La Possesion, Reunion Island

2018 HAL World Cruise

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

This tiny speck of an island, originally known as Bourbon, lies in the Indian Ocean east of Madagascar.  It belongs to France and is referred to as a “department.”  I read in the newsletter, Traveller.com, that flying from Paris’ Charles de Gaulle Airport to Reunion is an 11-hour non-stop flight.  That makes it the longest domestic flight ever!

Originally discovered by the Portuguese in 1513.  This formerly uninhabited island grew with French immigration from the 17th to 19th centuries, supplemented by influxes of Africans, Chinese, Malagasy, and Malabar Indians.  It became an important stopover on the East Indies trade route.  This importance lasted until 1869 when the Suez Canal opened and changed shipping patterns.  Reunion remained a colony of France until 1946 when its status changed to “department of the French Republic.”  However, just as the Seychelles have a rich culture melded of many different ethnic groups, so too does Reunion share that creole architecture, cuisine, music and art.  It’s an interesting place.

Docked in La Possesion, Reunion Island.
Docked in La Possesion, Reunion Island.
The topagraphy reminds us of the Hawaiian Island of Kauai.
The topagraphy reminds us of the Hawaiian Island of Kauai.
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MS Amsterdam as seen from the shuttle as we heaad into the capital city of Saint-Denis.
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A new 6-lane highway rises out of the sea! This is because the steep cliffs along the current highway, between the port in La Posssion and the capital city of Saint-Denis, produce rock falls and landslides that close the road up to 40 times a year.
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These columns, embedded in the ocean bed, are built to withstand hurricane winds and heavy seas.
This project is budgeted at 2.43 billion dollars!
This project is budgeted at 2.43 billion dollars!
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The anticipated completion date is 2019. But there seems to be a lot more to do–maybe LATE 2019!
Street view in Saint Denis, Reunion
Street view in Saint-Denis, Reunion
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After arriving in Saint-Denis, we found this inviting promenade along the seafront.
So we promanaded to an old defense embankment.
So we promanaded to an old defense embankment.
I wonder how many times these cannons were used?
I wonder how many times these cannons were used?
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This is a statue of Roland Garros, a local hero born in Reunion in 1888, who was an ace pilot during WWI. He died October 5, 1918.
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Named for the local hero, the Le Roland Garros Restaurant is where we stopped for lunch.
Enjoying our traditional afternoon libation!
Enjoying our traditional afternoon libation!
Waterfall seen from the shuttle as we return to ship.
Waterfall seen from the shuttle as we return to ship.

 

Now we are on the way to Maputo, Mozambique where we look forward to an exciting African Safari adventure!

Victoria, Mahe Island, Seychelles

2018 HAL World Cruise

Saturday, March 24, 2018

 

For years, I’ve read articles about the Seychelles in travel magazines.  So, it was a joy to finally go there!  The Seychelles are composed of 115 islands.  We docked at Victoria on the island of Mahe.  This is the capital of the Seychelles and is the one of the smallest capitals in the world.  The city is charming.  First colonized by France in the 1700s and later controlled by Britain, the Seychelles gained independence in 1976.  But the French charm and the colonial architecture remind one of the former history.  The current population is descended from the Africans, Indians, and Chinese who were brought in to work the spice, sugar and cotton plantations.  Their language, music and food reflect these global influences.  They are called Creole, and their culture is very similar to that witnessed in New Orleans or the Caribbean!

From the dock, we could see this would be a charming port.
From the dock, we could see this would be a charming port.
A craft market was set up on the dock.
A craft market was set up on the dock.
Independence Ave is the main street through town.
Independence Ave is the main street through town.
The buildings are lovely.
The buildings are lovely.
A small Hindu Temple seen on a side street in town.
A small Hindu Temple seen on a side street in town.
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Kaz Zanana is the gallery of George Camille, a noted Seychelles artist. It is an old and restored Creole Cottage.
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The cafe seems to be permanently closed, but the artwork is lovely and very similar to the tropical art seen in the Caribbean.
Interior of the Kaz Zanana (obviously where the cafe once served.)
Interior of the Kaz Zanana (obviously where the cafe once served.)
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A vibrant and colorful work by George Camille. Very similar to the type of artwork found throughout the Caribbean.
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Enjoying a cup of tea prepared by the very nice lady manning the art gallery. The tea is grown locally. It is strong, served with milk and sugar. Quite nice!
The MS Amsterdam as seen from Victoria.
The MS Amsterdam as seen from Victoria.

 

 

Our next port is La Possession on the island of Reunion.