Written by “B Watch”: Nikhil Ravishankar, Adam Cook, Alyssa Partington
Wednesday we took the ferry over to St. Thomas to explore the historical sites in Charlotte Amalie, which is the capital of the US Virgin Islands.
We did a walking tour of the town, including going up the 99 Steps (actually they were 103), thereby testing our physical resilience!
Many of the buildings we saw were at least a century old, including the oldest continuously operating synagogue in the United States. The floor of the synagogue was covered in sand, which relates back to a time when they needed to muffle the sounds of their services in order to avoid being persecuted. They had seven old Torahs, including the Holocaust Torah, which was originally seized by the Nazis during WWII to be placed in a museum the Nazis were going to make which was to prove that they had destroyed an entire race. They also had a small brick piece from the gas chamber from the Birkenau concentration camp. Seeing these relics and being reminded of the history of these people and their resilience and perseverance was a humbling experience.
After the tour and lunch
we split off into small groups to explore the area, again testing our emotional resilience and our ability to work together. Adam says he found a cool bell that was from an old Lutheran church. There was an open-air market in the center of the town where there were many vendors selling all sorts of things, including hand-carved sculptures, clothes, food, and other items.
While waiting for the ferry we loitered about
and played one of our card games (“Idiots”), which has been a favorite pastime during the trip.
On the ferry ride home there were some sea birds (Boobys) flying right above the boat and diving into the water. A number of students snapped some good photos of the birds as they were close to us.
Overall, this day trip was great and fun. We would heartily recommend that you visit these sites if you come to the Virgin Islands.