Cow-ardice Cows with puns

Tuesday morning in GreNAYda and I wake up covered in a film of sweat. Our host had told us where the blankets were because she reckons it does actually feel cold around here sometimes; I beg to differ.

We'd arranged, along with the other guests, to have breakfast about "9-ish" but as it turned out we were both awake at around 0530, which was actually kinda cool because oh, hello, the sun is rising and we can go sit on our balcony and admire it.

Doesn't seem like a terrible start to the day.

Across the way, the other Grenadines/Antilles are looking kinda nice. In fact it's clear enough that we can see all the way to Carriacou, an island that we couldn't see yesterday.

With the sun risen we had time for a bit more sleep, then writing up the previous day before heading down to breakfast. Other than freshly made bread we had no idea what to expect. On the table there was a massive bowl of local fruits - local as in from the guesthouse's garden - plus the aforementioned bread, butter, cheese, tomatos. Tea and coffee came, as did soursop juice which is apparently full of anti-cancer fighting properties (if you believe in such likely quackery; I'm a fan of the placebo effect).

Asked if we wanted eggs, I asked for some scrambled and what arrived was frankly the absolute best plate of scrambled eggs I've ever had in my whole goddamn life. Just majestic - not too solid, not too watery, and oh so tasty. Mmm. Just writing this up is making me salivate for the breakfast I intend to have after finishing this post.

After breakfast we asked to be shown the long-cut down to beach level, having been told there's a less steep route than the gravel tracks of peril. Unfortunately by having our request granted one of the three dogs decided to misbehave and escape, which is bad because last time it did it got attacked by another animal and almost died. Poor thing.

Through the garden we saw the orchids and other stuff which around here are just, yeah, we grow them all easily and naturally, nothing special. I'm informed back home this would not be the case. We also wave hello to the guesthouse owner's mum whose garden we also have to walk through.

Back in the room we slather on a ridiculous amount of sun cream, pack my rucksack and grab a paper map of the island, and head out. Starting off down the steep track we're back on the main road where we got our bearings the previous afternoon, and as is always the case things seem a lot nearer the second time you go. Before we know it we're past the Red Lion, next to the sports ground, and being stopped by Bernie from the guesthouse asking if we want a short lift. We decline, as we're really quite enjoying the walk. He suggests we should have walked along the beach.

A chicken crosses the road ahead of us, looking like he had a very good reason which he was keeping to himself. A few minutes later we're in Sauteurs proper. There's shops and bars and a bus station full of minivans with the number 9 taped to their windscreens. Popping our head past FULL THROTTLE bar we step onto the beach and survey the scene. Turns out there's a much better beach just a bit further along, so we wander past a few more shops then dive down an alleyway.

It's very very hot, but neither of us are suffering too badly. Nonetheless we know our plans involve a fair bit more walking yet so we pop into a grocery store to buy two bottles of water and have our first moderately unfriendly experience. So far everyone we've interacted with has been great, and that's actually a lot of people because basically every single person you walk past on the street waves and says hello even if they're on the phone. But this lass on the till failed to smile at all. I figure maybe she's like, for fucks sake, I live on an amazing Caribbean island and my job is to be stuck indoors in a dark shop.

Our first bit of proper tourism rather than just wandering around is just up the hill. In fact, it is a hill, from which there are great views back to where we've just come from.

Up here is called Leapers Hill. There's a large Catholic church and school, and a small graveyard, plus a cafe and some benches. We sit by the benches admiring the view for a bit and make our way to leave, and I say to Helen we should be going down this other alley next to a sign. She thinks it's just some alley that goes to the school's bins or something but I'm convinced it's a bit of history we've missed out on. Barely half way a woman shouts and waves to us from behind us.

This is Miss Agnes (we learn her name later). She's from the church and the shop and she's the guide for Leapers Hill. She tells us the platform at the end is actually inaccessible due to recent slippage 'n that, but she'll walk us around and tell us the story anyway.

We already know the history – you'd be unlikely to stumble upon here if you didn't – but let her give us more detail. Sauteurs is a French word meaning leapers/jumpers, y'see. Back in the 1600s or so the French and English kept having battles for supremacy over the islands, giving not one shit about the locals. And here, at the very northernmost tip of Grenada, where the Atlantic becomes the Caribbean, a group of Carib locals decided it was better to collectively leap from the hill to their doom than surrender to the French forces who'd come to subjugate them.

Here, this photo of the monument to the event will correct any mistakes I just made in my retelling of the story.

Eurgh. Not a happy story. Through the graveyard a few people are preparing for funeral taking place later that day, meanwhile we're told the stories of some of the existing plots: the young Dr Noel who died of sickle cell anaemia, but played a vital part in the identification/isolation of it; the graves made of bricks from English slave ships.

Back at the original lookout we're told the break wall for the sea was built by the church to calm the force of the Atlantic, allowing the local children to be taught how to swim without having to trek an hour or more to the only municipal baths on the island (or the calmer beaches down at the southwest). She was delighted we were staying locally rather than mere daytrippers up from St Georges, and offered us some of her homemade ice cream in exchange for a small donation.

We agreed, of course. Sat inside the little cafe/souvenir shop as she made it, a couple of kids wandered in and out, with a clear "Afternoon!" greeting to us. The ice cream was indeed fully home made, one of each flavour on offer: almond, and nutmeg. We could see the tree from which the almonds came, being right outside the cafe. They both tasted utterly delicious and happily handed over a few Eastern Caribbean Dollars for everything. That was a great experience.

Back onto Sauteurs's main street (called, I think, "Main Street") we wandered up the hill and past the Anglican Church, then around the corner past the various kiosks then the Jehovah's Witness place. Every few seconds a number 9 bus would drive past and try to hail us with a honk, but we were eschewing public transport and in fact disappearing off the route and towards Levera.

The plan was: walk this nice hiking route past the "Levera museum of art" into the national park, reach Levera beach, walk down to Bathways Beach, ask someone to drive us to Sallee from which we could catch a bus back to Sauteurs.

The hiking route isn't countryside, but a mixed paved/gravel track winding up and down slopes with an ever-lessening frequency of housing and kiosks, but still a friendly wave and greeting from everyone we see except for at the place we later christen "The Corner of Unfriendliness". Every few yards, like a weird Tour de France route, there's VOTE NNP plastered on the ground.

It's fairly hard work though we're not chugging our water too much, and it's nice and quiet and good exercise. We have regular views of the islands to our left and ahead of us, because at the corner of the island which is our destination there's a small archipelago.

I'm fucking delighted to see so many chickens crossing the road. Seriously, it's really bloody funny to me.

The "Museum of Art" is the idiosyncratic artwork of a man named Dolliver. On the street are numerous mannequins in various poses, two playing keyboards, one with a TV for a face. There are paintings and other sculptures and it's a little bonkers. We neither stopped nor took any photos, but there's plenty written about it online.

Some of the properties are derelict; we assume they are victims of the most recent hurricane which devastated large parts of the island. Miss Agnes had told us her church was the only church in Grenada which was unaffected.

At one point some dogs bark very suddenly which gives me a proper start. There are goats outside several of the properties we pass, and in the front garden of one is a massive cow. To our surprise, after 2 hours or so of walking there's still the odd bar/kiosk and even more confusingly a B&B. Eventually, as had been described to us, the road starts a very steep downhill stretch.

Busted up old cars also litter the sides of the road, as they have throughout the island.

Ahead of us is Sugar Loaf Island, which is privately owned and available on Airbnb I shit you not. We can see Levera beach, one of the several around here where leatherback turtles come at this time of year to lay their eggs. At the other end of this beach is Bathways Beach, a more popular haunt and where we will find several bars and kiosks and stuff. It's been a long and arduous walk so far and the end is in sight.

Except, oh bugger. The road became a very rocky track leading into a field to traverse, in which there's a big cow lying across our path and another one grazing in the trees. Walking calmly forwards, both of them stand up and look at us somewhat menacingly.

Crap. Let's get this straight. We've walked just about 4 miles in middle of the day Caribbean sunshine up and down some pretty big hills, with a paradise-esque beach in our midst, and can't carry on because of a couple of moody cows. Seriously?

Seriously. We back up a bit and sit in the shade, laughing at ourselves while waiting for the damn cow to shift out of the way. He doesn't, just wandering around a bit and facing us a lot. The other one, a larger, angrier ginger thing in the trees hasn't taken his eyes off us at all. The intrepid Canadians we spoke to at dinner the previous night had told us of perilous encounters with cows around here and we're seriously not in the mood for one of our own, so with a hilarious yet heavy heart we set off back the way we came. GOD DAMN YOU COWS with your bovine free-ee-dom.

Well, bollocks then. We don't have a great deal of water left and what there is is grim, because it's boiling hot. The steep rocky downhill we recently stumbled down is now a steep arduous rocky uphill and something happens to one of my trainers making it creak like a horror movie door for the rest of our walk. Some spots of rain kick in and we wonder if we'll now be hit with a downpour, which wouldn't be entirely unwelcome, but it never comes.

Thankfully the "second time" rule kicks in again and it doesn't seem as long a walk on the way back, though it's still hard hilly work and Helen in particular is suffering badly, in need of liquid and sugar. All the goats seem inquisitive and angry that we're walking past them again, and the yappy dogs from earlier this time decide to come out on the street and run circles around us barking constantly. They're not nasty vicious things but they don't like us and we don't like them, bah.

We get back to the junction with the road with the buses on and there's a shop where a friendly woman sells us two bottles of cold-ish Coca Cola and it tastes AMAZING.

Buses try and hail us to no avail, as we walk through crowded streets - schools have kicked out, there are kids everywhere, saying "afternoon" to us 'n that - and in Sauteurs go into a bona fide supermarket. We take four beers to the checkout and she rings them up with a lot of mysterious typing on her till, then saying "did you want a six pack instead?". Turns out it's $18 for the 4 or $19.85 for 6. OK, y'know what, we'll take six beers please.

Turns out six beers are quite heavy in my bag when I'm already knackered and we're still well over a mile from the hotel and the sun is still blazing hot and my thighs are a bit unhappy with me. So, of course, we opt to walk back along the beach because walking on deep soft sand is a great idea.

Champions wear black t-shirts in sunny weather. Fear the wide brimmed hat though.

Soon, there's a river so lazy it couldn't be arsed to reach the sea.

The sand gets more solid, though then there's tons of seaweed so we go inland, with the help of another friendly local who shoos off a yappy scrote of a dog. Opting to take the "less steep" route back, we learn that it's quite a lot longer of a walk and really doesn't actually feel less steep. Better paved yes, but still a bit tough on the legs and lungs.

I'm doing great though, striding up the hill like a boss while Helen lags behind. Back at the guesthouse it's time for a shower and debrief. I proclaim that all the exercise has, apart from the sweatiness, made me feel fucking magnificent. The single word response I get to this is "wanker".

Bird on a wire

6 beers go in the fridge and 1 comes out, plus a lot of cold water. There's 3 or so hours to kill which we do by trying not to sweat, followed by sitting out on the balcony watching the birds fly and the islands across the way. A proper "this is the life" moment.

At 7pm we're down for dinner with our Canuck cohorts again, having been instructed to steer kinda clear of the important other diners who'd started at 6.30pm. They're doing some important business deal or something.

I think the chicken satay with papaya salad is nice. Helen absolutely loves it.

The pumpkin risotto with mahi mahi fish is hands down one of the nicest things I've ever eaten. It's just staggeringly good, and I'm delighted Helen wants to hand me some leftovers. Nom nom bloody nom.

Dinner is interrupted a little when we're asked if we want to go look at a large butterfly that's on the wall inside the living room. Holy shit that's a big butterfly! Sadly nothing against it to give you an idea of scale, but this thing was more like a bat than a butterfly. One of the dogs had fun chasing it later.

And with that, our second night here comes to an end. A couple of beers for the room and, hang on, I'll just pop outside because the full moon is looking pretty cool tonight.

Created By
Darren Foreman

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