Tuesday, April 21, 2015

A Mauritian Mountain Getaway

As I've sorely neglected this blog for the 20 months we've been here, I thought I'd write about some of the things we've seen and done since we arrived here back in July 2014. Today, I thought I'd share a few days we spent in a part of that Mauritius isn't internationally renowned (but perhaps should be): the mountains.
Our good friends invited us to join them for a few days in a place called Chamarel, nestled in the peaks and valleys of the mountains toward to southeast of this little island. I had no idea what to expect, but it ended up being, by far, one of our favourite adventures on the island.

Our friends encouraged us to bring warm pyjamas, sweaters, and long sleeves, particularly for nighttime. I thought they were crazy at first, but I was so glad we heeded their advice. It was July, the middle of winter for Mauritius, and although in our part of the island, to the North, it barely gets below 65F (18C) at night, in the mountains to the south it dipped closer to 55F (12C) which, I assure you, feels quite frigid after a year of non-stop tropical heat.
The View From Our Kitchen Window
We arrived at our little cabin, perfectly picturesque, nestled in lush, green trees and planted firmly in rich, terracotta soil, which reminded me so much of my years playing in the red clay earth of Alabama. Our little cabin had one bedroom, big enough to house a queen bed, a twin bed, and a travel cot, thank goodness. The little kitchen had a window that framed the beautiful valley below us. The dining table was outside, so we could spend our mornings eating breakfast and taking in that perfect view.
Our friends have two little boys, one C's age, one M's age, so it was perfect. They spent all their time playing outside (not an iPad or iPhone in sight!). On our first morning, we packed everyone into the cars and drove, for the first time, to Le Morne beach to watch the kite surfers.

That afternoon, we had lunch at Le Chamarel.  We ate Kreol dishes (think roasted boar shank and dorado vindaye curry) and took in this spectular vista:
That night we had a delicious dinner al fresco, BBQ with plenty of wine, followed by toasted marshmallows as we cozied around the fire.

The following day began late, with lunch and a tour at the Chamarel Rhumerie, tasting the fabulous  flavoured rums and sampling the delicious compotes and confitures made on site:
Full and happy after a good meal, we moved on to visit the Chamarel Waterfall, where enormous fruit bats the size of hawks soared overhead. The kids thought this was amazing (as did I!). Unfortunately, they were a bit camera shy.

And then to the Seven Coloured Earth, which is quite a wonder, as apparently even if you take a big jar full of the earth, mix it all up, the different colours will eventually separate on their own into a spectrum of reds, oranges, browns, and purples. It was beautiful, especially against the green of the mountain behind it.

While there, we drank sugar cane juice (which is just as sweet as you'd imagine). They put the cane into this crazy contraption and voila!

We visited the giant tortoises...

...then headed back to the cabin for naps, play time, and another amazing dinner with friends.

On our last morning, we took the kids to The Curious Corner, where we all had a great time exploring, climbing trees, and somehow ended up standing on the ceiling.

We can't wait to go again, very soon!

*all photos courtesy of yours truly and the hubby.

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