Monday, April 13, 2015

Falling for Falmouth on MSC Cruises

After a relaxing day at sea on our MSC Cruise, it was time for our first stop in the Caribbean.

It had been about a dozen years since I was in Jamaica. I had previously visited Montego Bay and Ocho Rios, but I had never been to Falmouth. I was excited to discover this city with Falmouth Food Tour Guides.

We were already docked in Jamaica by the time I was up for breakfast outside at 8:00. I was happy the wind wasn’t as bad as the previous day so I could enjoy my yogurt, pancakes, and cappuccino outside at One Pool, which was reserved for the MSC Cruises Yacht Club guests.

Mom had decided to stay on the boat and I bid her farewell and headed off the boat.

The Port of Falmouth was beautiful and new, with lots of souvenir and jewelry shops. I browsed for a bit and then met up with the Falmouth Food Tour Guides at the information booth.

We had about a dozen people in our group with two guides, so it was easy to stay together and be able to have all our questions answered.

It was a walking tour that was as much about history as it was food. It was also not about seeing just the bright shiny port, it was about Jamaican life.

As we walked to the other side of the port, the guides told us about how Columbus had brought the slaves to Jamaica to work the sugar cane that could be brought back to Europe, along with the rum made from it.

We then made our first stop, at a market on the pier for some sweet and delicious papaya, pineapple, watermelon, and sugar cane. It was getting hotter by the moment and this was certainly refreshing.

The Falmouth Food Tour Guides led us out of the port area and to the residential area of Falmouth. The streets were busy, but we felt very safe.

Our first stop in the town was at the Wan Mei Market where we talked about all the vegetables that are popular here, including breadfruit and many types of potatoes.

From there’re we went to Officers Lane to taste some roasted breadfruit, which was tender and tasty, along with yams and salted mackerel fish. I can’t eat fish, but everyone in the group enjoyed it, saying it was salty and spicy.

It was just a few stalls over to the coconut water and slices of coconut, which we were told would be great to keep up our hydration in the heat.

We continued through the town, learning more about the history at the Courthouse and at Water Square before stopping at Spicy Nice Bakery for the best Jamaican Meat Patty I’ve ever had.

They took us to a church where William Knibb, whose tomb is dedicated at this spot, gave a speech to 600 slaves the night before they were freed and allowed them to bury their shackles here.

It was a few blocks walk to Peppers Jerk Centre, where plates were given to us with Jerk Chicken, corn fritters, and vegetables. The chicken was tender and although the sauce on the side was too strong for most, we ate the rest.

Our last stop was at a 19th century home owned by a woman from San Francisco who had married a Reggae singer and moved to the island. She helps out with tourism and has a cat shelter.

Anne brought us some coconut pastries before we headed back to the pier at the conclusion of the fun and educational tour.

I went back aboard the MSC Divina and enjoyed some quiet time at the One Pool. Although there was still plenty of pool space in the other areas, I really liked this area – and the complimentary drinks to Yacht Club guests certainly helped!

I went back to our Yacht Club suite to change for dinner. Mom and I stopped in the Top Sail lounge for cocktails and appetizers – another benefit in this area of the ship – before heading to Le Muse for dinner.

It was actually a perfect menu for Mom, but I didn’t go away hungry. She started with an excellent chopped crab and mackerel with anchovy sauce.

I had Pasta Fagioli Soup and a Pasta Pomodoro for dinner. We both loved the unique bread offerings at Le Muse, which this day included fennel bread sticks and sundried tomato rolls.

I continued the true Italian meal with cannoli for dessert. Despite the sugar, I was exhausted from all the sun and walking. I anticipated another full day and decided to head to MSC Divina cabin at 9:00, while Mom went to the Italian Show. I was asleep when she returned, ready for a full day to come in Grand Cayman.

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