Today was the final day of the trip, our flight home was to start in the evening from Palau’s international airport.
An all day excursion was included, to fill the gap between us leaving the ship after breakfast and the flight in the evening.
We were first heading for Palau’s National Museum for a guided tour – with great insights into local traditions and customs, but also colonial and war-time history. From here it was on to the aquarium for an overview of the different sea habitats around Palau, their significance for the environment and of course related showcases – there was also the option to touch sea cucumbers and sea stars (Patrick?).
After this education experience, it was on to lunch (again with the opportunity, to try the local beer) – and then into the Etpison Museum, with a good overview of local artifacts and an opportunity, to apply for a Schengen visa (the Dutch consulate is in the same building). The tour conluded at Airai Bai – the men’s meeting house at Airai; the tour operator had set up refreshments and snacks, there were demonstrations of local craft and a final opportunity, to stock up on souvenirs. The surrounding area also had some things to explore (like the small harbor).
Temperatures were high and the refreshments did not last too long, so we continued to the airport very early – making it there, before it even opened (the airport receives up to two flights a day, so only opens like 2,5 hours before scheduled departure time). We were eventually let in, were able to check in and start the long journey home.
Overall this has been an amazing and mind-blowing trip – with so many different things to see and experience. The cultural performances may have sound repetitive – but they were not – they were all unique and different – as were the costumes and the people.
I don’t think there is one single highlight of the trip for me – it’s really the complete package of cultural performances, exploration in the villages and on the islands, stops at beaches (most people would not dare dreaming about) and nature at its best – all of this combined with the amenities of cruise ship. A truly epic journey has come to an end – and I can only be thankful, that I was able to be part of it.