Monday, April 23, 2012

Port of Spain

My last day in Trinidad I had all to myself, with the rest of the group heading to Tobago, and Melissa flying home. Thus, after taking it easy in the morning, and also waiting out the rain, I walked into town to check out the city sights of Port of Spain.

Taking about 30 minutes to walk from the hotel, past the Queens Park Savannah, and all the way down into town to the Independence Square, I was able to chat to school kids as they spilled out onto the street for the day (or they dared each other to speak to me, the only white girl in town at the time!), take in the food stalls and bustle of the middle of the day.

Once I got to the imposing Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, I sat and took in the strip of space that runs all the way along the bottom of the city, before walking the length of it, seeing men out playing chess among more stalls, and people leaving work for the day.

Reaching the other end, just adjacent to the water taxi terminal, I found the Brian Lara statue. In some brochures this Independence Square is actually referred to as Brian Lara Promenade, such is the reverence to the great local batsman. 'The Prince of Port Of Spain', as the sign below the statue declares, Lara is certainly a figure about town. He has been given a piece of government land for his home on the edge of the Queens Park Savannah for his very impressive, and much talked about, residence. Several of our group managed to meet him during the match, and have their photo taken with him. Some very jealous Sheilas among us, let me tell you!

Walking back into the city and away from the waters edge, I found the impressive Old Police Headquarters and the pretty Old Fire Station Tower, before wandering into Woodford Square.

This space of land in the middle of the city is famous as a place of political and religious gatherings, but there was nothing so topical going on on this particular day. Just people walking through after work, or hanging about.

From the Square I could see the Red House, which is the house of parliament, and perhaps one of the more prominent buildings of the city. It was covered in scaffolding, but grand and bright nonetheless.

Also from the Square I could see the Old Library building, as well as Greyfriar's Church. Having grabbed a leaflet about the historical buildings in Port of Spain, it seems they are all really close together in this compact city area.

Walking back out of the centre of town again, I returned to the new and very modern National Academy of Performing Arts for a closer look, and to take some photos of the impressive sails. This is on the edge of the Savannah. We had joked with a taxi driver earlier in the week that it was the Trinidad Sydney Opera House, which he was delighted by!

Taking one last look at the capital of Trinidad, I returned to the hotel for a swim and some relaxation time within my much needed holiday. I then packed and prepared for the early morning airport run, which will take me and the rest of the Waving The Flag touring group, to our next destination.

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