Recently, we took a few days out of our normal schedule, for a road trip! Our family, along with the Kaeb family, enjoyed 4 days of driving, sight seeing, and relaxation! (OK, some of the drive was not enjoyable or relaxing, but was necessary to get to where we wanted to go. And, of course, we were in good company!) We all piled in the Land Cruiser, 5:30 am Friday morning, to start our journey.
(Yes, we folded up the regular side-facing seats, and sat in camp chairs so we could all face-forward, and try to avoid car sickness! The camp chairs actually made for a very comfortable ride, and took the massive pot holes and bumps quite well!).
2 stops, and 12.5 hours later, we arrived in Cap Haitien. We were so thankful for safety on the roads, and so delighted to get out of the car. We stayed at a small hotel that overlooked the city of Cap Haitien and the bay. The view was gorgeous!
After supper, a dip in the pool, a good nights sleep, and a yummy breakfast, we loaded up and headed to the Citadel and San-Souci Palace. (Seeing these 2 historical places was the main purpose of our trip. This is something we have wanted to see since living in Haiti.).
We were not disappointed! The palace, Citadel, and the view, were amazing!
We started our tour at the Palace, built in 1810. It was the residence of Henri Christophe. Since being built, it has been partially destroyed by several different earthquakes. The detailed infrastructure and architecture were still amazing!
From the palace, we mounted our 4-legged friends, to ride 3.1 miles uphill to the Citadel. This journey took us 1.5 hours. Here is where I want to mention that horseback riding in Haiti, is not like horseback in the US!!!! (Enough said, I won’t go into further details, except to say I appreciate a nice American saddle, stirrups, and healthy horse.) We are very thankful that we didn’t have to walk 3000ft uphill to the Citadel, but we would have appreciated knowing that we could have driven our vehicle the majority of the way up! Haitians have to make money too, right!??
1.5 hours after we started out, we arrived at the Citadel. For us, it was well-worth the trouble getting up to it, although I’m not sure about the horses…… The Citadel was a large mountain-top fortress built during the Haitian slave rebellion in 1805. It was built at 3000ft above sea level to deter attacks and provide a look-out.
The view from the top was breathtaking!
The fort had cannons of various sizes, obtained from different nations. A few of them still had the crest from the corresponding nation. There were huge stockpiles of cannonballs still sitting at the base of the Fort.
After touring the Citadel, we mounted our horses for the journey back down the mountain. Thankfully, Scott went ahead of us on the back of a Moto taxi, instead of his horse, to get our vehicle, so we could get back down in a more time-effective manor! When we met back up with Scott, he was not feeling the best, and looked a greenish color, from his nerve wracking, death defying ride. (I will spare you a picture of this.)
Our next, and most relaxing stop of the vacation, was 6 hours south of the Citadel. We stayed Saturday night at a nice beach resort called Moulin Sur Mer. The resort and grounds were beautiful, and the weather was perfect! We felt like we were not even in Haiti! Our rooms were clean, air conditioned, and nicely furnished! The food was even American! The resort had a great pool, and the beach/snorkeling was amazing! We thoroughly enjoyed every minute spent at the resort.
They even had mini-golf, a first for us in Haiti!!
Sunday afternoon, we drove to Petionville, and stayed overnight at the Best Western, very nice by any American standard! Monday, we toured the Haiti Baptist Mission, visited a couple of American-style grocery stores, and enjoyed the view overlooking Port-au-Prince, before heading back to Les Cayes.
We were thankful to make it home safe and sound Monday evening. We were welcomed home with supper from the Walder family! On our 4 day road trip, we clocked 578 miles. Now, that probably doesn’t seem like a lot of miles to the average American, but to those that have visited Haiti, and have been on these roads, that is quite a feat for 4 days!!! We are thankful for the time away, and we appreciate getting to see a different part of this beautiful island.