The Wayfarer (mnfaure) wrote,
The Wayfarer

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Reunion à La Réunion

I've gone and done it again.

I put off posting the pics from our recent stay in Reunion Island, not because of laziness or sheer procrastination, but because of sickness and then one thing after another, piling up as those one-thing-after-another things like to do.  Now that I've finally got around to it, I'm not just doing to post a handful and it call it done. I have too many photos  to share to do that. Because you all need to see how beautiful and diverse the island is,  I'm going to post them by "day" of our visit.

So, we arrived on the night of the 9th (October. Yeah, I told you I was late in getting around to this), and, while it was raining, like our first arrival on Reunion Island back in January, this time the littoral road was open, and Ti Claude whisked us to her and Hervé's home in La Possession in no time at all. Her sense of hospitality was impeccable as usual, and she had a delicious creole meal ready for us. We caught up on old times (those dating back to January :P ) and planned our next day. We decided to get our shopping out of the way because more rain was in the forecast. And rain it did, but not until the afternoon! We had lovely weather that morning while we visited the Friday market in St Paul. However, it was a good thing we spend so much time in the sporting goods and computer stores because the afternoon was wet, wet, wet.

We awoke on the 11th to more rain. And supposedly, it wasn't even the rainy season yet. Having limited time to see the sites and a lot of sites to see, we decided to head to the volcano in hopes that the weather would improve the further south we went. Um, well, have a pic and see for yourselves:

Yeah, that was at Grand Bassin, and this and this are what we should have seen.

Back into the car we jumped and bravely carried on toward the Piton de la Fournaise. And joy of joys, just around St Pierre, we had about five minutes sun, just enough to convince us that we could get lucky on the volcano. After all, the last time we had gone, we'd had some fog and the view still cleared up at the top.

Alas. All the beautiful views of the Vallée de la Rivière des Remparts and La Plaine des Cafres were so cloud-locked on the way up, we could barely see the road in front of us.

At the peak, things were not much better, and instead of the gorgeous panorama of mineral colors, so arid and alien you could believe yourself on Mars, and clouds boiling up over the crater lip like you stood at the world's edge, we got to see rain. We did however get to experience 16°C (probably less actually; we took the temp with [info]mana_trini 's dive watch. Just stuck it out there on the windshield). That was quite invigorating, exciting, and all around lovely. My fingers were frozen! Frozen, I tell you! :D

<-- This looks pretty hostile and alien, too, I guess, but it wasn't the view we were hoping Julien's mother would get of the crater.

Nor was this:
(But, look! Vegetation! Thrilling, non?)

We sat in the car for an waiting for the view to clear, but it never did. We decided to head to the Grande Brulée (The Big Burned :P which is where the lava flows down to the sea when the volcano erupts) because it was something we hadn't seen the last time. I tentatively put forth that we could visit the volcano museum, but I could see that didn't really excite the mil,* and Julien quietly informed me on the side that museums were not his mom's thing.

On the way down the mountain, the clouds had pulled back far enough for us to see just the tiniest bit of the ramparts. This time, the vegetation was a bit greener than in January, um, I think.
In its cloak of mist, this side
looks a lot gentler but only
slightly more inviting than
I found it the last time-->

And not a lot further down, flowers that I shall call wild lilies, and which the Réunoinais call "aromes," start growing in clumps in the middle of hills that look like they should be somewhere, oh, I don't know, English or Scottish or Walish (only kidding about that last one, I *know* what it really is;) ). Somewhere other than an island in the middle of the Indian Ocean, anyhow.

This is more fitting of my preconceived notion of Reunion Island vegetation and landscape, a waterfall, creek, lots of greenery and vines with tufts of unruly bamboo crowning the whole:


We finally made it to the southeastern coast, not without almost having an accident due to the steep and slippery roads and the pretty poor brakes of our rental car. I'm so glad Julien was driving and not moi.

I was so glad we decided to visit the Grande Brulée. It was really an amazing sight and would have been only more amazing still if we could have seen the lava while it was still hot and flowing. As it is, we had rain! Which actually made the scene more impressive than it would have otherwise been. These first photos of from a flow that dates back to 2004 (I'm almost positive of the date, but didn't note it at the time, so...)
Slowly but surely, Nature is reclaiming her rights...

If I'm remembering correctly, the most recent spectacular lava flow dates to 2007, but in April of this year, part of the crater collapsed. Still this still-hot rock, hot enough to steam when rained upon, is at least a year old! Julien had to replace his savates (flip-flops) after walking on it.

It might look a bit
chilly and wintry, but <--that isn't frost on
those poor
burned branches.

And those-->
aren't clouds; it's
billows of steam from the rocks. :-|

After gathering a few lava rocks, full of irridescent flakes, we headed back towards La Possession, taking a detour to see the Takamaka Falls. Unfortunately, there were so many clouds, we only saw faint traces of white through the billows of gray. I shall spare you the photographic evidence. We did, however, see some aborescent ferns, which are so deliciously prehistoric. Growing as they are amidst lush foliage on a steep slope, you can't see their trunks. Boo.

And that wraps up the first day of sightseeing! In the forecast: Sunshine, some cloudy skies...
* I don't know if I've shared this or not, but a large portion of Witherwilds, my WIP, takes place on a volcanic island, and I was so excited to have the chance to go back to Reunion Island, to hopefully interview some specialists and do other research. The weather wasn't favorable, so going to the museum would have been a good alternative to being onsite, and I could have talked to some experts. That I wasn't able to go really bummed me out. That's the problem with joint vacations. :(

Tags: pics, réunion

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