Is it Sint Maarten or St Martin? They are both correct. This 87 square kilometer island was divided between the Netherlands and France in 1648. Originally the island was settled by Arawak Indians who arrived from South America . The Kalinago arrived later and called the island ‘Soualiga’, meaning Land of Salt. In 1493 Christopher Columbus claimed it for Spain and it was named Isla de San Martin. In 1624, some French grew tobacco in the French quarter. In 1631 the Dutch formed a small colony to collect salt, and that was followed by 17 years of fighting an unrest between France and the Netherlands. Finally in 1648 they decided to shake hands and each take half of the island. There were some issues after that, including the usual British trying to take over, but as of today the island is still French and Dutch owned. If travelers want fine wine and cheese they visit the French side and if they wants other good stuff they visit the Dutch side, and life is good.
On our first day here we explored on foot.
We found the ultimate gelato shop call the carousel, and had the tremendously difficult task of having to choose between about 60 different flavors. They had all the flavors we enjoyed in Mexico, plus many many more!
We decided that we’ll just have to keep going back to try them all! The creatures got a real kick out of the rotating door at the entrance, making the circle several times.
I just can’t take them anywhere!
We found delicious baguettes at a French bakery for a dollar, and Mycah thought she was pretty special to be carrying them in her backpack.
We stopped by the grocery store to pick up some fruit, milk and a few other things to tide us over until we found their version of Costco, and Jude fell in love with a sheep. (so she sat down and petted it!)
Every time I turned around the kids were laughing and teasing each other. One particular time, Emma had gravity issues and plopped down onto the floor by accident. When she stood up, Jude was hunched over the trolley killing herself laughing, and Aidan and Mycah were laughing too. So much fun in the isles.
On Saturday we rented a car after finding our where “Cost U Less” is, which is a large bulk food store. Places like that are our favorite places to provision. Before stopping there we drove down town Phillipsburg, and looked around. The creatures found a big blue camel to pose by.
We decided to have dessert for lunch and stopped by the Hard Rock Cafe.
The creatures loved the atmosphere, especially the Michael Jackson clothing and guitars. A funny little man walked up to us on the boardwalk afterward and inquired if all the children were mine. When I told him yes, and that there were 7 more, he said he was the 11th of 12, so I mentioned Emma was also an 11th child and he was instantly bonded with her and gave her a big hug.
We came across a biker wedding on the beach. It made me think of my brother.
All the bikes were lined up, and I couldn’t help but notice the cool snake kickstand on one particular bike…
Phillipburg is port to many cruise ships. Some days there are 10 cruise ships stopping by at a time! All sorts of vendors are set up all over the place. Once you’ve seen one you’ve seen them all!
By the time we reached Cost U Less, we were SO tired and just wanted to go home and snuggle down for the night. But, since we had the rental car we had to take advantage of being mobile, so we did some major provisioning. At first the creatures were goofy as usual,
just the usual grocery shopping routine…
Aidan found a pretty pink bike.
Some good music came on and Emma even danced with a random friendly Mister.
Pretty soon they ran out of steam and when I found Mycah, she was resting!
Emma sat down on the floor, looked around and asked, ‘Mom, who do you think sweeps all these floors?’
At that point I knew it was about time to wrap things up and get the creatures to bed!
Pushing the cart took all 4 of them…
We finally made it back to the marina, and the night watchman brought his fancy shmancy golf cart, helped us load everything into it and drove it to our boat for us. What a nice guy! We put a few things away but decided the rest could wait, and went to bed. It was a good day, especially because it meant that it was one day closer to Danny coming home!