Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Spring Breakers Hit Martinique!

2016 was quite the year of travel for me! I hit the Caribbean three times traveling to Puerto Rico, St. Thomas, St. Martin, Martinique, and Cuba. I was only in Puerto Rico, St. Thomas, and St. Martin for a few days because I was on a cruise, but it was equally amazing to visit them!

As I sat in my cold Pittsburgh home a few days ago, trying to keep warm with my mug of hot chocolate, I couldn't help but think back to my Spring Break trip with the girls earlier this year. A few friends and I found a great group discount to Martinique, a small, French-owned island in the Caribbean. As I hadn't left campus during Spring Break before, I figured I might as well! We packed our bags and headed to John F. Kennedy airport for our flight to the exotic island.

Road trip ready!

After a short flight and hundreds of photos taken of me sleeping with my mouth wide open, we landed in Martinique. Our main mode of transportation was by a car we rented from Avis. I haven't rented a car before, but it was surprisingly quite simple, especially when there isn't a line of people! We took our adorable little car to the place we were staying and after we settled in, we got some drinks. I ordered a fancy fish with some rice, beans, and maduros looking things and it was very yummy! My drink was what caught the most attention though! Three different colors: it was hard to miss.
What a drink!

My yummy first meal in Martinique.


Day 1: Exploring and Relaxing

Because we arrived when it was still dark out, we didn't get to see the lovely view outside our room. Boy was it a surprise when we woke up the next morning! We could see the trees reaching all the way out to the vast, blue sea. Apparently the place we were staying in had its own beach so we could see the path disappear among the jungle of trees heading towards the sea.

The view we woke up to!

A view from the front of our little place.

Our adorable little car.

The driver and the navigator.

We went to the main lobby to get on the Wifi and tell our parents we were alive (the Wifi didn't reach our room) and then we were off once again to explore the island and, more importantly, find some food. We were able to find the main town on the island via an app called Maps.me. It sounds sketchy, but it seriously helped! Every time I have traveled to a place where I won't have data for my phone, I download a map of the city/country when I land and I can access it wherever I go. You can even look up restaurants and things to do (I don't really know what the science is, but I love it).

Anyway, we found the downtown area and walked around for a while before we found a cute bakery and ordered some bread.

A French fort and a beach along the shore of the town.

Finally found some food for breakfast.

I forgot to mention that only one of us spoke a tiny bit of french so navigating and speaking to people was quite difficult. Ordering bread wasn't even that easy! Note to self: bring language dictionary wherever you go. But our lovely friend who knew french helped a lot even if it was only a little bit.

After we filled our tummies we almost felt forced to check out our little private beach, so we drove back, gathered some fruit from a local fruit stand, traveled down the little path, and lay on the beach for a good couple of hours.

Watermelon and a view: a perfect combination.

The path to the private beach.

A relaxing afternoon.

We could see the other side of the island!

After a couple of hours we were hungry again and decided to drive to another part of the island for dinner and a walk. The ocean was beautiful. We strolled along the boardwalk watching young, local men playing volleyball on the beach and taking pictures of the islands in the distance. We then found a nice restaurant for dinner that served pasta and even more fun drinks. 

A shot of the island in the distance. 

The boardwalk leading into the ocean. 

If you like piƱa coladas...

Spaghetti bolognese for me.

Carbonara for my friend!

Day 2: Climbing a Volcano

We had planned on hiking ever since we found out that there was an active volcano on the island and today was the day! We packed up some granola bars from the local supermarket and a whole lot of water before heading out. We thought it would be a good idea to stop by a bakery and grab some breakfast and maybe even pack some sandwiches later (we later realized that this was a bad idea once we reached into our bags to find soggy sandwiches).

A cheesy breakfast before the intense hike.

Mont Pele in the distance. 

 The girls getting ready for a long hike.

The hike was definitely one of the most intense I have ever done. The path went straight up the mountain and the steps were at least two feet apart. At one point we were even on our hands and feet. That's not to say it wasn't enjoyable. It was one of the best experiences of my life! We stopped many times and made sure to drink a lot of water so we didn't get dehydrated. Once we made it to the top, we saw the most amazing view of the island. It was so worth it despite the soggy sandwiches and extreme sun burn (ouch)!

 Here we go!

This cow is much better at hiking than we are.

 A view from halfway up the volcano.

 The side of Mont Pele.


 So high up!

Almost there ladies!



Our neighbors didn't want theirs so they gave it to us!

As sore as ever, we drove home and, to our surprise, our kind neighbors ordered one too many pizzas and were kind enough to give us theirs! We spent the rest of the night making dinner and reading. It was a truly magical day. 

Day 3: Beach Day and Souvenir Shopping

The next day, we went to a market in the town and shopped for some souvenirs to bring home. We spent the rest of the day taking advantage of our private beach and eating at another fancy restaurant with sublime food and drinks. 

Panorama of the beach with a cameo from my friend.

Took this selfie without realizing my friend's toned behind was in the shot!

Shopping is tiring!

I wish I was still looking at this!

My friend's mojito was better than whatever I ordered.

Oh so good!

Day 4: Sightseeing and Reminiscing

On our last day, we ventured to yet another part of the island and came upon an awesome monument dedicated to those who were slaves in Martinique. It was so moving to read about the meaning of the sculptures.
The sculptures of the slaves looking out to the sea.


After admiring the sculptures we traveled to a beachy area that had some shops and restaurants along the beach. We decided this was a good place to stop and enjoy the time we had left. We ordered some drinks and lunch and relaxed before heading back, making burgers, and packing for our flight the next morning. 

The town along the beach.

Another nice boardwalk!

We found a nice spot for lunch!

Cheers!

Our trip to Martinique was one of the best Spring Breaks I've ever had! I loved hanging out with the girls and trying new things and new places. So thankful for being able to find an affordable trip on such a friendly and relaxing island. Stay tuned for a few upcoming posts about my study abroad trip in Cuba. Stay classy!





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