Ricky and I were thrilled to have his mother, Carolyn Wright, and both sisters, Becky Winovitch and Darlene Marullo, meet us in beautiful French Martinique. Becky was brave enough to spend one night on the boat, but, due to seasickness, the girls elected to sleep in the resort and spend their days with us. The weather was unseasonably cool, overcast and rainy, hence the umbrellas.
Even though Ricky and I have visited Martinique several times, we've never taken a guided island tour. Here are some highlights of our special week together.
|Sugarcane and bananas are planted all over the countryside|
|Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Balata c1920's|
|Jardin de Balata - Botanical Garden|
The historical port of St. Pierre lies at the foot of Mount Pelee, looming in the background of this photo. Mount Pelee is an active volcano that last erupted in May 1902, wiping out the entire town's population of 30,000 people. St. Pierre was known at that time as the Paris of the Caribbean, the social and cultural center of Martinique, surrounded by plantations producing products for export such as rum, sugar, coffee, and cocoa.
The volcano began rumbling and sending ash and boiling volcanic mud in early April. Why, then, did the townspeople not flee? Evacuation posed a problem with primitive roads and very few ferries, plus many believed the prediction of a local science teacher who concluded there was no real danger.
Only two men survived in the town center, a cobbler and a murderer in a stone cell. Twelve ships in the bay were destroyed as well.
|Drawing of Le Theatre of St Pierre, remodeled in the neoclassical design shown.|
|The theatre sat 800, with shows ranging from Classical to Vaudeville and Opera|
|Darlene performs for the crowd|
We toured the ruins of Dubuc Plantation, a progressive sugar and coffee plantation that recorded 850 acres planted in sugar and 250 acres planted in coffee in 1725. Over time, a sugar factory and distillery were built, along with a coffee mill, drying areas and warehouses.
Josephine, renowned wife and crowned empress to Napoleon Bonaparte, was born on the island of Martinique in 1763. Her father was a French naval officer who owned a sugar plantation there. A hurricane wrecked the plantation in 1766, leaving the family without the money to rebuild.
At 16 years old, she accompanied her father to France, where she married and had two children. The marriage did not last.
She met the young general, Napoleon, in 1795. He fell madly in love with her, writing passionate love letters, and they married the next year. She was 32, he was 26.
|Reconstructed kitchen and museum|
|Ruins of sugar factory|
|Lunch at Havana Cafe in Anse Mitan|
|Relaxing on Always Sunday|
|We anchored in the quaint town of Anse de Arlet|
|Fun bay to swim and snorkel in!|
|Awesome view of the Atlantic from the resort|