Mallorca Day Trips: How to Spend the Perfect Day in Cala d’Or

Mallorca has a crazy amount of fascinating places and experiences to offer for holidaymakers from all generations and all backgrounds. There is really something for everyone! One thing that everyone probably likes is a beautiful bay, good food, a wonderful sunset and a boat trip. Have you heard anyone ever say no to that!? Me neither….

So, today we’re exploring the East side of Mallorca. Whereas last time we visited Santanyi (see my other blog post) and the picturesque Cala Santanyi, today we’re visiting Cala Figuera and Cala d’Or. I want to show you how you can spend a perfect day in this part of the island, so that you are 100% holiday proof for your next trip!

In this post you will find out:

  • The top spots to visit near Cala d’Or
  • The best place to eat and have a drink in Cala d’Or
  • Why you should not miss out on Cala Figuera
  • Which is the best sunset boat trip in the area
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The 10 Best Hotels in Mallorca For Gypsy Souls

It is no longer a secret that I am a Gypsy Soul, I love to travel and I developed my nomadic soul definitely while living here on Mallorca. The past few months on this beautiful island have been a blessing and I have had the opportunity to visit many of its beautiful villages, beaches, restaurants and hotels. Today I want to share with you the hotels that I enjoyed most, based on the price, atmosphere, location, view, service, … you name it!

Time to explore some of the best hotels on Mallorca for Gypsy Souls!

This is my Top 10*:

  1. Cook’s Club, Palma Beach
  2. Hotel Mama, Palma de Mallorca
  3. Hotel Bella Colina, Paguera
  4. Hotel Sa Baronia, Banyalbufar
  5. Bikini Island & Mountain Resort, Port de Soller
  6. Hotel Dalt Muntanya, Orient
  7. Pension Bellavista, Port de Pollenca
  8. Boutique Hotel Jardi d’Arta, Arta
  9. Som Suret Cool Hotel, Portopetro
  10. Cal Reiet Holistic Retreats, Santanyi

*The hotels are not listed in order of preference.

1: Cook’s Club Palma Beach, Playa de Palma

OKAY, I work for Thomas Cook. That is no longer a secret. But… It is not because I work for Thomas Cook that I am going to list all Thomas Cook hotels here. No. I have carefully tested some of their branded hotels and resorts (such as this Cook’s Club Palma Beach), and this came out as my favorite one for gypsy souls (& digital nomads too, because it offers a co-working space!).

Cook’s Club is a new hotel chain with hotels opening all around the world for the new Millenial generation. It focuses on good music, street food on demand, great cocktails at the pool bar and chilled-out vibes. It also has a much more trendy and comfy vibes than any other typical holiday hotels that you will find in Playa de Palma (or tourist resorts), so if you’re looking for a beach holiday spot to crash, this is it! 

PS: Palma is only 1 bus ride of €1,50 away (so it’s also great for a city trip & beach getaway)!

2: Hotel Mama, Palma de Mallorca

If you want to stay in the city of Palma de Mallorca where the buzz is really going, then I completely understand. I am in LOVE with this city (ever since I started living here since March 2019). Although I do not need to sleep in hotels here (because I have a place to live), I do like to go check out other hotels, such as Hotel Mama, and particularly their rooftop terraces and pools. Yes, I am addicted to living a high-society life… 😉

One of the most chilled-out, highly From Julie With Love – styled design hotels in the city is Hotel Mama. That is: Artisan tiles, collector furniture, natural light and inspired by styles ranging from Art Deco to oriental influences! YES, make yourself at home here! Mama will take care of you, whether it is in one of the 6 different kind of prestigious room types, at the tapas bar or in the Grand Café, Hotel Mama is a pearl in the city (with great views over the cathedral and historic town)!

One more reason to visit Hotel Mama for me is the unique cinema experience that it offers with Cappucine: the hotel offers you to enjoy both vintage and contemporary films in a magical cinema inspired by some famous paintings that will brings you back to 1920s Paris. This is an extremely exclusive and comfortable movie theatre, that has screenings Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 5PM with only 30 seats. Original version with subtitles in Spanish. Bookings through the reception. 

3: Hotel Bella Colina, Paguera

A bit more to the West side of Mallorca, not particularly my favorite part of the island with party places for English and German tourists, there are some exceptions to the rule. Luckily! The reopened Bella Colina Vintage Hotel est. 1953 is one of those places that magically sets new standards and belongs to the most beautiful houses in the region.

It is located on a privileged hill-site in Paguera and therefore has a panoramic view of the Mediterranean Sea and the surrounding mountains. I am absolutely amazed by the happy and colorful vintage design of the lounge and the restaurant. Hotel Bella Colina So colorful that I cannot resist… Who would not love to spend some time there?! This is a place that will make you happy!

All rooms have airconditioning and there is also a swimming pool, a lounge and a pool bar with cocktails, snacks and relaxed music. Hammock spotted as well! Gosh, what a place!

4: Pension Sa Baronia, Banyalbufar

If you are looking for a place to relax and enjoy one of the best sunsets on the island, in my opinion, there is no better place than Pension Sa Baronia. For a really affordable price (I paid only 90 euros for a double room for 2 persons including breakfast in high season), you get to unwind completely and forget about all your sorrows.

My friends called me crazy when I said I was going to Banyalbufar – a really small village in the Sierra de Tramuntana – but I turned out to be right: it is an ideal place to relax after hiking or cycling, and there are some places to visit nearby, such as Torre del Verger (one of my Top 10 Instagram Spots on the island).

An absolutely gorgeous swimming pool located on the hill-side edge offers stunning views over the rural terraces and Mediterranean Sea whereas the hotel Sa Baronia itself is located in a 17thcentury old stately home.

5: Bikini Island & Mountain Hotel, Port de Soller

LIFE IS BETTER IN BIKINI, they say at Bikini Island & Mountain Hotel. Okay, this might not be the cheapest option of this hotel list, but it is on my ultimate Mallorca Bucket List ever since I got to the island and discovered the happy rainbow staircase of this hotel in Port de Soller.

One obligation: “If you’re going to Bikini, be sure to wear flowers in your hair.You’re going to meet some gentle people there!” it reads on the ground before entering the staircase. So, don’t break the rule and go 100% for your GIPSY SOUL outfit and mindset. Well yeah, after all… There are nice places, great places and there’s the Bikini Island & Mountain Hotel Port de Sóller

PS: Make sure to eat at the incredible NENI Mallorca restaurant and enjoy the views over the port of Port de Soller. And oh yeah… of course, they also organize yoga retreats here!

6: Hotel Dalt Muntanya, Orient

Sometimes all you have to do is get away from it all. Go OFF THE BEATEN TRACK and head into the heart of the Serra de Tramuntana, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. to discover Hotel Dalt Muntanya. It is the home of tranquillity itself in perfect harmony with nature. Few hotels will feel so cosy and personal as this one. 

Relax at the beautiful pool and enjoy some of the best hidden restaurants of the island, such as Restaurant Mandala, or go for a degustation menu in the neighboring hotel Son Palau. Jummie! And romantic (even if you don’t have a boyfriend, but just bring a friend, like I did).

7: Pension Bellvista, Port de Pollenca

Pension Bellavista is an oasis for budget-lovers on Mallorca, located in the heart of Puerto Pollensa. I challenge you to propose a better hotel than this one for this price-quality on the island. This place is the best of the best deal! It has no swimming pool, but it has an on-site vegan and vegetarian restaurant (and that is unique for Spanish meatlovers) with tested and approved meals by From Julie with Love. 

Pension Bella Vista is a family-run pension and the owners has a big heart for animals. They are active in animal shelters on the island and therefore only accept animal-loving-guests. Yes, one cat accidentally jumped into my room from the balcony and decided to sleep next to me. I just enjoyed my one-night stand! 😀 

PS: As it is located right by the bus stop, it is a perfect base to explore the North of Mallorca with beautiful beaches like Playa de Muro, the famous Cap de Formentor, the historic city of Alcudia, and a direct connection to the airport… all by bus! 

8: Hotel Jardi d’Arta, Arta

Voltaire once said: “The paradise on earth is where I am”. Well, maybe he was at Hotel Jardi d’Arta, a hotel with a stunning Arabic garden and still enough Mallorcan soul to feed your hunger for Mediterranean flavours. This is one of the most charming town hotels on the island, and conveniently located in the heart of the town of Arta but also a short ride away from many beaches in the North East.

There are only 9 lovingly designed rooms and 3 suites in this boutique hotel, so each of them have their own unique character. I can’t help but dream away when looking at its pool by sunset. Isn’t this a piece of heaven on earth? Yes, sometimes dreams come true.

9: Som Suret Cool Hotel, Portopetro

On the east side of the island of Mallorca, you will find tons of hotel resorts that are packed with tourists on crowded beaches. The Som Suret Cool Hotel, also known as the former Varadero Hotel is a break of that trend on the east coast. It is Adults Only (yes, sorry, but if you’re on a holiday without children, you most likely prefer also not to be surrounded by children, especially at the pool). 

Hotel Som Suret is situated just a few meters from a traditional maritime port and offers a bit of a different and exclusive holiday experience for a short escape or a holiday with its incredible rooftop Ibiza-style white lounge, beautiful views and comfortable beds. And all of this at very affordable prices, which is probably one of my main reasons to choose for this hotel: price according to quality!

10: Cal Reiet Holistic Retreats, Santanyi 

If it can be a little bit more, and if you are looking for a holistic wellbeing retreat instead of a ‘normal’ holiday as a gypsy soul, then Cal Reiet is maybe something for you! I would actually not really call this a hotel, as the idea is to come here to restore yourself in a special environment with treatments, massages and special body, mind and spirit offerings on the menu. 

For Cal Reiet, holistic living is all about the lifestyle, and the property breaths that ideology. Whether you come as an individual or in a group retreat, you will be pampered for sure here. Cal Reiet is an oasis away from everyday life where you can rejuvenate, grow and reconnect with your true-self. Its aim is to create a magical place, where guests can find inspiration, joy and harmony within.

Reservations

If you book through this link via Booking.com, you get 15 euros discount (after your stay) and me too! So please, use it wisely… and let me know how your trip to Mallorca was. Or if you have another hotel tip to share.

Have a nice time in Mallorca, you gypsy soul!

x x x From Julie with Love x x x

Romantic Sailing in Mallorca (Even If You Don’t Have A Boyfriend)

There’s nothing more romantic than a sailing boat trip on the ocean with a privately chartered yacht. Well, there’s nothing more romantic than a romance, of course. Unless you don’t have a romantic partner, then there’s nothing more romantic than a boat trip with friends (and even strangers).

Joern from Romantic Sailing Mallorca, an adventurous German captain with a big heart for the ocean, invited me to come and see it myself: Romantic Sailing can be fun, even if you don’t have a boyfriend (or girlfriend)! Check out my little boat travelogue here…

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The 10 Most Instagrammable Places in Mallorca

Mallorca is filled with the most beautiful Instagram places and photographic opportunities. Just take a look at my Instagram profile and you’ll immediately see that I can continue to take photos FOREVER on this amazing island. From small villages to rocky bays and fancy restaurants…. Mallorca has it all!

This blog post is all about the best places to Instagram in Mallorca. I will show you my favorite shot spots on the island: some are popular places, others are off the beaten track. Up to you to discover them yourself now. And Psssss….. let me know what your Top 10 looks like (in a comment below)!

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Fridamania: The Influence of Frida Kahlo Today

Frida Kahlo is one of the most celebrated artists in the world nowadays. She is literally everywhere: in musea, iPhone covers, restaurants, bags, decorations and yes, even in underwear. Like many of her fans, I admire Frida Kahlo, but – to be honest – I sometimes feel like I am one of the happy few who really knows who she is.

Almost everyone admires the looks and appearance of Frida Kahlo, as well as her paintings and her ideology, but who is she really and why did she become so popular? Let me figure it out for you.

Keep on reading if you want to know more about…

  • Frida Kahlo and the dramatic story of her life
  • the popularity of Frida Kahlo today in fashion, food and fun
  • and what we can learn from Frida Kahlo today
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7 Reasons Why Enotourism is the New Travel Trend for Wine Lovers

Admit it. You like to drink a good glass of wine, especially when you are on a holiday, on a day off, or after work. With fish, with desert, with BBQ, … There is always an appropriate wine and an appropriate occasion to drink wine, unless you are pregnant, religious, or a member of the AA.

This blog post is for the wine lovers who want to indulge even more in their obsession with wine. Imagine that you could not only taste wines, but also learn about its consumption and purchase wine while you travel at or near its source. Imagine that you could visit wineries, make vineyard walks or even participate in harvesting the grapes. Well, imagine that is nowadays called enotourism, or wine tourism.

Keep reading to find out WHY enotourism is the new travel trend!

“I’ve never owned a vineyard, but I’m pretty sure I’ve drunk one”.

– From Julie With Love

This week I tried out Enotourism in Mallorca, because, you know… I am getting a bit spoilt… When you spend a lot of time on an island, you kind of want something else than beaches, hikes, city trips and boat rides all the time. I was looking for a different experience on the island, and that’s how I bumped into this wine experience! Here follow 7 reasons why it is the new travel trend!

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10 of My Favorite Hot Spots in Palma de Mallorca (For Foodies)

Time flies when you’re having fun! I’m already one month in Palma de Mallorca and it feels like I’ve arrived here yesterday. It’s a good sign, I guess! I also realized I’ve spent quite a lot of time in the city before and after work, which is good news. Even better: I’ve made a list of my 10 favorite spots in Palma de Mallorca so far (for eating, drinking and chilling out).

Prepare yourself for the 10 best bars and restaurants in Palma de Mallorca, according to my one-month foodie experience here! Oh My God… This city is amazing and has so much to offer! Heaven for food lovers and foodstagrammers!

Continue to read if you want to know where to eat, drink and chill out in Palma de Mallorca!
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Mallorca Day Trips: Hiking at Parque Natural Sa Dragonera

Mallorca is an amazing island with countless day trip opportunities. For those who are interested in seeing a bit more of Mallorca than the typical tourist destinations, and for those who like some physical activity, this day trip to Sa Dragonera might be something for you!

Sa Dragonera is an island located in the South West of Mallorca, and geographically seen it is like an extension of the Sierra de Tramuntana, the mountain complex of Mallorca. Since 1995 it is declared as a Natural Park by the Balearic government.

I recently went on a day trip with my German friend, Stephanie, who lives on the island since a few years. I met her back in 2015 when I stayed at her beautiful AirBnB and ever since we stayed in touch. Now that I’m back, Stephanie invited me to go out and explore some more of the island.

With my friend Stephanie who has an amazing boat excursion website for those of you who understand German.
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Mauritius… A Dolphins Delight!

The second weekend in Mauritius was absolutely one of the greatest ever! Not only did I experience an amazing boat trip, I also snorkeled with wild dolphins in the open sea, barbecued on a small island called Île aux Benitiers and enjoyed a lot of sunshine with the coolest anthropology students! Just NOT too good to be true, because it was real and yes, every once in a while in life a dream comes true…

Happy are those who dream dreams and are willing to pay the price to make them come true? Yes, of course! I did pay to get access to this piece of paradise, but this boat trip actually only costed +/- 35 USD so not to bad at all for a heavenly experience! If you ever visit Mauritius, don’t forget to check out this amazing area called Le Morne (where you find the biggest cliffs), Île aux Benitiers (and its blue waters surrounding it), and the wild dolphins of course! But let me talk to you about my trip first to make you feel excited for it as well!

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Speed boats near Le Morne

Rule number 1: if you want to make your dreams come true, the first thing you have to do is wake up. And sometimes that means early! Especially when you want to see wild dolphins. Apparently they hang around the coast early in the morning, so our boat trip had to start at 8AM, and so we took a bus ride from Pointe aux Piments to La Gaulette, 55 km further on the west coast, so good for an hour and a half driving.

Rule number 2: if you want to spot wild dolphins, you better take a speed boat in stead of a catamaran, as it is much easier to spot the dolphins as they move fast, and you can follow them better. But… You have to be patient and lucky anyway, because nothing guarantees you that you will actually see them as they are wild dolphins, and Mauritius is not SeaWorld! 😉

It is indeed a very unique experience to spot these magnificent marine mammals in their natural habitat in Mauritius, especially in this wonderful scenery with great landscapes! And I must admit, I was very excited about this trip, but also a little bit stressed at the beginning, as I really hoped to see the dolphins, but it took about 3 times to jump in the water and snorkel while looking for them, before actually seeing one. But the fourth time our boat stopped and the captain shouted: “JUMP!” I saw not one dolphin passing by just underneath me, but at least twenty! I could not believe my eyes (my snorkels)… This marine underwater world was too remarkable and coming face to face with this wild dolphins was absolutely striking.

Of course it was difficult to focus both on photographing as on jumping in the water to swim with them, so I do not have good images of it. I did find a Youtube video about people who had a very similar experience during such a boat trip in the same area in Mauritius, and I must say that this video explains better than any of my stories how it felt to swim with those dolphins. Just watch it, and imagine you were there, because I wish you would have been… ❤

Oh my god… I still get goosebumps everytime I think about this unbelievable dolphin experience… But mostly because of a little crazy spiritual superstitious experience of myself… Well, a few years ago I had a dream. I was standing on a cliff near the sea, and I jumped a lot of meters down into the water. Of course, that would mean suicide in the real world, but in my dream I survived. Moreover, as soon as I was under water, my human body was gone, and my soul transformed its physical appearance in a dolphin. I started swimming very fast, I had never felt so free before in my entire life… Suddenly, I was swimming together with many other beautiful dolphins who looked just as happy as me, and I could feel how my whole body was full of energy, and how powerful my tale was while I was reaching a high level of speed in the ocean.

There came no end to the unlimited capacity of water, and so on. This dream was by far the greatest dream in my life, because it felt so real and natural, but at the same time it supposed to be very surreal, right? Well, the feeling that overwhelmed while I jumped off the boat and while I was swimming with those wild dolphins in Mauritius, was somehow familiar, as if I was coming home to dream I was dreaming years ago already. As if I had been here, doing this before already. Almost as if I was one of them, and my human body was trying to become one again, but my long capacity, and the limitations of my human legs brought me back to reality fast. In this life, I am not a dolphin! I am Julie! #expectation #reality

julie

Me, surrounded by blue water near the Crystal Rock

After snorkeling and swimming some more near the spectacular reefs of Mauritius, having some unforgettable views over Le Morne Mountain, and visiting the Chrystal Rock, it was noon fast, and time to head of to Île aux Benitiers, where a BBQ and wonderful meals were prepared by our boat staff ‘à la minute’ while we were enjoying some relaxation time: tanning on the beach, having a fresh coconut with rum, buying some souvenirs, and walking around the endless beach of this small island…

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The beach at Île aux Benitiers & magnificent view on the Le Morne Mountain

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Making friends with a Local Beach Hat Vendor

After spending more than 2 hours chilling and eating at the islet, we went for another few snorkel stops in a magnificent lagoon with shallow water. Did I mention already that Mauritius is almost entirely encircled by a coral reef? Well, then I don’t have to explain you why it is a superb snorkelling destination with many top spots to swim around! With a water temperature between 21 and 28°C, this island is a paradise for snorkellers and divers! And the waters around Le Morne offer some excellent visibility. However, I must admit that I was too tipsy from all those coconut-rums to focus on recognizing all the various species of fish, but hanging around the boat was a lot of fun!

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One of the Anthropology students found a Sea Urchin!

Well, and to all good things comes an end at a certain point, and so it did to this amazing excursion. In the late afternoon our boat returned to La Gaulette, where we spent the last hour at the beach before heading home for sunset. What can I say? This day was absolutely perfect! There was no where else in this world I wished to be, with no one else to have as companion, and even though I did not have everything, I felt the richest person on earth. Because yes, I can’t emphasize it enough: look at all this beauty… And confirm it: travel is the only thing that you can buy that makes you richer! ❤ And most importantly… Somewhere over the rainbow skies are blue, and the dreams that you dare to dream really do come true! So live simply, dream big, be grateful, give love, laugh lots… And I am sure that good things will come your way. So yes, some might say that karma is a bitch, but only if you are too! So be good, and good things will come your way…

x Carpe Diem x

From Julie with Love

paradise

A Giant Tortoise & A Tiny Island in The Indian Ocean

Enjoy the little things in life, for one day you’ll look back and realize they were the big things. That’s what I am thinking right now while writing this blog with a grateful but sad muzing gaze. I am already back in Belgium, and with pain in the heart I had to leave Mauritius after a wonderul three weeks. Unfortunately, I did absolutely not manage to keep up with my blog, as I was too busy having fun. But I’ll keep my promise and write some after-travel memoires and reflections, while letting Mauritius mesmerize me over and over again… ❤

It’s a little bit paradoxical to hear from a giant tortoise that you have to enjoy the little things in life, but it is exactly what I’ve learned the other day from him while visiting his tiny island habitat in the Indian Ocean, when he secretely whispered in my ears: A great life isn’t about great huge things, it’s about small things that make a big difference. I think that what he ment to say is: it’s not because you seem to be giant, that you can do great things, buy you can still do tiny things in a great way. And sometimes it are exactly those little things that manage to occupy the biggest part of our hearts. Or in short: the versatility of ‘small’ and ‘large’ in a spiritual nutshell is where my mind wonders when seeing a giant tortoise on such a small island in the Indian Ocean. 😉

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 We didn’t know we were making memories. We just knew we were having fun…

It was Thursday, the 23th of July, when we had a new field trip with the Ethnographic Field School to the south eastern part of the island again (noth so far from Mahébourg which we had visited the other day). On today’s agenda was Activist Efforts in Mauritius, a break at Blue Bay and visiting the Mauritian Wildlife Foudation at Île aux Aigrettes.

We started with an almost 2-hours drive, but by now we got so used to our driver that we were actually becoming close friends, exchanging phone numbers, life histories and music from our iPods with him. To be honest, the poor man had no other choice than surrendering to our (damn cool) Western party music, but the good thing was that he liked it. Or at least that what it looked like, because he always turned the volume up. And he started to initiate us to Mauritian music as well, so we ended up exchanging our musical preferences while ‘cruising’ through the island, with tropical beats on the background… There is actually one particular song that I really want to share with you, because of various reasons…

Zoli Mamzel, is a Créole song, which means “Jolie Mademoiselle” (Pretty Lady) and it is written by Gary Victor, a cute Mauritian guy with a big heart. He has an adorable voice and addictive flow which enables you to experience instant happiness, and it is a sing-along-song…. It is thé song that everyone on the island knows, it was a big summer hit, and it’s lovely! Okay, just listen and try it: ”Hey zoli mamzel,..Beh zoli Nation pas gagne droit tousel,..dans gauche, dans droit, fodei gueter couma li aller, La haut enbas, fodei gueter couma mo ..?” (I give you the acoustic version, but if you like it more up tempo, try this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1_ZuCGllSrk

Ok, back on track… Our first stop was Blue Bay, a highlight of any visit to Mauritius! Whether you are on an educational trip or not 😉 Blue Bay is located in the south eastern part of the island, not too far from the international airport. While you drive to it, you can enjoy some of the most wonderful scenery and landscapes of Mauritius. But then when you arrive at Blue Bay…. I mean, it is obvious where the name of this place came from: such a blue bay! This is the kind of place where you realize: yes, yes, yes, I am in paradise! Look at all this beauty our earth has to offer us: white sandy beaches, turqoise blue water, small green islands, …. No wonder that this place is a favourite of both tourists and locals!

Mauritius Day 11 019The best things in life are for free? All beaches in Mauritius are public!

After having a coffee at a local bar with one of the students, and enjoying a lovely chat, I went to walk around the bay for some photographing and observation of the locals. It is amazing to see how the locals are also enjoying this piece of paradise. The hindus for example, come to pray at the beach as well. Of course they won’t wear bikinis, and so as a tourist you should dress and never go monokini (a bikini is provocating enough!), but they wear sari’s. I have no idea what kind of rituals they do, but involves some prayers with water, flowers, and offering of food to the gods. Beautiful hindu religion! It adds this extra value to the place, which makes it so relaxing at the same time. Just staring at it with this ocean background made me feel in a meditation-like mood. If that makes sense?! 😛

Mauritius Day 11 067Some people look for a beautiful place. Others make a place look beautiful. 

After spending some time at the beach with my fellow students, swimming, snorkeling and feeling over-blessed in life, it was time for a more educational turn of this field trip day. We took a boat trip to Île aux Aigrettes, a nature reserve, where we would visit the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation. We got a guided tour by Nethi Chunwan from this organization, and he showed us all the island. And with all the island, I mean, the whole 27 ha. 😀 And with the boat trip, I mean: a 5 minutes ride to cross the 850 meters of ocean between the coast and the island. Lol.

But what makes Île aux Aigrettes so special, is that is made up of coralline limestone, whereas the mainland of Mauritius is of volcanic origin. And that’s why you can find some special nature stuff there, I mean: exotic animals and native plant species. It is good that this place is kept well maintained as a nature reserve, and clearly a lot of effort was put in the intense conservation of restoration of this bit of forest and the reintroduction of these rare species, such as the pink pigeon (yes, it exists!), the Mauritian Fody (a red-head bird), the Olive White-eyes (Birds with white circles around their eyes), some special orchids (“Oniella-polystachys” if that rings a bell), and the Aldabra Giant Tortoise (yes, the one who taught me a lesson… 😉 ).

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The Aldabra Giant Tortoise

My favourite, however, was the Ornate Day Gecko, a typical specie of Mauritius and Madagascar that feeds on insects and nectar and has a total length of only 12 centimeters. But it absolutely mesmerized me because of its bluish green, blue, brown, cyan, white, turquoise and red colors. And no, I couldn’t bring it as a pet, because it needs a temperature of +/- 28°C and…. They are protected, of course!

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The Beautiful Ornate Day Gecko… You can look but you can’t touch…

After being introduced to the unique flora and fauna, the restoration work on the island, and some knowledge on the local area and the history of the island, we were taken back on a short boat ride to Pointe Jerome, where our trip started. Well, this was an amazing place worthwhile visiting! Bye Île aux Aigrettes, take good care of your beautiful self! ❤

Mauritius Day 11 263A short boattrip in paradise. Off to Île aux Aigrettes!

After this amazing day, we drove back home to Pointe-aux-Piments. And because home is where the heart is, I spent some time with my very best local family. Eating together, talking about our days, and feeling loved!

I ended the day with some writing on projects, making apointments for interviews and going through my pictures of the day. What a great time!

Friday, the next day, back to school… Back to reality! Classes in the morning became quite a habit at our temple based Summer School University. We had class in the morning about how to write up our papers, because slowly but steady each students began to have some ideas and data for his/her project. Yes, yes, I keep saying it: we do actually work between the hours of fun in paradise!

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Some publicity for our Ethnographic Field School in Mauritius!

After school, I went with my roommate to the local tailor shop, which was actually just a house with some very lovely ladies who had great fun dressing us up, and especially watching us getting dressed and undressed, admiring our white skin and making jokes. A great experience to get measured for a tailor-made sari by the way, especially when the seamstress appears to have no measuring tape. The Mauritian way! Lolll 😀

Mauritius Day 12, 13 & 14 001Getting my Sari tailored…

In the afternoon we had ‘free time’ to spend working on our projects, and so I had planned 2 interviews with informants for my anthropological project. I met one man and one woman in town, and spent an hour with each of them. A great and interesting excercise, but also very exhausting!

At 5 PM we had an evening session by Dimitris Xygalatas, our professor, about how to write an Ethnographic Paper, followed by a session on how to write a Scientific Paper (yes, those two are not the same!) by his Phd-student, Martin Lang, and another session by Michaela Porubanova, one of the other instructors, who is specialized in Psychology, and she did some cool experiments with us.

We finished the night of ‘classes’ eating in a Chinese Restaurant, while watching a documentary ‘Stealing a Nation’ (2004) about  Diego Garcia, another small island in the Indian Ocean that belongs to the Chagos Islands, and which was claimed by The United States to build a large naval and military base there. Ever since 1971, the population of this British Indian Ocean Territory was removed (deported) to Mauritius and the Seychelles. This caused a lot of controversy, together with the other dubious military activities of the US… This was really something I didn’t know about before, but which is very interesting knowledge, and very sad at the same time. Makes me think about “Make Love, Not War”, and how idealism and realism don’t walk hand in hand with each other most of the time. You should just check it out and reflect upon this, by watching this short movie (or watch the full movie that we have seen):

But then, finally… After some heavy stuff… It was time to let go all the stress and prepare for the second weekend, which I started in style with some of the students and instructors at our favourit party spot: the Banana Beach Club in Grand Baie. Party along all night long… And even though we had other awesome plans for the weekend… YOLO, because no one looks back on their life and remembers the nights they had plenty of sleep! 😉

Don’t Worry, Be Happy!

Yours Truly ❤

‘Zoli Mamzel’

Julie

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