|This is The Bottom|
But first, breakfast. When I booked our rooms, Claire, the very gracious host and manager, gave us complimentary American or Dutch breakfast with our stay. I didn't record any images for posterity, but I tried a different one each morning. Our first morning I sampled the Dutch breakfast, with ham, gouda, one boiled egg, and toast. Here's DH at our breakfast table (incidentally, it was the last meal we could eat outdoors because once the rain began a few hours later, it basically didn't let up for the rest of our stay:
|Shot from the treetop table for two|
Our tour began at The Bottom. Ed Peterson, our Saba born and bred tour guide, stopped first at a small Catholic church in the village so that we could see the new mural painted behind the altar. It took a few years to finish, but it was very vibrant. The walls of the church are very thick, resulting in a relatively cool interior.
The entire time we were with Ed, he kept up a non-stop commentary of island history and DH and I peppered him with questions about the flora and fauna and particularly about the road and the airport. He was also very obliging, pulling over to the side of the road (such as it is) to allow for photographs at any point along the road, save for the blind switchbacks.
The road is, without a doubt, one of the finest engineering marvels I've ever seen. Decades ago, Sabans were told that a road couldn't be built on their island, but one enterprising fellow wasn't daunted. He took a correspondence course in civil engineering and designed the road that connects all of the villages with each other and with the airport and the boat dock. That's impressive enough in and of itself, but the fact that every inch of the road was cut by hand? Phenomenal. Electricity hadn't come to the island yet, so the roads were leveled by hand. Hand hewn through the mountain itself with sledgehammers, pickaxes and shovels. And the cement? All mixed, poured, and laid by hand. I can't remember the last time I was so impressed.
|They call this stretch The Great Wall of Saba|
|There are countless switchbacks on the road|
|Memorial to the undaunted man who engineered the road|
|That's the Saba airstrip in the distance|
|As above, seen from a higher altitude|
|Not my photo. Image found here.|
|One of the last traditional stone houses in The Bottom|
While there seemed to be no shortage of goats or chickens on the island, we hadn't seen any stray dogs or cats, so we asked Ed about that. His wife runs the equivalent of Saba's ASPCA/RSPCA and they have a very active presence on the island. No animal is allowed on the island unless it's spayed or neutered, so if you were nursing a big dream of retiring to Saba to breed Rhodesian Ridgebacks, you're gonna have to choose another dream. Or another island.
We invited Ed to join us in town for lunch. He suggested a restaurant called Verdier, a comfortable pub-style place that was showing the World Cup. We started off outside under the umbrellas, but the breeze was so strong as to be almost too cool for comfort. Before too long, the fog swept through the streets and the rain was long to follow. We moved inside after that. The food was perfectly good pub fare--I think we ordered two burgers and a fish sandwich. Three sodas and a gratuity brought the tab for all three of us to about $40.
|We ate lunch here at Verdier|
|Bird of Paradise in the courtyard|
|Ginger lily in the courtyard|
|That's Queen's Gardens in the middle ground|
|And again from a different angle|
|Ed with DH|
|View through the window in front of us|
|Our shrimp, spinach, olive, and onion pizza|
|Holy over exposure, Batman!|
|DH at dinner. (Obvs)|
Here are some photos of the hotel grounds. We had a little sunshine, so I wandered around after breakfast:
|Our unit was the third one down from the top|
|Pool seen from the dining level|
|Lounge area, one level above the pool|
|A nice place for a tete-a-tete|
|At the bar...|
|At the bar, part deux|
|Large elephant ear foliage|
|The indoor dining area|
|I loved this piece--it's an Indonesian bed repurposed as a table|
|Treetop dining for two|
|Ramp up to the treetop dining|
The Bad: Not much. Would have been nice to have a working Jacuzzi, but it didn't ruin our stay and we were well compensated for the lack. We even rather liked having such foggy and rainy weather.
The Bizarre: Okay, I'm putting this out there because after ALL of my hours of research for Saba in general and the various hotels in specific, I never once ran across the notice that flushing toilet paper is prohibited on the island. I understand why--the delicate septic systems deal best with bodily waste only, and there's only so much room on such a tiny island. But I'm telling you right now: flushing toilet paper is a deucedly difficult habit to break. At first we thought it was just a thing at our hotel, but when we used the public restroom in Windwardside during our island tour, it was the same situation. So if you're going to Saba, be prepared. That's all I'm saying.