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Did you read my post on “Sunk Costs and Elephant Spray“? I postulated the possibility that we might cancel our trip to New York. Guess what? We cancelled our trip to New York!

Not because of the weather over there as it turned out. Rather that I had an emergency operation on 10 February and only came out of hospital on the 16th. We were due to fly on the19th. Amazingly, the hotel – The Wellington are giving us a full refund despite my having elected for the non-refundable option. And KLM are giving us a full credit valid for 12 months. So we didn’t even need to claim on our travel insurance. If you are planning a trip and paying by credit card, the chances are that you will get free travel insurance, but you must arrange for your policy and obtain a copy of it before departure. Only then can you consider yourself insured.

By 20th I was feeling fit to travel, so we flew to Reunion Island on Sunday 23rd February for a week. Now there’s a holiday destination! You can keep Mauritius and Seychelles, Reunion is part of France and the EU. The food and wine are absolutely French, (the food in the supermarkets makes Woolys look like a corner cafe) as is the language, so you’ll need to read my post on Parlez-vous franglais? I enjoyed using my atrocious French but you can actually get by with English if you are not the adventurous type. You must hire a car. Make sure that it is fully insured and that it has a GPS. And, if you can afford it, take a helicopter flip over the island early on in your stay (they pick up from hotels in the St Paul and Boucon Canot region on the West coast.. You’ll look down on three amazing extinct volcano craters (they call them Cirques) and also, if you’re lucky with the weather (we weren’t), fly over the world’s second most active volcano (about every 8 years). The most active is in Hawaii. After the helicopter trip, you’ll have a good understanding of the layout of the island so then when you drive into the cirques you’ll appreciate where you are. We drove all around inside the Cirque de Salazie and the Cirque de Cilao and didn’t realise that we were actually inside, that’s because we took the helicopter ride later in the week.

The weather on the West coast is far better than on the East and next time we would stay on the West side for the whole holiday as you can drive right around the island in about 5 hours, so access to the East coast is plenty good enough. The roads inland are narrow and twisting (the GPS map looked like my intestines which had been the subject of that operation) and usually with a straight sided drainage ditch stargin right at the edge of the road and about 1/2 metre deep. We saw two cars with a wheel over the edge. I found myself using the GPS map to decide what gear I should be in when entering a corner (1st for switchbacks, 2nd for the rest). Your Meet and Greet may put you off the minor roads, but after the helicopter trip we took the secondary road (well paved all the way) up to Piton Maido from where you can overlook the Cirque de Mafate which is otherwise accessible only by helicopter or on foot. About 900 people live in the Cirque (it’s about 7km in diameter). How’s that for a peaceful life?


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