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Published: June 19th 2011
Every city seems to have a fort – this is the one in Fort du France.
Fortunately for us while we were in Martinique our friends on Snowbird were also there. We decided to share a rental car and do some exploring. High on Martin’s list of places to see were some rum distilleries and that sounded interesting to us as well. After picking up the car we headed off to the Pottery Village. This is where the tiles are made for the roofs that we saw in Trois Ilets. We understand that they are also used in Grenada so hopefully we will see those when we get there. The red clay used for the manufacture of the roof tiles is also turned into utilitarian objects such as mugs and plates and creative home decorations. The village contained many other shops as well which were interesting to visit, but we decided we needed to keep moving to get to a few of the distilleries. Lunch time was calling so we picked up some provisions at a small grocery store and stopped along the water front to have a picnic. This is definitely the way to travel!
Trois Rivieres Plantation was the first distillery we stopped at. This was set up more as a museum than a
The entrance to the city
The ferry from Trois Ilets comes in to Fort du France not far from the fort. It is an impressive entrance.
running distillery. They had excellent signage of the various steps in the process of making rum, but unfortunately did not have any guides that spoke English so it was self-guided. We all agreed that we would rather see a working distillery so moved on to LaMauny Distillery. The first challenge was finding it, but with only a couple of stops to ask directions (thankfully Johanna knows some French) we found the place. This distillery has been making rum since 1749 and currently produces about 4 million liters per year. Fortunately for us they had a guide that spoke English, however as she said sometimes she would need help with the English word (she sure didn’t need much help) This meant that the 4 of us had our own private tour which allowed us to ask as many questions as we wanted. She gave us a very complete tour starting right off with the delivery of the sugar cane, testing it in the lab for quality, through the crushing process, fermentation, distillation and on to tasting. All of us definitely felt the burn when we tested the 75 proof sample. Luckily they only sell up to 62 proof; otherwise everyone would
The water front
The colors used on the buildings add to the look of the water front.
be on fire in Martinique! This definitely made for a fun day seeing a little more of Martinique, learning how they make rum and spending the day with Martin and Johanna.
Fort du France is the capital of Martinique and was only a ferry ride away so the next day we took a ride over from Trois Ilets. We had heard mixed reviews about the city, but figured we’d see for ourselves. We explored the craft market, the fruit and veggie market, the very modern shopping mall, walked through the Cathedral, saw the impressive library built of metal in France and shipped here, did some wi-fi as we couldn’t get any on the boat and just hoofed around town. It was an enjoyable way to spend the day.
The next day we decided we better get some work done on the boat as we planned on leaving soon. Sewing projects always seem to build up so got the sewing machine out and got a couple of things done. Janice worked on the next few courtesy flags that we need (Trinidad and Grenada) while Bob sewed a sun shade for the front hatch on the boat. It is always
An impressiive library
The Schoelcher Library was built of metal in France in 1889 by Gustav Eifel (of Eifel Tower fame) and was shipped piece by piece to Martinique and re-assemblied. It is a momument to slavery abolitionist Victor Schoelcher and is still used as a library today.
good to get a couple of things crossed off the “to do” list, but we seem to always add more. We are finding out that retirement doesn’t stop that process at all. We have to stop exploring at times and get to the items on the lists before it gets too long to manage. Always a balancing act, just like before retirement!
We definitely enjoyed our visit to Martinique and can see ourselves coming back to explore more of this country.
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