Okay, so I haven’t visited every part of France but I have now been in Reunion Island for around 2 weeks and the little bits that I have seen have amazed me.
It is a tiny island, especially compared with its gargantuan neighbour Madagascar, but it is so varied!
I am living in St Benoit in the East of the island which is well known for having a lot of rain. So far I have been really lucky as it has been wonderfully sunny since I arrived, but as I am frequently told this will not last and it will soon start to rain every day. Actually I experienced what the rain here is like one morning for about half an hour; the downpour was so heavy and so hard that it felt like hailstones!
So when I first arrived my contact at one of the schools, Pierre, took me driving down the east coast to see some beautiful ‘bassins’, natural pools I suppose, as well as lovely waterfalls and what most amazed me was the cooled lava flow from a few years ago. It was just such a huge contrast between the forests on either side of this huge grey flow that went directly into the bright blue sea!
I should also mention here that the east of the island is pitted by these incredible ravines that have lush greenery crawling all over their sides and when the rainy season comes there will be gushing rivers there and perfect opportunities for white water rafting!
Last weekend a lovely lady called Marie-France drove me to see the west of the island. I couldn’t believe it but the difference between the two sides was huge. From abundant forest vegetation to just orange desert with a few cacti, it was so strange. But the west coast also has the good beaches, although you can’t go swimming everywhere or it’s very likely that you’ll get eaten by a shark. (No joke, last week a little dog was eaten by a shark when it went to fetch a piece of wood from the water..)
However, Reunion is most famous for its mountains. Sunday I went on a hike in the hills close to the capital city and got some incredible views of the wonderful bright blue sea stretching out to join up to the sky! Absolutely incredible. But I’ll let the photos speak for themselves.
Also on Wednesday a kind man called Olivier drove me into the mountains at the centre of the island, up to Hell-Bourg, which is officially one of ‘Les plus beaux villages de France’. It was around dusk, mist was starting to descend on the mountains and it was really atmospheric there with nothing but the sound of the river below and birds in the trees.
So in conclusion, I love Reunion because it is beautiful and lush and green and tropical and wonderful! 🙂 And what more could you want from an island?!