Climbing the first set of the famous 99 steps leading up to Blackbeard’s Castle in the center of Charlotte Amalie, the capital of St. Thomas, I first happened upon the World Amber Museum I told you about in my previous blog. All I can say is: keep climbing, because more surprises and glorious sites await. On the next level of the entire twisting and turning structure beckons the Hotel 1829, a small hotel in the Spanish style with a fascinating history.

StThomas1829-IPQIt was Alexandre Lavalette. kindly called a sea captain, but in reality a pirate, who fell madly in love with a French lady from Paris. Her family were none too pleased when they learned how he made his living, but, given how wealthy he was, would allow their daughter a visit to St. Thomas if Mr. Lavalette could provide adequate accommodation. Whereupon he hired an Italian architect and had him build a fabulous mansion which took 10 years to complete and was finally finished in 1829. He invited his lady- love over, but what he did is a perfect example of bad timing: she came in September when it was hot, humid, mosquito infested and, to top it all, a hurricane raged. One look and she rushed back to Paris, never to return and the mansion became ultimately one of the best hotels and restaurants in the Caribbean. Only 14 bedrooms but all amenities and one can hardly sleep in more romantic surroundings.

Part of the mansion houses also the quarters of the once upon a time Danish governor of the island, perfectly furnished with Danish furniture, including a laid table and lace table cloth, chandeliers and many pictures which give a perfect impression of life in times past.

inka125Inka is German and used to be an international attorney with offices in London and Spain. Retired two years ago because I wanted to be a traveler and writer and now live between Didim/Turkey and Miami with plenty of travel in between. Next destinations: Istanbul, New York and Petra/Jordan. Inka’s first novel has just been published and can be found here