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During my four months on La Reunion my twin sister Kira and I got to know many very nice people. We met the most people in La Reunion due to hitchhiking. This is by far the easiest way to meet locals. It led to many wonderful experiences and insights into the life of the locals. I can highly encourage you to throw your fears overboard and try hitchhiking. You can meet locals and experience things that are far away from the usual tourist stuff.
Mickael a family man who showed us how the locals can drink Rum
Right at the beginning of our time we wanted to go to a hiking starting point 13 km away. Since we lived in the middle of the desert and the bus only passed there 4 times a day, there was no question which means of transport we wanted to use. As soon as we had walked a few steps up the mountain, one of the few cars stopped right in the middle of the desert. The driver was a nice young man named Mickael. He was on his way to a meeting with relatives. After a short conversation in the car our ways would have separated again, because he did not want to drive the extremely long distance (10 km last around 45 min because of the gradient and the richness of the curves) up to the hiking starting point. But without thinking much about it, he changed his plans at short notice to take us all the way to the top. Very friendly! Fortunately, we exchanged numbers before saying goodbye, as a week later we were invited to a family picnic on the beach.
Family parties are very common on La Reunion and often the families are very big. Not only did we have the opportunity to talk to nice people, but we also enjoyed local food specialities. Another time we visited together with Mickael a family birthday, on which the celebrants definitely proved their drinking ability. One could consider the consumption of alcohol (especially rum) on the whole as questionable on the island. But some people there understand celebrations. Such a relaxed, fun atmosphere I was rarely allowed to experience at family celebrations.
Fabrice the owner of a little garden paradise who let us try sugar can juice
Another acquaintance I will always remember is Fabrice. Completely exhausted after the ascent and camping on the highest peak of the Indian Ocean (Piton de Neiges) we arrived in the high situated Cilaos again and had to find out that it looks rather bad with a bus.
So fingers out and off we went. It didn’t take long until a car with a man and a young girl stopped. They took us down with them and dropped us off at a bus station. On this day we were just glad that we could sit and wait for buses and close our eyes during the trip. A few weeks later we visited Fabrice for a night at home. Fascinating was his garden. Since five years he ordered a property, which in my eyes is a little paradise. Everything the heart desires grows there. He showed and explained and everything, we helped with some cleanup work. Beside many coconut palms, lemon trees, avocado trees and palmiers (attention, very sneaky spines!), he cultivates sugar cane there. There was a direct taste of them. We picked a coconut. Fabrice opened it for us with a machete. Anyone who has tried this before will have noticed that it takes a little practice. But the work is not unrewarded. Coconut fresh from the tree is simply delicious. Also sugar cane, which he cut and peeled for us so that we could suck out the super sweet juice. Something so sweet directly from nature. I can only recommend to test it.
Dorian who even came to Madagascar with us
My probably deepest encounter while hitchhiking I was allowed to experience with Dorian. One day after a hiking tour we wanted to go home and saw a young man with an infinitely cute little dog. To our question whether he could take us with him, he answered directly cordially. This acquaintance became a friendship. We often went hiking together, met friends, went to concerts. We even built a small raft together in a dreamlike lagoon. Dorian fascinates me because a year ago he led a completely different life and then changed a lot because he realized that he didn’t want to be stuck in a job for the rest of his life that didn’t satisfy him. Courageous, courageous, what decisions he made. At the end of my stay on La Reunion, I was surprised by his spontaneity. To my, and of course also Kiras great joy, he decided that he will shorten his planned time on La Reunion, in order to go on a small trip to Madagascar with us . Said – done! He actually joined our small travel group in Madagascar. Since then we are sure that he is not only a wonderful person but also an ideal travel companion. I can already look forward to hopefully many more moments together with him…besides a short visit of him in Germany, working together in Australia is also on our (dream?) list. Where there is a will, there is a way! 😊
More information on Hitchhiking in La Reunion can you find here.