The Good Life

Richmond Travel Blog

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I had decided to stay at Richmond Vale Academy, which also doubles up as a hiking centre for the Soufriere mountain nearby.  Originally I chose it as it was only inexpensive place to stay on the main St Vincent island (see below).  But it turns out to be a fabulous place which you can only find interesting.  Its a non-profit organisation that is an academy for development studies.  They run programmes for students to study international development - but in the real world.  So on site they live almost self-sufficiently (it reminded me of the Good Life on BBC), growing their own fruit and veg, keeping livestock and maintaining the whole site themselves.  So the students in their spare time paint rooms, clear ground for new crops and generally contribute to 'their' centre.

Jesper polonating these awesome flowers that only open for one night and then die!
  Its run by Jesper, a really generous Danish guy, who was so helpful and accomodating, as was everyone I met there, so many real characters from all over the world.  To help makes ends meet they run a banana plantation on site which is part of the Fairtrade crop that goes to the UK and they let some rooms out to tourists/travellers - Jesper said they've only just started doing this, so its early days!

As the students studied, I went to see Dark View Falls nearly - a hot and sweaty 40 minute walk, on the way to which I passed a number of locals who all waved and said hello (well they actually said things like 'arright mon' as they do in this part of the world!!), a herd of goats, lizards scuttling across the road and a dead dog.  Plus more fruit trees than you could shake a cat at.

Dark View Falls
  The actual falls themselves were slightly disappointing for me as there were workmen there helping to put facilities in, which meant I couldn't really do much or go for a dip.

After lunch (a Brazilian/Belgian cooking rota combo), I went fruit picking with Andrea and Mariana from the 'Africa' team (they'll be going to do development projects in Mozambique next year) - my god, there's so much fruit round here that you can't help but find it - most of it stuff I'd never seen before like wax-apples and the ubiquitous maracoudja (passion fruit).  All tasty as you like, straight off the tree!  We took some back for the others just before the rain set in...a proper storm!  And at dinner, Jesper turned up with my bag - he been in Kingston all day and tried his luck at the airport and hey-presto, my bag had turned up....nice of LIAT to phone and let me know, hey?!

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Jesper polonating these awesome fl…
Jesper polonating these awesome f…
Dark View Falls
Dark View Falls
The bamboo bridge to cross the riv…
The bamboo bridge to cross the ri…
The black-sand Richmond beach
The black-sand Richmond beach
Andrea and Marianne fruit picking
Andrea and Marianne fruit picking
Richmond Hostels review
Brilliant community feel
The Richmond Vale Hiking Centre is a great place to stay on St Vincent island. Their main purpose is a learning academy for students to study interna… read entire review
photo by: Sads79