Martinique – a bit of Europe in the Caribbean
You’re wondering why Gabriela is going to the Caribbean at this time of the year, at the end of May? The rainy and hurricane season starts right now.
Well, it’s not optimal and I’ll probably take less typical Caribbean photos with turquoise blue sea and deep blue sky back home. Rather, the sky will be cloudy, but there are also less tourists and anyway, the rain is warm…
Almost it wouldn’t have worked out with the arrival, because the HOP, a subsidiary of Air France, departs more than an hour too late in Basel and thus we have little more than 30 minutes to change flights in Paris- Orly. But we are already welcomed by a nice lady, who almost pushes us and a few other passengers through the airport and takes us just in time to the departure gate. But will the suitcases make it as well?
So, there we are at Martinique and without even having to show the passport or identity card, we can leave the airport with our suitcases. Opposite of the arrival hall we can see some stalls that accommodate the car rental companies. We don’t get an old car, but we do get an extremely dented Dacia Sandero. Well, the main thing is, it runs.
Our mobile phone provider welcomes us by pointing out that there are no roaming charges and that we can make calls and surf the internet like at home. And that really works out everywhere on the island. Great thing, such a piece of Europe in the Caribbean! I do not need to mention that people are, of course, paying with the euro. However, I should mention that basic knowledge of the French language is extremely useful.
With very few exceptions, everything is only described in French and often not even English is spoken, German not at all. So, search your brain for your once learned vocabulary and dare to talk, everyone is very helpful, and the rest works with hands and feet, not to forget, also with a translation program.
My husband Dirk and I stay for three days at the Hotel La Pagerie in Trois Ilets. From the capital of Martinique, Fort de France you get here regularly by speedboat, because the places are only separated by a huge bay.
The hotel is located about 400 m from some small white-sandy beaches, which is not only popular by people, but also by some cute guys, the little crabs. They dig caves in the sand.
Opposite the hotel they have recreated a Creole village, with many small shops, restaurants and bars. We quickly decide on Havana Café to eat a burger. This is not really stylish and certainly not locally typical, but it´s fast and it is mega delicious. With 6 hours behind our German time, it is already 2 o’clock at night for us. So, we want to go to bed as soon as possible.
In the morning we start after a long and restful sleep to the north of Martinique.In terms of mileage, it’s not much, but it’s time- long. Even the national roads are interrupted by countless roundabouts and this further slows down the traffic, which is not so fast anyway. But that doesn’t matter, we’re on holiday, not on the run.
Along our route to our first destination,
we can guess that there might be the 1397 m high, still active volcano Montagne Pelée, the peak surrounds itself with clouds. I can’t say whether this is different during the dry season.
Many of the sugar cane fields are already empty, some are being harvested with huge machines. On the way we see large areas that seem almost dried up, a little further and we drive like through an unpervasive jungle.
The further north we go, the less traffic we see and the worse the roads become. In Le Précheur, there should be a fantastic black beach.
Yes, the beach is picturesque, in the background the volcano, in front of it a small white lighthouse and it is absolutely deserted. But countless stones, which make walking without shoes unpleasant, and unfortunately no shells at all.
We still want to go to Grand Riviere, in the very north. Actually, along the coast it is only some few kilometers, but there is only one hiking trail. It should also lead to some historical places of the Caribs, the extinct native population, but there is no public road.
So, we must drive about an hour around the Pelée, take endless curves to get over to Le Morne-Rouge (from where you could have a great view of the volcano, to return to the coast.
We pass through huge banana plantations. Even the air smells of bananas. The perennials on the palm trees all grow into blue plastic foil. Harvested, they then hang on a frame for transportation.
The last kilometers to
go steeply downhill and the road got only one lane. A traffic light regulates traffic uphill and downhill. Patience is required, a traffic light phase is almost 10 minutes long.
Grand Riviére is really located at the end of the island. The road ends at the idyllic harbor, which unfortunately silts up slowly. On the other hand, there is now a state construction program for prevention. From here we also see a secluded bathing bay with black sand.
We also notice that the high season is over. The shops are closed, only an ice cream parlor is still open, coffee is no longer available. But the ice cream is delicious and after the owner has noticed that I understand a little French, we chat a bit about mangoes. It ends with her pushing 4 different varieties of mangoes into our hands and wishing us a good journey.
We drive all the way back and then along the coast to La Trinite. The peninsula La Caravelle is our destination, but suddenly a tropical rain pours down on us and we decide to spend the afternoon in the hotel.
The evening ends with a delicious Caribbean cocktail at the bar.
Tomorrow is another day.