Our Trinidad touring was coming to an end … already … and we hadn't even spent any time in the capital city of Port of Spain. Lin had Marriott points and we camped out for a couple of nights at the Courtyard close to the city center. What a lovely change from the musty room at Salybia. Let's face it … we can and do adjust to third world accommodations, but first world hotels are really wonderful … especially when they're free. Sounds snobbish … and it is. We had a map of Port of Spain, our trusty Maps with Me app and a new free app I'd found, GPSmyCity, which had several interesting walks in Port of Spain. We were all ready to go.
We took the local transport, a Maxi-Taxi (shared van ride), and got out at the Red House, Trinidad's historic Parliament building, which unfortunately was under renovation and pretty much covered up. Judging from newspaper articles, the building has been deteriorating for decades and only in March was serious renovation begun. It was painted red in 1897 to commemorate Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee and became popularly known thereafter as “the Red House”.
The Old Police Headquarters is pretty much across the street from the Red House. Built in 1876, its limestone Gothic style architecture with traditional arches and tower are quite handsome. It still houses several police department offices, as well as the T&T Police Museum. We passed on the museum.
The old Fire Station was picturesque and a good example of how building preservation and restoration can work and how old and new can blend. Built in 1896/1897, it was restored in 2000 and is now part of the National Library complex.
The Cathedral of the Holy Trinity is the oldest Anglican church in Trinidad. Built in 1818 for the British troops that lived on the island, it's a combination Gothic/Georgian architecture and very impressive as cathedrals usually are. We stepped inside to admire it and get out of the heat.
The cool interior was lovely and peaceful with lots of stained glass windows to let in filtered light. It has a particularly ornate ceiling of carved mahogany supported by graceful hammered beams.
The streets of Port of Spain are bustling and crowded. Buildings, shops and street scenes caught our interest.
We wandered in search of souvenirs in the shopping district, but were always on the lookout for interesting things to see. Fabric shops are plentiful in Port of Spain and we browsed at the rich, colorful, glittery, sequined materials perfect for carnival costumes and saris. Lots of “bling appeal”, but no souvenirs.
For lunch, we stopped in a roti shop. Lin had never eaten roti and was intent on trying it before leaving Trinidad. She chose veggie and we chose chicken roti … chicken curry with veggies (potato and pigeon peas) wrapped in chapati (flatbread). It's messy and watch out for the chicken bones!
Back out into the heat of day, our feet were getting tired and our bodies longed for A/C and cold beer. We'd hoped to get to the Botanical Gardens and the zoo, but after finding very few acceptable Trini souvenirs, we gave up and headed back to the Courtyard for some pool time, a cold drink. We needed time to rest and get ready for a special evening.
Lin had read about Buzo Osteria Italiana in Trip Advisor. This gourmet restaurant, situated in an old, stone salt house in downtown Port of Spain, has been consistently rated as the #1 place to eat in the city and we were longing to splurge and try it. In Italian, “osteria” usually translates to a place serving basic meals and wine with a limited menu. Buzo was anything but basic and limited. We ordered appetizers to share and three different fish entrees as our mains … halibut for Lin, grouper for me and a zuppa di pesce (a top shelf seafood stew) for David. We sampled each others, ate our own, drank some wonderful Montepulciano, lingered over cappuccino and had a spectacular, most memorable evening.
Our touring vacation of Trinidad ended on an up-note, but all too quickly, it seemed. It was time for Lin to head back to the States and time for us to tend to Nine of Cups and get her back into the water. It's time to move on. Where to next? Let's see where the wind blows.