We have had four days of calm seas, blue skies, and excellent visibility. We are all well-prepared for our arrival on the island that saw the last breath of Napoleon Bonaparte. Saint Helena welcomes us from its isolated position in the middle of the Atlantic. For years, this remote place has captured the imagination of all of us. The history books tell us this about Napoleon and not much more: "Exiled to St. Helena." We're here to find out how the great general spent the last six years of his life.
The small bus moves slowly uphill among lush greenery. The tropical climate has crafted the beauty of the island with mastery. We all consider the over 4,000 inhabitants of the island to be lucky. St. Helena seems wonderful to us on our first encounter. The first consideration we make about Napoleon is precisely of this tenor: "If I had the choice, I, too, would spend my imprisonment in this paradise."
The prison house is on top of a hill with a breathtaking view. The French flag flutters in the wind. We go around the rooms and listen to various explanations. Napoleon was depressed, and it is understandable. A military genius, he was defeated and exiled to the middle of the Atlantic. But the house is a little gem, as is the entire island that we explore far and wide until we meet the longest existing reptile. At 190 years of age, Jonathan the tortoise welcomes us. He has lived here for over 140 years. He does not intend to leave any time soon, and he will be waiting for us. Because we will be back. We promise you, Jonathan.