Our family gets pretty excited when we see dolphins…. Here’s our reaction when we say them on the passage from Martinique to Dominica.
A few of the Eastern Caribbean countries have some great facilities like museums and educational places. Martinique is one of them. They have a great science museum where everyone can come and learn about science but in particular about the science of the volcanoes of the Eastern Caribbean. The film that they had was amazingly educational and interesting in terms of how the islands formed and how the volcanoes have affected the area in the past many years.
Here are Ethan and Noah checking out a 3D map of the north end of the island.
Here’s Matthew conquering the whole island. Martinique will never be the same again.
What’s also interesting is that the futuristic building is actually made to withstand earthquakes. The “box” sits on top of dampers that will absorb the shock of any earth movement.
We rented a car to get to see more of the island and one of our destinations was a beautiful botanical garden. On the way, we saw more of the countryside and the “Pitons” of the islands.
Stunning, well manicured grounds.
Almost looks like a mirror image.
Notice the bee?
I think that Caroline is considering putting together a Flowers of the Caribbean book for charity. If she does, she will certainly have some great pictures to include.
We visited a butterfly garden… and it’s hard to get a picture of butterflies in flight, so, you’re going to get pictures in a more docile state.
We learned about the various stages of development including the caterpillar stage.
A butterfly just out of the cocoon stage so it’s not quite ready to fly.
The gardens themselves which, of course need a lot of appropriate plant life for the butterflies.
And, that can only mean one thing….. flowers.
We were starving (and needed to make change for the entrance fee of the butterfly park) so we decided to eat lunch at the “cafe” that was at the park. It was a little more than a cafe. The meal was amazing for all of us and was quite reasonably priced as well. All this in the middle of nowhere on the island of Martinique. You are always fed well on the French islands!
And, for the foodies out there, a very little description. This is a pastry stuffed with lamb and assorted side dishes. Sorry, not sure what they were but they were good!
Steak, pure and simple.
Have I ever mentioned that there are flowers everywhere!
Here is the shell of what is left of the grand theatre or opera house that was styled after one in France. These grand staircases used to lead up to a beautiful stone building.
Here is the foundation of the building which, as with most everything in the eruption, was destroyed.
On our walk back, we discovered the coolest of juxtapositions…. the old front and gate with the very new metal and glass building. It’s a financial building so I think that there are some interesting branding messages being sent. Very neat.
Okay, I’ve mentioned this before but I thought I would bring it up again. One thing that mariners and people who live on west coasts will look for at sunset is “the green flash”. We haven’t seen one in quite a while but we did at St. Pierre. It wasn’t really strong but it was there.
Basically, the way I believe that it works is that as you’re staring at the sun… once it’s safe to do so and at the horizon like in the picture above… the moment that the sun disappears your brain plays a visual trick on you. Because your eye has been viewing an orange glow for a period of time, the absence tricks your eye into thinking there is green in its place. Does that make sense. If not, just enjoy the picture of the sunset taken at most 2 or 3 seconds before the sun set.
Walking around the town of St. Pierre, it has many characters. There are a few modern buildings, many older buildings and some really old buildings. And, it is very European and really feels that way.
Again, it was a town with a fort so we believe that these were partly part of that fortification. It’s also used structurally to keep the hillside in check.
The view from up top.
And, of course, you have to have cannons. I believe that the kids will require us to have cannons at home upon our return…. did I say return? 🙂
A beautiful new walking mall on the waterfront… or in the case of our kids… a running mall.
At the north end of Martinique is a beautiful town called St. Pierre. Back in 1902, when it was considered the Paris of the Caribbean it experienced a volcanic eruption that killed everyone except for 2 people in the city of 30,000. A cobbler in his basement and a convicted murderer in his jail cell both barely survived.
Here is a pretty representative shot of the town. There are old buildings mixed in with the new buildings, and old walls used along with new walls.
Here is Mt. Pelee in a much quieter state than in 1902.
Our next stop after Le Marin was an incredibly picturesque bay and town that was very reminiscent of the south of France. It really makes you want to sail around the Mediterranean!
Our pictures are not going to show this but Le Marin is quite a built up port for Martinique. It has a lot of marine services, a huge harbour and a place to check in and out of the country. And, apparently we didn’t take any pictures of the town and only took some pictures of our adventure up a small canal to go to a “dinghy up” complex of stores. It was a little like entering the “heart of darkness” for those of you who remember Joseph Conrad. Very neat. And, remember that this was on the way to go to a grocery store and a chandlery.