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Samoa: Robert Louis Stevenson Museum

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Robert Louis Stevenson Museum | Samoa | Oceania

[Visited: October 2012]

My last hours in Samoa had started, and I decided that instead of lingering in town, I would check out the museum. I calculated that if I took a bus, and gave half an hour for the museum, I could even squeeze in a brief visit to the city. After waiting for more than half an hour for the bus, I realized it would be better to walk; I could always flag down the bus in case it passed. But it didn't, and the walk up the hill to the museum grounds caused me to sweat it out. Finding the museum was quite easy: a big gate on the right hand side of the road with the initials of the Scottish author did not leave any doubt. A walk down a straight lane lined by trees took me to the museum itself, surrounded by a well-kept lawn.

Picture of Robert Louis Stevenson Museum (Samoa): The museum and surrounding lawn

Walking inside the museum can only be done barefoot, and when I walked into the old building I was pleased to feel a very welcome breeze coming through the high, open windows. The museum is the official dwelling of Robert L. Stevenson; as one of the officials pointed out, it has been enlarged since the premature death of the author in 1894. In the clean rooms, I found bedrooms with the beds made as if guests were expected any minute, old furniture, a map of Paris, and a collection of other items used more than a century ago. The most interesting room, I think, is the library; not only does it contain the works of Robert Stevenson himself, but also a lot of other old books neatly stacked on shelves. Never having read anything by the author who decided to come to Samoa hoping that the climate would help him cure his tuberculosis, which in the end it didn't. He had the house which is now his museum built for him; it was destroyed by hurricanes twice in the early 1990s but rebuilt.

Picture of Robert Louis Stevenson Museum (Samoa): The tomb of Robert Louis Stevenson on top of the hill

After seeing the small museum, I was adamant to also go for a hike in the Mt. Vaea Scenic Reserve adjacent to the house. There are several trails that can be done, and I first walked up the steep hill through the forest to his tomb. Stepping over roots and hearing the creaking sound of a swaying tree, the hike up was much better than I had anticipated. I did not have much time, and when I reached the top of the hill, I was wet. A simple, white tomb is the final resting place of the author, with inscriptions on slabs of stone on several sides, some in Samoan. on one side there are views of the port of Apia, even though trees block part of it. From the top, the trail continues, looping back to the museum; unfortunately, I did not see any markers and missed the viewpoint from where Savai'i should be seen, and I also somehow passed a giant banyan tree without noticing it. When I was back down, I walked to the rock pool and waterfall, but unfortunately, both were empty. As there was nothing more to see, I walked back to the Cross Island Road, and downhill to town.

Picture of Robert Louis Stevenson Museum (Samoa): Suitcase of Robert Louis Stevenson on display in the museum dedicated to him
Picture of Robert Louis Stevenson Museum (Samoa): Road leading to the museum
Picture of Robert Louis Stevenson Museum (Samoa): Books in the library of Robert Louis Stevenson
Picture of Robert Louis Stevenson Museum (Samoa): Some of the furniture that can be seen in the museum
Picture of Robert Louis Stevenson Museum (Samoa): Pictures and mirror on a wall in the library of the museum
Picture of Robert Louis Stevenson Museum (Samoa): One of the trails through Mt. Vaea Scenic Reserve
Picture of Robert Louis Stevenson Museum (Samoa): Initials of the Scottish author on the main gate of the museum

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