Sunday Special – Réunion Island


A small island that is blessed with natural beauty is tucked away in the Indian Ocean in the shadows of Madagascar and Mauritius. This isle, known as Réunion Island, is located approximately 700 km / 434 miles east and 200 km / 124 miles southwest of Madagascar and Mauritius, respectively. As a French overseas island it is part of the European Union (E.U.) though it remains outside of the Schengen zone thus retaining its own immigration code.

Regarded mainly for its abundance of hiking trails for all levels (over 900 km / 559 miles) its mountainous and volcanic terrain draws outdoor lovers into its fold. With trails for all experience levels one can take in lush rain forests, peer into the crater of an still active volcano (Piton de la Fournaise), gaze at fields of cane sugar, and even learn about the flora, fauna and geology of the area with a discovery trail. In fact, the island has such incredible topography that 40% of it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

Though there is more to Réunion than the volcanoes, cirques and calderas.  Stunning beaches, natural marine reserves, flowing rivers and more. Even though it is a French territory there is a mixture of cultures that add a vibrant element to the islands culture. Peoples from Madagascar, Africa, Europe, and Asia all flavour the culture, music, and the food. This place strikes me as a wonderful place to explore and unwind at the same time. 

Cascade_Langevin

Langevin Falls (also known as Grand Galet Falls) in Reunion National Park – Photo credit: No machine-readable author provided. JoKerozen assumed (based on copyright claims)., Cascade LangevinCC BY-SA 2.5

 

ReU_PtFournaise_KraterDolomieu

Crater of Piton de la Fournaise, Reunion Island – Photo credit: User: Bbb at wikivoyage shared, ReU PtFournaise KraterDolomieuCC BY-SA 3.0

Advertisements

Sunday Special – Naoshima Island, Japan


Art aficionados, you may want to add this place to your list. Set in the Seti Inland Sea, the small Naoshima Island of approximately 3,000 residents is filled with museums and outdoor modern art installations. A change of pace from Japan’s city life, a small journey via train and boat to this unique island may be an ideal getaway. 

Once a place of dying industry, it’s revitalization came about mainly because of the Benesse Corporation working to set up museums and buildings, many by architect Tadao Ando. Today there are numerous art collections and museums that make it a great place to wander about outside and indoors. Some of the collections are:

  • Art House Project – Abandoned houses found on the eastern portion of the island that have been converted into art or venues housing art
  • Benesse House – A main museum on the island, this not only has art housed within its walls but outside as well
  • Chichu Art Museum – An underground museum with natural light flowing in from above, it was designed to use the light from nature to showcase its art. Paintings by Walter De Maria, Claude Monet, and James Turrell are housed here
  • I♥YU Sento (Bath House) – Unwind with a leisurely soak amidst artwork created by Shinro Ohtake

  • Individual art projects around the island such as a collection of mini Buddhas, the large welcoming Yellow Pumpkin and the Red Pumpkin (both by Yayoi Kasuma), and the Three Vertical Square Diagonal (by George Ricky).

This art island strikes me as a place to explore and wander at a slow pace, taking in modern interpretations of art. Not a bad way to spend a day or two.

Red_Pumpkin_-_Yayoi_Kusama_(8953340449)

Red Pumpkin by Yayoi Kasuma – Naoshima Island, Japan – Photo credit: KimonBerlin, Red Pumpkin – Yayoi Kusama (8953340449), CC BY-SA 2.0

Naoshima9000

One of the Art House Projects, Naoshima Island – Photo is Public Domain