After New Years, we sailed from Antigua to Guadeloupe. Our first stop was Deshais, a small fishing village in the north west corner of this very large and populated island. What a change from our previous experiences. I knew Guadeloupe was a french island, but stepping off the dinghy dock upon arrival to find a place for dinner, was like stepping in to a seaside town in the south of France! No one speaks English and we stumbled our way along the various restaurants dotting the shoreline. Town was hopping and we found ourselves at La Mer, a busy seafood restaurant with bright colors and a menu with pictures. We were exhausted..I ordered a salad with lobster, or so I hoped! It arrived and was the most delicious marinated fresh lobster, all picked, atop a huge array of fruits and vegetables. Paired with a cold rose, it was the most amazing thing I had ever tasted!
After eating out very few meals the first two months of our trip, we found ourselves eating out one meal a day. Pan de chocolat and cafe for breakfast, salads with smoked fish for lunch, beautifully prepared fish with french sauces…and more bread and wine! And did I mention the fromage? Am I making you hungry?
We spent two and a half weeks exploring Guadeloupe and the Isle de Saintes (reminded me of the Vineyard) and Marie Gallant. Every day starts with a trip to the boulangerie for at least un baguette, sometimes deux…and everyday a glass of rose at lunch and a bordeux (chilled) with dinner. Thanks goodness we are so active, swimming, snorkeling, hiking, walking, that our clothes still fit!
One of our funniest experiences eating out was at lunch in the Saintes. Everywhere were signs for Ti Punch. We heard that the French are very proud of their rum (rhum) and I figured it was their version of rum punch…our Ti Punch arrived and it was a very large shot glass full of rum with cane sugar on the bottom and a lime. No juice. Needless to say we needed a nap after lunch that day! (Everything closes after lunch until the evening). We now know why!
One day I convinced Andy we should go to the big open market in the big city of Point au Pitre. I scoured the vegetable and fruit market and did my best to negotiate. One woman quoted me 20 euros for a few pieces of fruit and veggies and when I said no, she freaked out and grabbed all my bags back. I don’t think she liked being called out by a non-french speaking American tourist, but she was definitely trying to swindle me. After that, we rounded out the shopping adventure with a trip through the fish market where we purchased enough tuna for four dinners, (only $30). I’ve never seen so many vendors, with so many varieties of seafood, hacking off hunks of fish with machetes.
After a trip to Marie Gallant, another island off the coast, where we visited two rum distilleries and ate more tasty meals ashore, we reluctantly left Guadeloupe…but not before stocking up on all the goodies. Fridge stacked with smoked fish, pates, cheese and wine! Will see how long it lasts before a restocking in Martinique. On to Dominica…Viva la France!