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Reunion in the Indian Ocean: Hell-Bourg round trip

Travel Reunion, an island in the Indian Ocean, travel
A small part of France lies out in the middle of the Indian Ocean with Africa and the South Pole as neighbors. Reunion is to that extent something in itself.
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Reunion in the Indian Ocean: Hell-Bourg round trip is written by Jacob Gowland Jørgensen

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Climate test rabbit

There is a small island where nature gives it gas. As a test rabbit for the climate, Reunion is exposed in The Indian Ocean for almost everything nature can come up with of violent and fascinating elements.

We look suspiciously at the thermometer in the car on the way up to the volcano Piton de la Fournaise, because even though the trip up there is amazingly beautiful with viewpoints everywhere, we may have underestimated nature. 14ºC, 12ºC and finally 8ºC on a tropical island at just 2,5 kilometers altitude.

We have to hike for three to four hours to get to one of the world's most active volcanoes and have sensible hiking gear on, but after an hour a heavy downpour sets in and we glide around on the lava rocks.

It is not enough, and we must return; up the crater and into the car with clattering teeth. We roll down from the village of Hell-Bourg towards the capital, where the temperature hits 27ºC a few hours later, and we get the heat again.

And so it is on the island, where there is always a place where the sun shines and there is always a place where it falls down - even though the island is actually smaller than Funen. Welcome to Reunion, a small piece France i The Indian Ocean.

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Globe Hills at Reunion

How often is it just that a Facebook update sends one around the globe? In my case, such an update from another traveler opened my eyes to the fact that my SAS bonus points could make me Svalbard.

When that trip was booked, this message came on Facebook: "Does anyone want to look after the villa, doggies and Volvo at Reunion in August?" Uh yes, you can believe it, and vupti was one of the strangest itineraries laid.

First five days on Svalbard and then to Reunion and Mauritius in three weeks. From 'next stop North Pole' to 'next stop South Pole'in a few days.

A little gloomy, we were well received by the Danish-French couple we know, and driven up the mountain to the villa with pool, spa, sea views, all kinds of animals and two people who love French cooking and company. There we knew that the many hours on the plane were worth it.

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Reunion and rain records

In many places on our planet, entire countries turn black when nature ravages. If there was any doubt as to whether one can negotiate with the climate, then the obvious misunderstanding has apparently been washed away and blown away over the past few years. For nature does not forgive - it rules.

At Reunion, crazy nature experiences are part of everyday life. Not far from the piton de la Fournaise on the east coast, several of the world's rain records have been set - here 1,8 meters of water fell in 24 hours in 1952 and almost four meters of water in 72 hours in 2007.

12% of all the world's hurricanes hit the island, ie more than 10 a year. In average. Therefore, all houses are also hurricane-proof, and it is a requirement that you as a resident know what to do when the hurricane warning comes. Because if you go into a hurricane here, you will not be saved.

This is how it goes when the mountain peaks stick up in the middle of a huge sea without other gathering points for the clouds.

Incidentally, the volcano is in a major eruption every three years, and lava often flows from la Fournaise - "The Furnace" in French - because Reunion is located on top of a 'geological hotspot', as it is called.

The entire island located in the Indian Ocean then practically also consists of three giant craters, which does not make it any less impressive that over 800.000 people live, even in villages inside the craters.

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What weather do you want?

One of these villages is located right by the volcano, and here the fine church speaks its clear language about the ravages of nature. The lava is all around the church, so an entrance has been dug out, and the local saint is called 'Virgin Mary with the Umbrella'.

Incredibly, it did not rain as we passed by, and we enjoyed the sight of the lava fields swaying and steaming as waves sent from Antarctica crash in and the palm trees sway in the wind. A somewhat unusual combination of natural phenomena.

However, this corner of the island is only one of over 200 microclimates on the island, which also means that if you want sun, yes, then you just set the GPS on one of the seaside resorts in the west, where you will also find the island's beautiful sandy beaches . We wanted to, and we got it right there. Smart.

Here is a good flight offer for Reunion - click on "see offer" inside the page to get the final price

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Drooling vanilla sticks

Humans are as unusual as nature. Almost half are, according to statistics, a mix of Europeans, Africans and South Asians, and with European, Indian and Malagasy minorities, the whole color palette is in use. Here you will find the crucible that other countries talk about, just done in practice and all in good order.

At the market in the capital Saint-Denis, I threw myself over some of the local fruits, and in the good 10 minutes that passed while I got to chew my way through them, I saw exactly 0 pairs, both of which had the same ethnicity. None.

The handsome salesman of the forest snails, as we christened the local full-fat giant vanilla sticks, was as dark in skin as his girlfriend was pale. The seller's mother, on the other hand, looked a little Indian.

Here you can find a great deal on hotel in Reunion

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French culture shines through

The fact that Reunion is part of France means that the common, cultural frame of reference is European, but it is probably a fascinating Creole version of it.

The national drink is rum with local fruits, and spices and food are also in a category of their own. Duck with vanilla sounds like something that could be in "Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares", but here it's a delicacy and it tastes really good. We got it served in pouring rain in the village that a few years ago won the award as France's most beautiful city.

Speaking of opposites, the town is of course called Hell-Bourg… If you come early in the day, you can see why it won the award, as Hell-Bourg's fine houses are unusually beautifully located inside the Salazie crater, and early in the day have rarely gathered enough clouds for it to rain. If this is hell, it's going to work. Just remember the rain jacket, the trekking boots and the sunscreen.

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Have a good trip to Reunion in the Indian Ocean!

What to see in Reunion? Sights and attractions

  • Piton volcano of the Fournaise
  • The village of Hell-Bourg
  • The capital city of Saint-Denis
  • Trou de Fer waterfall
  • Reunion National Park
  • Grande Anse beach

About the author

Jacob Jørgensen, editor

Jacob is a cheerful travel nerd who has traveled in almost 100 countries from Rwanda and Romania to Samoa and Samsø. Jacob is a member of De Berejstes Klub, where he has been a board member for five years, and he has extensive experience with the travel world as a lecturer, magazine editor, consultant, author and photographer. And of course most important of all: As a traveler. Jacob enjoys traveling traditionally such as car holidays to Norway, cruises in the Caribbean and city breaks in Vilnius, and more out-of-the-box trips such as solo trips to the highlands of Ethiopia, road trips to unknown national parks in Argentina and friends trips to Iran.

Jacob is a country expert in Argentina, where he has been 10 times so far. He has spent almost a year in total traveling through the many diverse provinces, from the penguin land in the south to deserts, mountains and waterfalls in the north, and has also lived in Buenos Aires for a few months. In addition, he has special travel knowledge of such diverse places as East Africa, Malta and the countries around Argentina.

In addition to traveling, Jacob is an honorable badminton player, Malbec fan and always fresh on a board game. Jacob has also had a career in the communications industry for a number of years, most recently with the title of Communication Lead in one of Denmark's largest companies, and has for a number of years also worked with the Danish and international meeting industry as a consultant, among others. for VisitDenmark and Meeting Professionals International (MPI). Jacob is currently also an external lecturer at CBS.

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