After leaving Castle Point we wandered around the eastern island for a while, mostly driving through agricultural areas. As the day wore on, we decided to take a side trip up through the mountainous section shown as a scenic drive on our map. Good thing we allowed plenty of time because as we twisted and turned up through the steep countryside, we encountered a detour with even more twisting and turning, and before long, I was completely lost! Not knowing which way to turn, and as as we puzzled over our map, a couple of ladies took pity on us. With their directions, I managed to find my way out of the maze and back to the marina.
By the time we arrived at the marina, ours was the last and only dinghy still tied (and locked) to the dock. Twilight descended just as we climbed back onto Ocean Angel; we were glad to be home.
The next day we hit the road early planning to visit Pointe a Pitre, the capital city, and once done there, wander for the rest of the day. As we entered the city traffic came to a standstill. Cars, trucks, and buses jammed every available street. And it wasn’t even a cruise ship day. We meandered the narrow one-way streets down town searching for a place to park, and when we finally found one, I had to almost touch the high curb with the side of the car to leave space for other vehicles to pass by. A challenge, but worth the effort.
Our first stop was the open air market where one can find fresh fruits, herbs, spices, clothing, baskets, hats – you name it. All the vendors, mostly women, try their darnedest to convince you to buy their wares over another’s, but it is all just part of the process. It’s fun to talk with these ladies because they know a great deal about the city and the surrounding countryside. Of course, you better be fairly conversant in French, at least enough to get started in a conversation.
We wandered in and out of several shops, stopped for lunch on the street, an ice cream, and finally decided to find our way out of the city and back into the countryside. From the city we headed west to Basse Terre and pointed the car towards the Rum Museum, a popular tourist spot, but one we wanted to visit anyway for more of the island’s history and culture. Not a word of English spoken at the museum, at least not on our visit, but no problem; at least the captions on the displays were multilingual.
No photos allowed inside, so if you want to see what’s there, taste the rums, experience the culture, you’ll just have to visit the island. Now that’s not a bad thing, is it?