The live volcano had been erupting for the last week and Joseph had invited David and I to join him and his family on a trip to the south of the island to see the area of Piton de la Fournaise and then lunch at their favourite restaurant.
La Fournaise, the furnace, volcano in the south east part of the island is reported to be one of the most active volcanoes in the world. There is a large tongue of lava which flows east into the sea called Grande Brule, the big burn. It's been smoking and spewing ash for a week. We saw the orange glow in the sky as we were sailing towards the island on Wednesday morning.
|looking over Plain des Sables towards volcano|
The main roads which follow the coast all the way around the island are good and fast, but as soon as you turn inland the terrain steepens, the roads become narrower and the bends sharper. We climbed up from the coast through prime agricultural land, plenty of cows and plenty of farms up to the unfertile, towards the upper limits of La Fournaise and a look out over Les Plaine des Sables, a moon like landscape of orange dust, flat, rocky at the edges and one road leading towards the car park closest to the volcano. Today we stopped at this view point to gaze across the expanse, but opted not to go further because the road further on had been closed for safety. Again we were at about 2200m and the temperature was cool enough for a light jumper – hard to imagine we are in the tropics.
As we descended the warmth returned. At the restaurant there was a small fire burning and a big crowd in for lunch. QG, Quartier General, is owned by Abu and his brother who come originally from Senegal. The welcome was warm, the food fabulous and portions large. Abu's trademark Senegalese chicken dish was already sold out so I choose a creole chicken dish, David black pudding. Chef Abu is a friend of Joseph and came to join us after service. David commented on Abu's hat, said he found it colourful and with that Abu jumped up and brought one out as a present for his English guest. I shall now insist David wears it when he makes our bread.
|Joseph, David, Abu and me|
|A hat for a chef!|