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.
Now we are on the way to Maputo, Mozambique where we look forward to an exciting African Safari adventure!
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!
Our next port is La Possession on the island of Reunion.