The small tropical island of Mauritius, located in the southern hemisphere not far from Madagascar. It is a good vacation choice for winter in terms of nature, opportunities for water sports and price/quality ratio. I and my husband enjoyed 3 weeks of rest on this lovely land. We traveled from Tallinn to Paris first, and then had a direct flight to Mauritius.
In CDG I talked my husband into buying himself a pair of sunglasses. He has never liked wearing them, however, I insisted. You just cannot move around a tropical country without protecting your eyes from the sun. While waiting for the flight, we enjoyed Heroes of Might and Magic 3 on our laptop and the variety of vegetarian food.
The flight from Paris took us 11 hours. The plane was full: no place to lie or to extend your legs. Unfortunately, I don't belong to the lucky guys who can sleep on board in any possible position, therefore my journey was full of suffering. In the end, it was worth it. On my decent from the plane, I felt like the happiest person in the world.
Here I should add that in the late autumn I had a bad experience of vitamin D deficiency. Its symptoms made me wonder if I had a kind of dementia or a brain tumor. The doctor strongly recommended me to seek more sun, if possible. And I had never felt more pleasure from stepping into the sunny heat, than on my arrival to Mauritius. Most of the time, the temperature was around 28 degrees. Though January is the middle of summer in the southern hemisphere, the heat is not scorching. Sea winds and the abundance of trees considerably soften the climate.
We were staying at a mini-hotel called Dodo Apartments in a small village called Trou-d'Eau-Douce. Though our room was quite spacious and was looking good, I don't recommend the village itself. Trou-d'Eau-Douce is quite a dirty place with no space for pedestrians or cyclists to safely move around. Except for a tiny number of cafes, two abandoned buildings, a posh, colonial-era metal gate, and a small lake, there is nearly nothing to see, and you can only reach the places of interest by car. But if you plan nothing but bathe in the sea and lie in the sun, it will not be an issue. To more active travelers who like exploring the country, I would advise booking several hotels in different parts of the island.
Here's the typical pedestrian cross. Last year around 150 deaths were registered on the island's roads.
The shore is covered with mellow white sand, and pitch-back volcanic stones, the pieces of hardened lava, are scattered here and there, creating impressive seascapes. On these black rocks you may discover some crabs who can jump from one stone to another. Even a larger number of tiny, nearly transparent crabs will rush around you in the sand. The water is so warm that you can swim for an hour or so without going out. The air smells of trees, flowers, fruit and sea salt. After the dark greyness of winter Tallinn where we currently reside, it was great to enjoy the richness of color, light, and smells.
If you live in a park hotel and never go beyond its territory, Mauritius may seem a paradise. We lived among the houses of the locals who are mostly quite poor. Some houses look quite shabby or even dilapidated. Nonetheless, people know how to entertain themselves. At night they gathered on the beach playing music and dancing. It was not some kind of national holiday. It was an ordinary day. They didn't need a club, a discotheque, a stage to have fun and feel good. This was something truly good to see.
People in the street are friendly and helpful if you need to ask for directions. Those on the road are tolerant to those not accustomed to the left-hand driving (like me). The cuisine is great, but the local food stores have a surprisingly poor choice (you need to drive about 30 km to the supermarket). However, I want to say many thanks to the fruit seller who provided us with fresh and sweet Mauritian pineapples.
Giant fruit bat. Every sunset they cruise around the roofs and the trees.
He often visited us at night.
(to be continued)
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