Sightseeing .... Fort George hillside view
Photo: Fort George by Kielon Hilaire.

Fort George a place for sightseeing

By Kielon Hilaire. Trinidad is known for its vibrancy and often carefree nature of its citizens. It is one of the few places in the world where you can just pick yourself up, head to some random place, and experience an unexpected level of fun. – visit Fort George

This is what happened to a young Trinidadian couple. They were sitting at home one Saturday afternoon contemplating what to do to add some excitement to the weekend. Rather than do what a lot of Trini couples would do that time of day, which is either go to mall, try a new eating place, or take a drive to the beach, they decided to try something different. 

One of them Googled something along the lines of “interesting sightseeing places to visit in Trinidad” and the name Fort George came up at the top of the list. Not long after clicking the link they hopped into their car and left east Trinidad and travelled west.

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Fort George overlooks Gulf of Paria

Fort George, formerly known as La Vigie, is located on some hills north of St James. It overlooks the Gulf of Paria and is part of a complex of fortifications. One can witness one of the most kaleidoscopic views of Port of Spain and the Caribbean Sea.

Not to be confused with Fort King George

Fort George is not to be confused with Fort King George. The latter is situated on Trinidad’s sister island, Tobago, where many more historic forts reside. Due to the popularity of Fort George, the area has remained well preserved since it was built in 1804, the major defensive position under the direction of a then British Governor.

The fort never had any reason to be used offensively by the military and it ceased to be a base for battle in 1846. This is practically all the couple knew about the Fort before they arrived and stepped foot onto the compound.

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Taking a tour

Entry was free and there weren’t too many people when the couple visited. They said that the atmosphere was really peaceful and the air was cool and fresh. Not long into their stroll they began searching for a tour guide. Then, they decided to scope out much of the place themselves. While roaming about, they eventually met up with a man who worked at the fort.

As many Trinis would say, “Talk bring talk and one thing led to the next.” The workman eventually mentioned it was a slow day for him and that he didn’t mind giving them a tour of a special building on the complex. So, they had found their “tour guide” for a bit, then the real excitement came.

Make the trip with a fun person

The thing about visiting a fort is that the whole experience can turn out to be rather boring if you go with the assumption that there is nothing to see or do there. If you go with an open mind or make the trip with someone who is not easily bored then the possibilities for excitement become endless. Just imagine…

“What’s that?”

“It’s a stack of cannon balls.”

“Ooooooo. Can I have one?”

Tour guide man laughs.

The trio journeys further.

“And what is that?”

“Oh, that’s a fence made out of guns.”

“I see. Do they work?”

“Well…”

“Wait. What’s that bull looking horn thing on that stone wall? Looks cool. Omg! This feels so historic. Like I’m in the medieval times.”

Tour guide man laughs again. Then not long later … “And before you ask, those boots you see there belonged to a solider from back in the day.”

“Oooooooooooo. I see. I want one!”

Everyone laughs.

Hacienda Jacana

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Hacienda Jacana is a peaceful country haven. Slip into the serene setting of a private country paradise, discretely set in 22 acres on the edge of the tropical rain forest at the centre of Trinidad. Relax or BBQ poolside, walk the grounds, bird watch, read a book in a hammock under the trees, fish or canoe in the lake. There are 4 cottages, each with 2 bedrooms and 1 bathroom. You can rent just 1 cottage with either 1 or 2 bedrooms; or all 4 cottages.

Fauna, flora and panoramic views

While the above dialogue did not actually take place in that overly comical nature it was not that far off from the truth because the couple truly did remain open-minded and inquisitive while the workman showed them around.

After the mini tour, they eventually settled down near a cluster of cannons at the top of a hill. And of course, the woman just couldn’t resist holding on to one of the cannons, sitting on it, and allowing her boyfriend to take a picture of her. There were also benches nearby so they sat to enjoy the cool breeze while munching on some snacks. After having enough of that, they calmly stood at different corners of the land and marvelled at the spectacular fauna and flora and the panoramic views of the hillsides among them.

All in all, their visit to Fort George turned out to be far more than the couple expected. It may not be as lively as some people may prefer but for the nature lovers and those who get a kick out of being spontaneous or even a little wacky a visit will be well worth it, especially when you go without feeling that it’s your duty to “hold down the fort”.

June 2016 – Issue 22     www.sweettntmagazine.com

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