted local, we want to eat what the locals eat.) Lewis ordered the soup. When it arrived, David and I nearly tossed our cookies (puked, in other words).
It was a viscous-looking gelatinous bog with huge chunks of, you guessed it, cow hooves floating in the yellow broth. Our advice: try the chicken or the salt fish instead. If you can’t eat those, there’s always the staple that comes with every meal: rice and beans. (The rice is particularly yummy.)
Cabbie Fee: Very reasonable. Negotiate the price with tip prior to leaving the port. Every dollar will be well spent.
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