Saturday, December 17, 2011


I almost forgot Martinique, one the most beautiful islands of the Caribbean. We stopped there after Barbados. We took a bus tour through the interior - lush, mountainous, steep lopes -and I was glad I had not booked the hiking tour because it would have been very strenuous. It is probably easy to hike on your own because I saw trails and maps the way they mark trails in Germany and France.

Martinique is a French Department and therefore part of the EU.

Our guide was cute and had excellent English pronounciation.
Our goal was a Rum distillery. It had an excellent gift shop with wonderful rum-sugar candy and premium rum.
The distillery is on an ancient lavafield right below Mount Pele, a dormant volcano.

Our next stop was the town of St. Pierre which had been completely destroyed by the eruption of Mount Pele. Somehow, I thought they would have preserved important buildings in an archeological park, but today, St.Pierre is a small, traffic chocked town, rebuilt, a few ruins left. It is still very interesting and beautifully located. 
Saint Pierre and Mount Pele from afar.

The above picture was taken when we sailed along the coast to our next destination, but before we get there, I have to show you the biggest surprise in the harbor of Fort de France, capital of Martinique.
The real Fort der France

Sunday, December 11, 2011

La Romana, Dominican Republic

Our last stop was La Romana in the Dominican Republic.
The caves were beautiful no photos allowed. San Pedro turned out to be an exercise in contrast. Shacks next to renovated homes,  decorative bars in front of windows and balconies.


We went to the Atlantic side of Barbados, very beautiful.

Iles du Salut

Inselns des Heils oder des Teufels?
Das Wetter war uns hold. Wir konnten die Teufelsinseln besuchen, wo die Franzosen ihr beruehmt-beruechtigtes Gefangenlager hatten. Auf der groessten Insel waren Verwaltung, Kirche und Krankenhaus untergebracht. Einige Gebaeude sind restauriert und eines davon ist heute ein Hotel, das an unserem Wochenende gut besucht war.  Die Gaeste kommen mit eienr Faehre von Kourou auf dem Festland. In Kourou befindet sich die Abschussrampe der Ariadne Rakete, mit dem blossen Auge erkennbar.

Saturday, December 10, 2011


We spent two days in Manaus. Then Regatta turned downriver.

Our last stop on the Amazon was in Parintins. The town has a huge festival in June when the 'blue' and the 'red' compete in a spectacular dance show which illustrates the legend of the farmer's daughter and the ox.

The villagers
Snake dancers
Farmer's daughter
The ox - Bom boi
Seductive river ghost
Most beautiful woman in village
When cruise ships come to town, they put on a abridged version of the big show in an airconditioned hall near the pier. It was one hour of non-stop energetic dance, spectacular costumes and great entertainment.

Meeting of the Waters

The yellow-brownish Amazon and the dark Rio Negro have different levels of acidity, different speed and temperature. They also support different species of fish. They meet a few kilometers south of Manaus and form a straight line until they finish mixing completely 6 kilometers further down. The brown water of the Amazon wins!
As part of the Meeting of the Waters tour, we took a side trip to one of the swimming villages. The houses upon the hill are built on stilts high enough for the rising river water in the rainy season. The houses on the water are placed on balsam trunks which will float up.

We were in one of the small canoes, passing this houseboat.
In the rainy season, the water lily leaves will grow much bigger. They are hemmed in by tree trunks to prevent them from floating away.


We took a tour to see the highlightsof Manaus.
Since its heyday was over 100 years ago during the rubber boom, Manaus has sunk into poverty and is only now rising again. The city builds apartments for slum dwellers and has transformed one former favela (slum) into a park.
This manion was built by a German rubber baron and is now a government building.
The famous opera house
A favela
The city seen from the river. The Azamara Journey is a sister ship of the Regatta.
All city streets were choked with traffic.
These young guys are on their way from the city market to the river where boats are loaded.
If you look closely at the left, you can see the underpass the young guys are using to get to the river.
The banks of the Rio Negro are filled with boats of all sizes. Manaus is on the Rio Negro, not on the Amazon. The water of the Rio Negro is so acidic that it does not support mosquito larva, hence no mosquitos in Manaus.
In the rainy season, the river rises up to the black line.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


Manaus reimt sich auf Chaos.
Suedamerikareisende sind es wohl gewoehnt, aber fuer mich ist es die erste Stadt Suedamerikas und ich bin fasziniert vom Treiben im Markt. Da die Haupthalle renoviert wird, hat sich ein Grossteil der Staende auf die umliegenden Strassen bis hin zum Busbahhof verlegt.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Boca da Valeria

Diese winzige Amazonasdorf ist ein Halt, den man nur entweder herzlich begruessen oder total ablehnen kann. Wir sind eindeutig das Sonntagsvergnuegen der gesamten Umgebung, die per Boot angerueckt ist. Kreuzschiffpassagiere sind Geldquellen, die es auszunutzen gilt.

Eine Kinderriege begruesst uns - ohne Lieder, aber dafuer aufdringlich.

Die Zwerge ergreifen die Haende der Passagiere und fuehren sie zielgerecht zur Dorfmitte.
Dort wartet die Bar, in der die kleinen Fuehrer eine Limonade und Chips erwarten- bezahlt von den Gefuehrten.
Wir sind eher geschockt als amuesiert und reagieren, indem wir dem Dorf entfliehen, noch ein paar Aufnahmen, allerdings nicht von den als Indianer kostuemierten Kindern, die vor den Huetten stehen und pro Foto $ 1 erwarten. Eine Fahrt im Kanu wuerde $ 5 kosten. Das Geld waere uns egal, uns stoert die Aufmache.