Tag Archives: Castries

Helen of the Caribbean


Marigot BayA few years ago I tested the idea of tropical Thanksgiving – and loved it. After a wonderful week in Puerto Rico the idea of escaping the cold during the holidays and doing something different has stuck with me. That is how my husband and I ended up in the tropics again during Christmas.

Saint Lucia is a tiny island in the Southern Caribbean. Volcanic in origin, the island is more mountainous than most and framed by two magnificent peaks, Gros and Petit Piton, that steeply raise out of the ocean near the town of Sourfiere. They are the island’s hallmark and a truly magnetic sight – you first see them on the approach from the plane and you just can’t avert your eyes! The Pitons anchor St. Lucia like two giant sails, as if the island were a boat sailing through the Caribbean.

Over several centuries since the first European settlers arrived, the island has changed hands many times between the French and the British. Their feud and competition for St. Lucia made it known as the “Helen of the Caribbean” or “Helen of the West Indies.” The British took definitive control in 1814 and today English is the island’s official language – and traffic moves on the left. But the French have left their mark, too. The majority of the population is Catholic and speaks French Creole (Kwéyòl) known as patois. Read the rest of this entry