Today we’re starting a series of post of old travels. We taught it would be nice to share some of the amazing places we had the possibility to visit and some where we could live for a while. We’ll try to give you some useful info and we’ll post a lot of pictures. It’s a way for us to remember and dream about those sites.
So here comes the first post, which is also the first of three: Guadeloupe.
Guadeloupe is a small French island in the Caribbean Sea. It has a very characteristic shape: it is constituted by two connected islands, Basse-Terre and Grand-Terre, that create a sort of butterfly. Surrounding the island there are many small archipelagos, the biggest to the south, with the islands of Les Saintes and Marie-Galante.
We were invited to the wedding of one of Matteo’s cousins and we just couldn’t let this opportunity pass by! Most of the guests were staying six or seven days, but we decided to take a 10-days holiday and try to enjoy at best the island.
So we booked a flight with Air France from Madrid to Paris and then to Pointe-à-Pitre, the capital. Matteo’s cousin came to pick us up with the car and brought us directly to the great house we were all staying in. He had rented through homelidays a two-storey house on a little hill really close to the beach of La Grand Anse in Deshaies: the house had double kitchen, three bathrooms, six bedrooms, two porches, a little garden and a gorgeous external hot tub. It was the perfect location for the wedding and for the view of the island’s wild vegetation and the sea.
The first couple of days we didn’t do much more than relaxing, enjoying the sunsets from the top porch waiting, eating dried and salted cod with a pure of avocado and Manitoba flour, for all the guests to arrive and helping with the wedding organization.
Matteo’s cousin and his to-be-wife wanted a simple and diy wedding, so they had prepared almost everything in advance with the help of the bride’s family. The groom, a chef, was cooking that same day some fresh tuna with a lot of vegetables. The bride’s mum baked and decorated two cakes. They prepared few weeks earlier various bottles of punches made of rum agricole, Rhum Bielle, flavored with various fruit and “dressed” with the local madras fabric. The bride had a wonderful dress sewed by her mom: the traditional costume from the island (which is usually made of madras fabric) in bright white cotton with tiny embroidered flowers, and red heals for good luck.
The day before the wedding we helped preparing the decorations: some braided palm leafs that created the perfect photo-booth backdrop. On the wedding day I also had a run at preparing a sort of sorbet with coconut milk made in an old hand machine: really hard but fun!
Once the wedding and the celebrations were over it was time to visit the islands. The beaches are breath-taking: since one of the two islands is volcanic the sand there goes from dark brown to black, but on Grand-Terre the sand can be white and fine. So of course we wanted to see all of them! We rented three cars and visited the best beaches, like the one in Sainte-Anne, a touristic spot but with incredible transparent water.
We also entered the island of Bass-Terre and had a refreshing swim at the freezing Cascade aux Ecrevisses and a night warm bath at a couple of artificial basins created along the many natural warm rivers that descend from the volcano. I don’t know where these were and I’m not sure I would be able to get there anymore, but I remember seeing some signs and all the locals now about the basins. Matteo and I also took the chance of visiting the Musee du Rhum (Bellevue Sainte-Rose, Mon-Sat 9am-5pm), where we learned the manufacturing process of rum and buying a great bottle of Reimonenq J.R. on the rocks, an amber rum aged in oak barrels.
We were lucky to visit the place with the bride who grew on the island and that knew the best spots! Like Chez Denis(Dolé Les Bains 97113 Gourbeyre), a hidden restaurant, far from the crowd of the tourists, where you can eat the great Fricassée de Lambi, a dish with white rice, fried plantain or yam and the pieces of lambi, a big snail in a shell, in a very tasty red paste…
[To be continued]