Instead of entrusting me with Jens' driving skills, I prefer to test public bus transport. The buses go between all major cities on the island for prices between 1.50$ (XCD) and 8$. They are minibuses, and there are so many of them. Line 1A from Castries to Gros Islet passes the marina and the vehicles come every two minutes, sometimes more often. It is probably the busiest bus route on the island.
In Castries I change to line 2H to Vieux Fort. During our short visit with the rental car, I had the impression that I really wanted to take another look at this place.
I arrive at a central bus stop. First of all, I'm happy that I found the central bus station right away. There are over 100 minibuses in a huge parking lot, a queue of minibuses stands on the roadside and rolls forward meter by meter. Then I see that it is only the stop of line 1A
Line 1B has its stop on the opposite side of the street. A few intersections I find buses on lines 3H and 4C. I just don't find the stop of the 2H. I ask a passerby. He explains to me that I have to walk halfway through the city to find the 2H stop.
I set off on the path that leads past the cruise terminal. On the way I see one bus stop after the other. There is always a more or less large number of minibuses ready for departure and waiting for passengers. At some point I realize that the entire city of Castries is a huge bus station with thousands of minibuses that swarm to the island from here over several dozen routes.
The line 2H will start soon. The buses drive much faster than Jens. And the bus drivers know all the potholes with their first names. So the ride is more like a smooth glide with a constant change of direction when the potholes are avoided. The bus driver also takes the travel time very carefully, he has worked for an airline and is now doing everything he can to transport his passengers at top speed and with maximum comfort.
Reggae music is of course played on the radio.
At second glance, Vieux Fort is no longer fun for me. I find practically no contact with the locals. In principle, there are only two types of locals. The very, very poor people who scare every tourist for a few dollars. And those who are doing quite well and have a job. I am ignored by them. It is very, very difficult to get into conversation. Can it be because of the many cruise tourists? When I got into a conversation and my boat is located as a sailing boat, the conversation partner is suddenly much more open-minded.
However, the preacher is remarkable. We have already seen that in Barbados and now I see it here. A woman who uses a powerful loudspeaker system to tell everyone about God. Corn cobs are grilled.
I take the next bus towards Souvriere. The route goes along a beautiful coastal road, I already know that from my rental car tour. This bus driver also gives everything. Buses overtake other vehicles. Buses will not be overhauled.
In Souvriere I notice the church that is so different from the other churches on the island. Most have the appearance of a garage, on which a tower with a bell and cross has been placed. This one looks more massive.
It is also one of the few churches that are open outside of the service. I do not miss this opportunity, it is the first church that I photograph on this continent.
The walk takes me further through the town and I am amazed when I see the badge of the German Honorary Consul. In the middle of Souvriere. And not findable via Google, at least not quickly. You can already find the nail salon.
The bus ride continues through greenery on the island. St. Lucia is much more forested than Barbados. This is of course also due to the fact that a large part of the soil cannot be used for agriculture at all.
The bus driver gives everything again. The journey is fast. Suddenly he puts on the seat belt. Then a police car comes along the roadside, which looks like a control. Then he takes off the belt.
Shortly before the capital it goes over the banana plantation. I couldn't take a picture of the plantation myself because of the fast pace, but I got a stall. It is afternoon, the crusaders are all gone and most of the stands are orphaned.
On the last few meters before Castries we pass a school that is just finished school. The children are all waiting for buses. Our bus is full, so it doesn't have to stop. The children are used to waiting.
In a traffic jam on the last few meters, the bus driver asks me if I will get back to my ship in time. I say yes and explain to him that I have to go a few meters to the ship. The sailboat makes me interesting again, suddenly he wants to know my country of origin and what it's like to sail across the Atlantic. The people here are completely normal, just curious. Just not interested in the crusaders. Except for a quick dollar.