**13 March 2017**
Today we rented a van and explored some more of Martinique with new friends Mark and Kathy on Nancy Lu and Gary and Katherine on Tribasa Cross. Our goal was to visit St. Pierre, the original capital city of Martinique which was devastated in 1902 by an eruption of Mt. Pelee.
We wanted to visit this sea side town without having to fight morning traffic in the modern day capital of Fort de France, so we scoped out an alternate route on a smaller road that wound through the mountains. This would turn out to be quite an adventure, one that we didn’t expect.
Carrie was our designated driver and bravely maneuvered our van, with its standard transmission, up the miles of winding two lane road past small houses, with one or two work trucks on the road that made her squeeze by them with no room to spare. We stopped at a beautiful scenic overlook to give her a break, take some pictures and stretch our legs.
As we piled back into the van we had no idea that around the very next bend we would find a barricade across half the road blocking our way with a sign that translated to “Road Barred”.
There was no prior warning of any closure so we scratched our heads wondering what was blocking the road or how far we could get before having to turn around. Two different cars came down the road from past the barricade and with our broken French we found them to be hikers that confirmed the road was blocked somehow further on.
Without much choice we turned around and fortunately found an alternate route. It cost us an additional hour or so but no one seemed to mind much. It was a beautiful day and a welcomed change from the roaring winds on the water in our anchorage over the last two weeks.
I did my best to navigate through the maze of little hamlets along the way, but we were now well past lunchtime now and my head was starting to hurt. The other guys pitched in and we made it to St. Pierre about 2pm.
We enjoyed a delicious lunch at a tiny restaurant along the waterfront called Le Tamaya, where we found some other Cruisers with the same brilliant idea. The restaurant was named after a ship that often called on St. Pierre to trade goods but unfortunately was destroyed by the same eruption that destroyed the city.