Tonga is made up of over 170 islands, only about a third of them are inhabited and of those Tongatapu is the most populated. Tongatapu is the island where we stopped today. Tonga is a constitutional monarchy, the last one in the South Pacific. The King, Tupou VI, is 48 years old. One tour group today was lucky enough to run into him on their tour. How cool!
Mom and I wandered around the city of Nuku’alofa- the biggest city in Tonga. City is being generous, it was very small. But it may be bigger than I realize because we arrived on a Sunday, the observed holy day in Tonga. It is against the law to work on Sunday so all restaurants, shops, and offices were closed.
The Church Bells rang frequently today:
It was a ghost town except for those given exemption due to the number of cruise ships in port. We were originally supposed to be in Samoa today but a tropical storm made the ship’s captain adjust the itinerary to miss it. Tonga it was. I didn’t mind, I’ve never been here before either.
Basically the churches were filled to the brims and singing could be heard from blocks away from each church. It was pretty cool.
The Royal Palace is right near the main port. It looks out over the water and sits in the middle of Nuku’alofa.
King Tupou VI of Tonga doesn’t actually live here, he lives in a more modern mansion a few miles outside of Nuku’alofa.
This is the official palace where foreign dignitaries and Tongan ceremonies take place.
It rained intermittently today and was very hot and humid. But I wore my sunscreen and reapplied liberally (unlike in Bora Bora) so I had a good day in Nuku’alofa.
Mom and I are going to explore more of Tongatapu,Tonga outside of the city of Nukualofa (since absolutely nothing was open!) this afternoon. More to come from the Kingdom of Tonga!