I got up early that morning, around 5:30 or so and went down to the beach with Joanna and Meagan to watch the sunrise. It was a little cloudy, but still spectacular! A lovely start to Christmas Day…. After watching the sunrise, I didn’t want to go back to bed, so I went back to the room, changed into my swimsuit and headed for the pool. At that point, I was still pretty pink from the day before and figured I would get my pool time in before the sun was a hazard.
We all hung out at the pool for a bit and then went back to our rooms to get cleaned up and finish packing because Hassan was picking us up at 10 for the spice tour and then Stone Town.
The spice tour was great – we got to see what everything looked like growing naturally – from nutmeg to allspice to lemongrass to curry; as well as a lot of local fruits – starfruit, the jambo apple, limes, jackfruit, etc. It was a very hands on tour and we got to taste and smell everything. By the end of the tour we were on sensory overload, but we all really enjoyed our spice guide who shared a ton of information with us. At the end of the tour we were able to buy some spices and things made with the spices and local plants. I was able to pick up a few things, and even got the essence of the ylang-ylang plant (which is what is used to make Chanel no. 5).
We then drove to Stone Town for our tour there. We started at the last operating slave trade sight in the world (I think – don’t quote me on this!). A church is built on top of the former slave chamber. We went down to check out the slave chamber which was very small and the whole experience was very intense. We got some history about the church, and one of the ministers there who was very involved in the abolition of slavery in Zanzibar.
After that, Hassan took us all over Stone Town. The streets were winding and reminiscent of Europe — if I had to find my way around by myself, there is no way I would’ve gotten to see what I wanted, and would probably have gotten lost several times. We saw several historical sites (two on the UNESCO register), stopped at a great coffee shop, some great hotels, and I took a bunch of pictures of doors – they are all carved so intricately, and I’m a big fan.
Below are some pictures: first is a christmas wreath that was placed on our door on christmas eve, a plant we saw on the spice tour that is used for lipstick or decoration, a church and mosque in the Stone Town skyline, and a street in Stone Town.