Saturday, December 31, 2016

St Paul market

Friday, we decided we'd go check out the market at St Paul that we had heard about.

 It was large, crowded, and full of lovely fruits, vegetables, flowers, local food products, and tourist items.

Unfortunately, it was extremely hot out. And it was even hotter under the market stall umbrellas. Poor Benjamin was close to heat exhaustion, so we had to cut our market visit short. We did buy some samoussas before leaving the market, and stopped on our way back to the car to pick up some bouchons, so we had a great lunch when we got back to the villa.

That evening, we were treated to an amazing sunset. We had such a great view from the villa!

Friday, December 30, 2016

Super Tourists!

This was one of the absolute best things about our trip. Fresh lychees and pineapple any time we wanted them! 1€ / kg for the lychees. Absolutely, positively the best in the world.

Thursday, Christian took us on a tour of the island. We started out at Niagara Falls. (No, really.)
Then we drove up the mountains for a while...
To go see the "Bride's Veil" falls (la voile de la mariée). It had been pretty dry, so the falls were apparently less impressive than they might otherwise have been.

Then we went on to the "Bassin de la Paix" (pool of peace).

We stopped to look at this beautiful church, which has been repainted in its original colors. And we found some lychees and sweet potato cakes to add to our picnic.

We stopped for our picnic near the old suspension bridge of the East River. We had "bouchon" (pork dumpling) sandwiches and the aforementioned lychees and sweet potato cake. Yum!

Then we went to see the church Notre Dame des Laves (Our Lady of the Lava), renamed after it was spared by the lava flow of 1977.

More waterfalls after lunch.

And some more lava field visits on our way back to St Gilles, where we were staying. These were my favorite part of the island.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Plaine des Sables & Créole traditions

We started Wednesday with coffee with Frédéric's Tonton Serge and Tante Titine. We met Christian, Romain, and Michel there. Coffee ended up being a bit later than we had planned, since we didn't realize their town had a "Lower" and an "Upper" street of the same name, but after driving through a Normandy-like countryside with lots of cows, we finally found it on the other side of town.

Before lunch, we went out for a look at the scenery not too far from their house - breathtaking views into the valleys, where there are waterfalls and villages down below. Thank goodness the platform is solid...

Then back to their house for lunch.

The boys and I really wanted to see "the moon" - the Plaine des Sables, or Sand Plains - which is a plateau on the road leading up to the volcano. The road to get there was vertiginous, but we made it, slowly but surely. And then had to go down a bit again to get onto the plateau itself.

We were driving above the clouds! And no guard rails on the roads... speed limit is 40 km/h (25mph).

Of course, since we had come up, we had to get back down... we drove down and then on to have dinner with Frédéric's Tonton Joe and Tante Tina, who bought and completely renovated an old "case créole," a traditional-style house on the island. To go with the traditional-style house, we had a traditional-style meal of "cari," and Tonton Joe played us some traditional Créole music before we left to go back to our villa.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Visiting the Island

We met up with Christian and some of the family for a visit to the island. You can see how deep the ocean is right at the coast, with its dark blue color. Not at all like the turquoise shallows of the lagoons in Mauritius.

Benjamin looked like a great tourist.

We went to L'Etang Salé to see some black volcanic sand beaches.

Then we went to another beach where we had lunch ("bouchon" sandwiches) and let the boys swim in shark-infested waters.

Fortunately, they had made a "pool" with these large boulders, to keep the sharks (and waves) out.

More photo ops in the afternoon.

This was one of my favorite parts of the whole island. The lava fields.