Stucko the Iguana

Green iguanas wander around our property – we usually see at least one a day, climbing the giant tamarind tree, hanging out by the pool, or eating morning glories. They tend to be pretty shy and skittish, and we enjoy coming up with names for them. This guy was originally named Loki because he wasn’t quite so shy, but after this little adventure, we renamed him to Stucko. He’s borderline friendly now, having learned that we definitely mean him no harm. 🙂

Green Heron, Blackbirds in Guadeloupe

We are visited by tons of birds every day: large numbers of birds and many different species. While we see blackbirds and at least two different kinds of doves every day, this green heron is only an occasional visitor, so I feel lucky to have gotten him on video, however briefly.

Rare sighting of a beautiful green heron, plus lots of blackbirds, including a youngish one squawking constantly to be fed.

An Iguana Tail Tale

Iguana in a flowering tamarind treeThis is the story of an iguana in Guadeloupe. Iguanas come and go on our property – some we recognize for a while then never see again, while others are anonymous creatures that we never get to know. Sometimes they wander in our front door – and then usually get freaked out when they see us and hide in ridiculously small gaps behind appliances and furniture for a day or more, then sneak out when the coast is clear. Other times we barely spot them racing across the driveway or hanging out on the periphery. Generally speaking, they are extremely shy (though there are exceptions). Despite their sometimes fearful appearance, iguanas would much rather take flight than fight. Continue reading

Why Guadeloupe?

Waterfall near Souffrière volcano

Waterfall near Souffrière volcano

People often ask why my husband and I decided to move permanently to Guadeloupe – and by permanently, I mean we are actually buying a piece of property to build a home and a small business. Up until now, we have always rented. Though we’ve lived two years or more in a few places – Morocco, France, Pennsylvania – we always knew that they were temporary homes. This time, we plan to stay. So, why Guadeloupe?

There are several reasons, and perhaps the most important is also the most banal: we like the weather. I am très frileuse, as the French put it: very intolerant of cold. We would have liked to stay in France, but after 5 years, I realized it was just too cold. Hyères has the Mistral, which can make even warm days chilly, so after a lot of research we moved to the warmest place dans l’Hexagone: Menton, whose microclimate and protective mountains result in moderate winters. Even so, I was still cold and unhappy for several months of the year, so we had to look further afield. Continue reading

6 corners of the Hexagon: Atlantic Coast

Some of the most interesting places on France’s Atlantic coast are quite remote.

Quiberon France
Quiberon © LKL

We spent two nights on the presqu’île of Quiberon, in southern Bretagne. The beaches are lovely, and the town of Quiberon is kind of cute, but the others on the peninsula are nothing special.

La Flotte France
La Flotte, Ile de Ré © LKL

In contrast, ÃŽle de Ré, in Poitou-Charentes, is home to numerous cute towns (including two Most Beautiful Villages). We spent three nights in Sainte-Marie-de-Ré, and enjoyed talking to our hosts about the boom in housing and tourism that has occurred there since the car ferry was replaced by a toll bridge in 1988. Fortunately, there aren’t as nearly as many houses as there could be, as a lot of the land is covered in grapevines; as for the wine, however, c’est pas terrible.

Arcachon France
Arcachon © LKL

In Aquitaine, the small town of Soulac-sur-mer is filled with lovely, unique villas, as are a few streets in the much larger Arcachon. They both also have beautiful beaches and I can easily imagine living in either town for a year or two. A short drive from Arcachon is the Dune du Pilat – at 107 meters, it’s the largest sand dune in Europe. The climb up can be a bit difficult, but the view from the top is extraordinary.

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About 6 corners of the Hexagon

6 corners of the Hexagon: Third corner!

The exact location of the third corner isn’t obvious like the others. The westernmost point of France is l’île d’Ouessant, but we wanted to stick to the continent for the purposes of our hexagon. The westernmost point of continental France is Pointe de Corsen, which is considered the theoretical divider between the English Channel and the Atlantic Ocean. (Source: Pointe de Corsen, Terres celtes) In looking at a map of France, however, this point doesn’t exactly stand out. We feel that the part of Finisterre that pokes out just north and south of the Crozon peninsula is more corner-like, so we decided that those points together constitute the third corner.

Third corner of France part AThe point to the north is Kermorvan, a small cape with a lighthouse near the town of Le Conquet, from which the ferries to île d’Ouessant leave. It was incredibly windy the day we visited, and one of our umbrellas, already fragile from Bretagne’s infamous weather, more or less self-destructed, leaving behind a naked skeleton with the ripped waterproof material flapping in the wind. It was a memorable visit.

Third corner of the Hexagon part BOur second contender to the third corner crown was la Pointe du Raz, which turned out to be an internationally renowned, protected site, and was far more popular among hikers and picnickers than we’d expected.

Our route to the third cornerHere’s our map from the second corner to the third, complete with detours to Paris and Loire Valley. Remember that pink indicates our route as well as towns we actually walked around and/or ate in. Blue highlights where we stayed. You can click the map to see a much bigger version.

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About 6 corners of the Hexagon

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