27th/28th October 2022

One of the first things you see from the ship on arrival in Tonga is the Royal Palace. This wooden structure was built in 1867 and with its white walls and red roof is quite a striking sight!

Welcome to Tonga…….. that was one thing that was guaranteed. I think the Tongans must be the friendliest people on earth (well certainly amongst those that I have met). People would stop you in the street and say “hi, welcome to our country”, cars would slow down and the passengers would give you a wave. We had received lovely greetings on some of the other islands but this was on a whole other level!

Whilst we were having a walk around we saw these children, who had just come back from a wedding, sitting on a bench having a picnic while their parents looked on trying to get a good phot of them!

We decided to take a local bus to explore this part of Tonga. We walked along the seafront to the bus station and asked the driver of the first bus we saw where she was going and when was the bus leaving. The answer to the first question was to the middle of the island, and the answer to the second was “when we are ready! So we left straight away and the driver pointed out points of interest along the way. The bus had a fixed route but not a timetable, it just seemed that if anyone wanted it to stop they just raised their hand!

This bus was back at the bus station on our return, its not often you can say a bus has a nice smile!

Continuing with the theme of how lovely the Tongan people are………..I saw this tent next to the bus station with the 4G banner on the outside. There wasn’t a sign advertising WI-FI so I popped in and asked if they were selling a connection. They said they were going to later but they were just testing it at the moment and to come back later that morning………they asked if I wanted to give it a go for free to see if it was working, and so I managed to catch up with all my emails and managed to download a few audio books and e-mails. I thanked them and said I would come back in the evening and pay this time, as I had some other stuff I needed to update. I returned later to be told it wasn’t working as well as it should be but I could use it if I wanted. Whilst I was there it was their dinner time and they brought me over a plate of fried chicken……what a really nice gesture………I hope you guys there get to read this post as you were all so lovely!

Walking back to the ship past the bus station these girls were waving to us and saying hello and asking where we were from…………..

The next day we passed a secondary school just as it was home time and the whole place was heaving with kids. We both thought we were in for the normal teenage grief you would get in the UK, but again everyone was so lovely. We even had one lad come up to us and ask for a selfie………

The ship at night……….

We departed from Tonga with the loveliest of memories of such nice people. They put on a show on the dock as we were about to leave………

This young girl was giving it her heart and soul!

Thank you Tonga…….. I’ll leave you with this picture of Jane and Val on the beach!

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