We did a tour with Robert and our friends from Divanty and Tin Tin in his open top bus. Robert is an extremely knowledgeable and likable character to do a tour with. We started our tour by heading for the hills, literally, to a viewpoint overlooking Jamestown and also a photo opportunity.
Our next stop was at the Heart Shaped Waterfall, which was once part of the land given to Napoleon III after his father died, but has since been transferred to the St Helena National Trust and is open the public. You can walk there from Jamestown and there is a viewing platform as well.
Heart-shaped waterfall as they had, had rain it was running too.
We continued on to the St Helena Distillery, where Paul, the owner gave us a guided tour of his distillery and let us sample some of his spirits that he brews there including wine, Tungi, a prickly pear spirit, rum and coffee liqueurs. We did try it and our friends said the coffee were good, we are not spirit drinkers so we didn’t purchase any.
The thing I’ve been most looking forward to visiting was the house Napoleon lived in during his exile, which is where we went next. Longwood House was Napoleon’s home from the 10th of December 1815 to his death on 5th May 1821. Napoleon’s history with St Helena begins with his exile there by the British government to such a place that there was no way for him to escape and that he would be forgotten. Napoleon arrived on board the Northumberland on October 17, 1815 and spent his first night in an Inn before visiting Longwood House. he had to stay in Briar’s house for a coupe of months while is accommodation was made suitable for the former emperor.
After Napoleon’s death his son organised for Longwood House and the Valley of the Tomb to be bought in 1858 from the British and later Briar’s House was too. These properties are now owned by the French government and a french government representative lives on the island and manages the property. Longwood is now a museum open to the public and includes his billiards room, drawing room, the room he died in, the dining room and his private suite. Throughout the house are paintings, busts and death masks of Napoleon as well as furnishings, personal belongings, maps and letters. There is an audio, which is very thorough, we listened to a bit of it but actually found it more interesting to talk to the local ladies that worked at the museum who told much more interesting stories about him. Great house in a beautiful location.
Longwood House where Napoleon was exiled and also died.
After lunch we drove up in the mountains and had a phenomenal view of St Helena. Robert gave us a demonstration of how the fibers of the flax plant was used.
High Knoll Fort
The fort was built in 1799 to protect against potential french invaders and to protect the battery at Ladder Hill. Since then it was briefly used during WW2 to incarcerate Boer prisoners from South Africa. The Saint Helena Trust is now in the process of restoring and protecting the fort.
High Knoll Fort with a lookout over the yachts and Jamestown
Ladder Hill Fort
In the early days Ladder Hill Fort was similar to Tower Hill of London, a place where prisoners were hung, drawn and quartered and the public could watch. Later troops were stationed at the fort and originally rope between the fort and Jamestown was the only way for the troops to ascend the hill as no road was cut. Jacob’s Ladder started as a funicular, its construction began in 1828 to provide transportation of manure from Jamestown’s animals to be used as fertilization on the hill. When expenses were cut and roads were built, the rails and cars were removed and now just the staircase of 699 steps exists and is a tourist attraction in itself.
Ladder Hill Fort with its views over the boats and Jacob’s ladder.