Apres le Deluge Le Refuge de St Paul
Apres le Deluge le Refuge de St Paul
A little further along the N2 highway we came across dense traffic, reminding us of the M25, London orbital, and we sat for long periods in stationary traffic near St Joseph, St Pierre and St Louis, so instead of visiting these towns, two with old ports, we headed on along a second highway, no doubt built to relieve the congestion near these popular coastal towns, The Route des Tamarins and soon found ourselves in the charming and historic St Paul, just a short distance SW of Le Port and Zoonie, our circumnavigation of the island nearly complete.
We welcomed the dry warmth of this sun-bathed place after the cool and moist higher altitude of the pitons and dived into a restaurant for a late lunch with a glass of red wine. A wander along the inviting shore-front and a little immersion in history was called for and we were only too happy to escape the twenty first century tarmac rat race, back in time to a world of pirates, French and English battle ships of the 18th century, cannon fire, smoke, splintering wood, fountains of blood, imprisonment and slavery. It wasn’t hard for us to imagine as we are presently embarking on the final series of Black Sails, in its heady mix of fiction and non-fictional story-telling of similar human efforts in the birth of a nation, this time Nassau, Bahamas. Here, the more recent history of agricultural wealth made possible by slavery, the giant manacles will ensure that residents and visitors alike will never forget the struggle and human sacrifice that gave birth to modern day La Reunion.
From the end of the modern pier we could look back at the pretty bay and imagine the first permanent inhabitants arriving here in the 17th century. Some of the 19th century basalt rock built buildings still stand including the fine pale yellow double fronted building with its columned and enclosed balcony which I believe is now a hotel. The 21st Century road tunnel through the cold basalt rock completed our tour through time of this lovely island; with all its contrasts of culture, topography, nationalities, climates, traditions and cuisines it is small wonder it is affectionately known as L’Ile Intense.
I have included a picture of the Orange and charcoal Agama Lizard because we saw them everywhere, they are a cute mix of shy and curious. The Red Fody birds are so shy and quick they are impossible to photograph except from an existing picture and the white Le Reunion Dodo bird is equally impossible but in its case because, as you know, it did not outlive its reputation for being fearless and tasty. Apparently geneticists somewhere are optimistic they can re-create the DNA of this Dodo!
Tomorrow we plan to take a bus to visit St Denis, the island’s capital on the north shore as it would be a shame to leave the island without seeing its capital and it is so close.