GWV 2014 — Jamestown, St. Helena

The pyramids first, which in Egypt were laid; next Babylon,s gardens, for Amytis made; then Mausolo’s tomb of affection and guilt; fourth the temple of Dion in Ephesus built. ~~ Anonymous. “Seven Wonders of the World”

Founded by the East India company in 1659, Jamestown was once a place of great strategic importance for ships making their way around the Cape of Good Hope. The island of St. Helena is best known for the place to which Napoleon was exiled in 1815 after his defeat at Waterloo. He died in 1821 and was buried here but later his body was relocated to Paris. When the Suez Canal was built and offered an alternative route to the Indian Ocean, St. Helena was left behind. The island will change dramatically in the near future when in 2016 the airport opens. No longer will it be isolated in the Atlantic.

Excursion around St. Helena
Our shore excursion had been reserved by Pat who was unable to join it. Our group consisted of Joe, Jill, Mary, Bill, and myself. The cost was $49 US pp including tip. We visited Longwood, the final residence of the Emperor Napoleon during his 6 year exile on the island from 1815 – 1821. We also visited his original gravesite. The drive around the island was full of magnificent views. We stopped at the Plantation House, the home of the Governor of the island. It was built in 1792 as the residence of the governor of the East India Company. The grounds are home to five giant tortoises. Jonathan, the oldest, is reputed to be 178 years old. We stopped at the top of Jacob’s Ladder, a steep descent of 699 steps to the town. Joe climbed down the ladder. The remainder of us rode down to town.

Shipboard Life
The Culinary Department prepared an African BBQ which included zebra, ostrich, warthog, and crocodile. I had a baked potato and salad. Rooibos, a beer infused with the taste of red bush tea, was brewed onboard the MS Amsterdam enroute from Capetown. I loved the label. The beer itself was pretty awful!!

Stargazing to look at the Southern Cross, Mars at its brightest, and other wonders of the Southern Sky was cancelled because of cloud cover. Disappointing!

Jan Tarkin held an exhibition of her watercolors of the Grand Voyage. Jan is an accomplished artist who captured the feel of the various ports.

The show in the Queen’s Lounge featured the Divas of Motown, three young women from Atlanta who are personable and entertaining. Their performance included songs from the Motown era, Whitney Houston, the Jackson Five, and finished up with Proud Mary.

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