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Charlotte Amalie: More To See Than Just Shops
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Charlotte Amalie: More to See Than Just Shops

St. Thomas was one of my stops off Grand Princess. For a few hours, here are 10 reasons to visit Charlotte Amalie, the capital, other than the shops

1. Ft. Christian. At the time I was there, this oldest standing structure in the Virgin Islands was closed due to renovation. This imposing red fort, built around the 1670s, had been used as a jail, courthouse, church, and governor’s residents. The fort was built by the Danes to defend the Danish settlements on the island and protect Charlotte Amalie. On top of the building is a 19th century clock tower.

2. Emancipation Park. There is lots of shade and places to sit to escape the heat. The park was built to commemorate the freeing of slaves in 1848, feautring a bronze bust of a freed slave, a bust of Denmark’s King Christian and a scaled down U.S. Liberty Bell. The gazebo is used for ceremonies.

3. Vendors Plaza. Located across from Emancipation Park, are stalls selling everything from T-shirts to leather. I browsed for a few moments before moving on. This is a pleasant difference from the shops on Main St. as it has a “market” atmosphere.

4. U.S. Post office. Even if you don’t need any stamps, pop inside this post office to have a look at the murals of waterfront scenes by Stephen Dohanos.

5. Frederick Lutheran Church. Inside this church is a massive mahogany alters. The pews, each with its own doors, were once rented to families of the congregation. The church was built in 1793 and is still used today.

6. Hotel 1829. The wrought-iron railings complimented the beautiful coral colour facade. Inside the decor is dark wood. I went back out at the terrace, admired the stunning view of the harbour. I could have went through to the Blackbeard Museum for a fee but decided to pass.

7. Synagogue of Beracha Veshalom Vegmiluth Hasidim. A long name-meaning congregation of Blessing, Peace and Loving Deeds but beautiful inside. I walked in and was surprised to see sand on the floor. The sand symbolizes exodus from Egypt I read later. The synagogue opened its doors in 1833 and has held weekly services making it the oldest synagogue in continuous use under the American flag and the second oldest (after Curacao) in the Western Hemisphere.

8. Picasso Building. It wasn’t easy to find among the shops on Main St. I walked up the stairs and was greeted by what I thought was the proprietor. I admired a painting of two sailboats and enquired the price. $2500.00. Gulp! Yes, now I know what the term “starving artists’ really means. I loved the work but the price was too steep for me.

9. Enid M. Baa Public Library. Since I work in a public library, I had to go in and see. You can’t miss the yellow building on Main Street. Walk through the arch door and the entrance to the library is on the back. The interior has high ceilings and cool stone floors make it for a perfect getaway from the heat. I browsed the collection. I used the Internet for half an hour at the cost of a dollar. The ship’s Internet is just way too expensive.

10. Blackbeard Ale . After a few hours of pounding the pavement, I sat down put my feet up and sipped on a nice cold Heineken. I had a front row seat to watch the action at the waterfront and watched people pass by. A couple of men from my ship were sitting at my table and we chatted for a while. What a way to end a few hours in Charlotte Amalie.


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