PAGEVIEWS

Sunday, 23 December 2012

RETURN & RETREAT TO BALANDRA *

* Re-posted as promised in the very first TRAIL SPOTS post, 'Birth of a Little Travel Blog'.



 Tucked away on the northwestern coast of Trinidad, Balandra makes for the ideal day or week-end getaway. Of course a map always comes in handy, but once you follow the Toco Main Road, you can't miss the village. That main road will take you all the way to Galera Point and the Toco Lighthouse, from where you might see Crown Point, Tobago (on a clear day)!

Memories of collecting 'chip-chip' with cousins on Balandra beach during the long August vacation, come rolling back. Chip-chip soup, anyone? Happy days!

With the Atlantic Ocean on the western coast, the Caribbean Sea on the northern coast and a trail of villages along the way, just follow the Toco Main Road and you're in for a rustic treat!


ROAD TO  BALANDRA 
 
Get there any way you can!  












Curry chicken, curry goat,curry duck, curry channa, anchar, 'bus-up-shut' & pumpkin
  
ENJOY THE WEEK-END OR WEEK'S RETREAT!


Photos courtesy Neikeitha (Nikz) Nelson


(T-SPOT! )

Friday, 21 December 2012

INTRODUCING THE TRAIL SPOTS FEATURE ...'SPA -SPOT'



Welcome to the TRAIL SPOTS feature 'Spa-Spot'!


The name 'Spa-Spot' says it all.  It's really simple.  Spa-Spot is that nature place that I believe, displays and provides the necessary and important elements of a natural spa environment.  
For the purpose of this blog, sometimes it will include water, sometimes it will not.  It might not even be 'beautiful and pleasing'  in the usual sense of those words or it might be something you see everyday It will be captured in a single shot
Let the image speak to you; there is always a message if it is allowed or invited to enter.  No location or description is necessary, but your comments and questions are always welcome.  


Historical records tell us that spas were and are places where people seek physical renewal from the inside out. The healing properties of water is still a significant feature in any such treatment or experience, dating back to prehistoric times.  Today spas are promoted as places and spaces that offer a range of wellness services; from the physical to the spiritual.

My experience has revealed that there are numerous such places without the price tag, no matter where you are or where you land. Very often you know it when you see it ... it beckons.  It invites you to go beyond what is seen to discover or re-discover something about yourself and your place in the grand scheme of things.

The treatment is free!  All that is required is your presence; the willingness to 'see deeply'... it's really all about truly 'being there'.  And if you cannot get there physically, TRAIL SPOTS  brings the 'Spa-spot' to you. 

Let us invite uplifting renewal experiences together in our first 'Spa-spot'!






(T-SPOTS!)

~~~~~~~~~~~~

Thursday, 20 December 2012

GASPAREE CAVES ... 'Down de Islands', Trinidad

Waiting for the Second Trip

We're always interested when students get the opportunity to experience theory by getting out of walled classrooms; when learning becomes practical and meaningful.
Field-trips have the potential to merge the theory with the reality, while mixing in a lot of fun and and a little adventure.  What do you bet that this was one field-trip these students will never forget!

Gaspar Grande, also called Gasparee, is certainly off the beaten path.  A few call it home, many more view it from the mainland as an exotic, mysterious place and some make their way there or thereabouts for leisurely, educational or other ventures.   

Long before TrailSpots, the last trip to Gaspar Grande. which locals call ' down de islands' and the Gasparee Caves, happened several years ago.  After viewing T.'s pics from a more recent field-trip, the memory of that long ago visit to Gasparee Island and the limestone caves returned ... fresh and haunting as ever! 

Our group had crossed over in a open piroug back then. This hooded one looked much more comfortable and equipped with devices in compliance with safety standards.
The view, of course, is always stunning!
 

Crossing to Gaspar Grande

Centipede Island up ahead

Passing by to Centipede Island

Except for Pumpkin, a friendly four-legged resident of Gaspar Grande and Tour-guide C., who was not around on my last visit, all the cave features I remembered were present in even more dramatic form.
Some of stalactites and stalagmites were in early stage formation, while others looked mature and presented like natural works of art, which they are. 

Happy welcome from the resident dog, Pumpkin 
  
The sign-boards provide useful information about the island and the caves.  Be sure to click and read them.





Descending into the cave with Tour-guide C. ...



Light was still beaming through the huge circular/concave opening at the 'roof' of the cave. That was certainly one of the more memorable cave features I had seen; the formation of which was explained and remembered

Holes possibly formed from collapsed stalactite
 

Look up! Stalactites in formation ... and bats!
Stalactites in living color; natural art

 The cave walls still looked damp and impenetrable. I was told that what I remembered as dark water at the bottom of the cave was now quite clear.  It must be the effect of the cave lights!  Yet, the lights seemed to add to the atmosphere of mystery in which nature quietly does her best work. 

Let's just take in the images of these stunning and enduring cave views! Remember to click on the images for expanded versions.

Cave Walls
Growing stalagmites
The cave 'bedroom' ... all lit up!
Still,clear waters
  
This was a refreshing vicarious visit for me, which T. was excited to share with you.  I was told that the trip ended with a splash ... several splashes actually! 

The invitation to return to Gasparee Caves has been delivered and accepted; it's on the list!

Feel free to return and enjoy glimpses of the Gasparee Caves; a 'T-Spot' just off the north-western tip of Trinidad - 'down de islands' ... or better yet, pay a visit!
  
Thanks for the welcome Pumpkin! 

~~~~~~~~~~

Note: 
More information about this heritage site may be requested from the Chaguaramas Development Authorities (CDA) and the Chaguaramas National Heritage Park authorities.















Thursday, 6 December 2012

CRUISING INTO AND AROUND GRAND TURK,TURKS & CAICOS ISLANDS (TCI)




Grand Turk Cruise-ship Center at South Base

The Grand Turk Cruise center is a relatively new cruise center.  It was constructed and opened around 2003/2004, at the southern tip of the tiny island of Grand Turk, a British Overseas Territory .  The Cruise Center attracts both local and visitor traffic, with Margaritaville as a main attraction.


Carnival Cruise-ship in port

Section of Grand Turk Cruise Center

The Center is dotted with a variety of shops where visitors can buy all kind of souvenirs and other local artwork.   Best of all, as you step off the cruise ship (including Carnival and others) you can almost literally step or dive into the turquiose water.  Taxis and other tour operators will take you around the island, where you can enjoy other attractions, like horse-back riding along the beach, ATV tours or buggy rides around the small town. Of course, you can always laze around the beach or the bar at the port!


Visitors on the beach next to cruise port and center
  
  Governor's Beach is a popular beach within walking distance of the Cruise Center.  As a matter of fact, if you're the explorer type, you can walk from the Cruise Center to the town along the white sand beach that faces the Atlantic Ocean.  You'll meet several  'watering holes' like the 'Sand Bar' small hotels such as 'The Osprey' and local restaurants as you get closer to town.  And you're never far away from the main road which takes you right back to South Base and the Cruise-ship Center.

View from Governor's Beach
 
The Sand Bar Restaurant and Bar

 Grand Turk is the capital of the Turks and Caicos Islands, but it is quite small.   The Cruise-ship Center brings many visitors to this picturesque rustic island which is still dotted with historical sites and relics.  Your tour guide will point them out or you can track them down yourself if you prefer
The  older churches and lodge buildings, the old prison location, the Light House, North Base(former naval facilities) and the salt ponds are among such.

Here are some Trail spots shots of downtown Grand Turk.


Town Center Park (north view)
 

Town Center Park and Clock ( south view)

House of Assembly (rear view)


Town Center Park with fountain
Salt pond in the fore; Cee's Supermarket in the background

Former Prison facility (white walls) along Main St.






Police officers on the beat on Front St.

Visitor strolling along white-walled Front St., steps away from the sea

Depending on who you meet and speak with, you should not  be surprised by the languages and accents that you hear from TCIslanders, people from across the Caribbean, as well as Britain, North American, Canada, France and a host of other countries.  It's all a part of the TCI mix!

Enjoy a few more shots of some Grand Turk T-Spots ... maybe even pay a visit soon!


Salt pond with remains of a very old  pump at the center
 
Dive boat with cruise-ship in the distance

Grand Turk Tourist Board Building



Please note that there may be some changes in these scenes since these pics were taken a few years ago, making this featured post a 'throw-back' post!  But my guess is that much has remained the same in Grand Turk! Also, these pics were originally posted on the sister blog at www.spatrail.blogspot.com, hence the water mark!  
Enjoy the trail!

T-Spots!





  
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