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Cacao beans drying

A Chocolate Museum

After all the attention to my renunciation, it’s time to return to our regularly-scheduled programming. I wrote this soon after I was in Guadeloupe last April, but somehow it got lost in the shuffle and I never posted it. Better late than never, right? Just seeing the bright hand-painted sign above the entrance to La…

the purple and blue painted exterior of Kreol West Indies

Kreol West Indies: a new concept

On my last day in Guadeloupe, I stumbled upon a special little museum. I was on my way to the easternmost tip of Grande-Terre, the eastern “wing” of the butterfly that makes up Guadeloupe’s main island. Called Pointe des Chateaux, it’s a windblown, craggy place. On the way, I noticed a brightly-colored building, only catching…

sunset view framed by palm trees on Guadeloupe

Random Thoughts on Guadeloupe

I explained in an earlier post why I chose Guadeloupe for my sabbatical travels, but apart from that decision, I didn’t know much about the place. I knew that it was French: not just that it’s a former French colony but that it’s still part of France. They even use the euro as their currency. I…

a close-up of an iguana in Fort St. Louis

Fort St. Louis and the Rum Battle

Approaching Fort-de-France, the capital of Martinique, by ferry, the most prominent feature of the harbor is the imposing collection of walls and buildings that make up Fort St. Louis, a 17th century naval base. Fort St. Louis is still a French naval base today; Martinique is still an overseas territory of France. Nevertheless, parts of…

view of a whale's tail sticking out of the water in the distance on my Martinique boat trip

4 Snorkeling Trip Surprises

Sometimes an ordinary activity you’d do on any vacation can turn into something special. On my recent trip in the Caribbean, I took two snorkeling trips, one in Guadeloupe and one in Martinique. I like snorkeling from a boat, since it usually means fewer people and better sights. All I expected was a pleasant, relaxed morning…

a clearer rock carving in Guadeloupe

Guadeloupe’s Ancient Rock Art

There’s not much left to show that the Arawaks ever lived on Guadeloupe. And it’s not completely clear what happened to them. One story is that they were all wiped out by the Caribs, who arrived in the 15th century. Another is that they coexisted with the Caribs, but not for long, since Columbus arrived…

A Special Encounter on a Puddle-jumper

The puddle-jumper Traveling from Martinique to the US involved three separate flights for me, and the first of these was on a Liat Airlines “puddle-jumper.” First, a 15-minute jump from Martinique to St. Lucia, then a half-hour jump to Barbados. If you know me, you know that fear of flying is an ongoing issue for…

View of the waterfall and pool, with Thierry, my Airbnb host, sitting at an upper pool in the distance.

Airbnb, thank you!

I had two experiences recently that made me all the happier that Airbnb exists. 1. A vision of paradise When my Airbnb host in Guadeloupe, Thierry, offered to take me to see a sight only locals know about, I jumped at the opportunity. I’ve used Airbnb to book accommodations before, but usually it’s been a place…

photo of the Rum Museum building

The Rum Museum: another quirky one!

I posted before about Guadeloupe’s quirky banana museum. Well, that wasn’t the only quirky museum I found there. The Musée du Rhum, or Rum Museum, is another one of those small museums filled with odd, disconnected collections of objects. But first, a disclosure: I was given free admission (normally 6 euros) in exchange for writing this…

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