I’m sure you’ve figured it out by now, but we did survive the little excursion I had mentioned. It was a very pleasant getaway, one that was much needed. After our long vacation drought from 2007 to 2012, these little trips have been wonderful.
It took two airplane flights to get to St. Martin*, and the first one was incredibly small. The smaller the plane, the more nervous I get. The second plane was a much bigger 757, and we landed on the island that afternoon.
Our hotel was on the French side, and it was a fancy hotel at that. The views were incredible, both from the lobby,
and our balcony.
For the rest of the afternoon, Steven and I donned our swimsuits and relaxed on the beach. Though magnificent, as soon as we stepped onto the sand we realized how spoiled we have become from our Alabama beaches. The sand at St. Martin was much more coarse than our own, and when you looked closely, it was composed of little bits of seashells.
We varied between lounging on the beach and swimming in the ocean. At one point a waiter came by offering refreshments. The daiquaris were amazing, along with their price tag of $18 each!
The next day we had booked a snorkeling expedition. There were many fascinating sights along the way,
. . . and the snorkeling trip itself was one of the most incredible things I’ve done in my life. As we floated above coral reefs, swimming sea turtles, and schools of fish, it felt as if we were flying above them as the waves steered us through the currents. Sadly, my camera is not waterproof, or else I would have some amazing photographs.
By that evening, I realized all that snorkeling left its mark on me in the form of a scorching sunburn on my legs along with the sensation of floating in the waves for the next week (which is rather fun as long as you’re not driving).
We had a fantastic group dinner that night, where we dined on salad with anchovies (oh hush, it was awesome), lobster, steak, and after that I don’t really remember since my wine glass was never allowed to be empty. Unlike Parisians, our French-speaking waiters were more than willing to let us practice our French, what little we had.
Our hotel served up a most fantastic breakfast buffet, and on each morning I indulged myself on lox and bagels, muffins, and coffee. I always looked forward to our breakfast meal.
On our last evening on the island, we headed out to a city on the French side called Grand Case in search of French cuisine. We made good time despite the continual mess of cars on the road, so we walked around a little bit.
Steven enjoyed a crepe from the Crepe Man,
and I admired all the city signage and graffiti.
We found a decaying pier along the shoreline behind the restaurants,
and we were so close to the little French airport that the planes practically buzzed just over our heads.
Our French cuisine, when we finally did sit down to eat, was fantastic. I stayed simple with lobster bisque, filet mignon, and a cheese plate (!), but Steven was more adventurous with his choice of frog legs.
And before we knew it, the time had come to go home, and off to the airport we went. St. Martin is known for its airport, among other things. As our airplane taxied across the runway, I wondered if there were any idiots behind the plane.
Both plane rides were turbulent, but I survived! As long as the plane is staying in the air, I find the views out the window quite lovely, and I was glad to see the coastline of South Carolina as we headed back into the States.
We dragged into Birmingham a little past midnight, and the kids — and even Hermione! — were glad to see us the next day. Lydia is a bit put out because she would love to ride in an airplane. We have promised her a beach trip later this year, fingers crossed that it goes better than last time.
And life continues on. Steven and I hope to travel a bit more this year. We had to get our passports renewed for this trip, and for the chunk of change it cost to do that, I would like to get some good use out of the darn thing.
*Even though one side of the island is called St. Martin and the other side St Maarten, I’ve stuck with the French spelling just so I won’t confuse myself.