On the French Caribbean Islands – Martinique

As far back as I can remember, I have always been amazed by nature, the various plants and animals, geographical formations … Here, whichever way I go, I am in awe. My first discovery is „mother-in-law’s tongue” or Sansevieria, growing wild under the trees on the beach. What’s more, they are in bloom. The white, not too noticable flowers fit in well with its discrete light-striped leaves. A few meters further in from the kilometer long sandy beach, a totally different world awaits. The tree branches close above us, the thick canvas of the leaves and bushes blocks the sun out. It’s quiet, you hear only birdsong and the scratching of crabs as they venture out from the sand then dart sideways to find shade under the leaves. The little path meandering through this fairy tale landscape amazed the girls just as much, we could hardly drag them away when we finally had to leave.

Domi organized a fantastic program for us again. We are going to discover the inner part of the island as well. We will visit a botanical garden. The way leading there is quite an adventure already. As the road climbs higher towards the center of the island, rainforests appear with motorways crossing through them. We’re dizzy with the sight: a banana plantation here, a papaya tree there, even the roadside ditches are nurturing sugar cane. A little white cloud here and there settles above the forest.

Soon we arrive to the botanical garden (Jardin de Balata), which we were very excited to see. The natural flora of the island is on display here in the form of a park. This beautiful garden is built into the hillside. They are trying to lure hummingbirds with feeders to the entry. We have seen some of these cute little birds before on the beach, and on the hilltop at the Calvary, but never in such numbers as here. Once we enter, I am so astounded that even though the camera is in my hands, I am simply not able to lift it to my eyes to immortalize the moment. This state of wonder lasts for about ten minutes, then I need to wake up to catch up with the family. It’s not easy, I am mesmerized by each plant, they attract me like a magnet, I can hardly take one step.

Now I am taking pictures. The girls shout out every minute when they notice something interesting. I tell them the name of the plants, sometimes I have to consult the little plaque to figure out what exactly we are looking at. Bromelias, Orchids, Philodendrons with gigantic leaves and lots of other plants crowling up on the tree trunks. Poinsettia is often the undergrowth. The girls are running around among different kinds of palm trees on the closely trimmed lawn. Here is a little pond with waterlilies, there we can walk in a 5 meter high bamboo forest… then we arrive to the tree crown level where we can walk around about 15-20 meters above the ground on suspension bridges admiring the view (as for me, I am hanging on for dear life as I have vertigo; Domi takes the girls and watches over them). I try to focus on looking at and reaching the next tree trunk; at times I look around shyly. The girls are making fun of me, but now we are finally descending on the stairs. Oh, you can even see the sea in the distance. Now we reached the side of the hill with a bigger lake where you can count tadpoles. A short tropical shower erupts bringing much rain, but we are well protected under the big trees. A little rest stop at the playground (no one is there, the sun is out again). Soon it’s time to say goodbye to this garden of paradise. We could spend endless hours here, but new adventures await!