Weekends away – don’t miss the Seychelles (Day One)
It’s possible I may have just found my new happy place for weekends away.
For those of you who’ve read the “My new happy place” blog from last year, it was all about the beautiful Pisso Livadi on the Greek island of Paros. I can happily add a second contender now.
Here I am, sitting on the balcony, watching the crystal clear blue water crashing on the white sand. The dappled sunlight of the sunset is just touching the palm fronds, perfectly framing the view to the beach.
Kiddies are settled with their books and their nibbles. Lovely hubby has his book and his beer and is also reclining, enjoying the magic.
This is a holiday in the Seychelles personified.
Let me share some moments from our first day in paradise…
Best part of weekends away – a warm welcome
We arrive into Mahe in the mid-afternoon. We are greeted with warm, moist air and beautiful sunlight as we descend the steps of the plane.
I can literally feel my skin and hair soaking in the humidity like an old friend.
We get into the corrugated iron shed that is the Mahe airport and all begin to sweat immediately as the heat and humidity are oppressive. And the people are typical island residents – extremely relaxed, laid back and in no hurry whatsoever.
The Chubs is getting more vocal about needing a drink and I can see Miss Sparky starting to fade as we slowly wilt. When we are finally directed out to our hire car, it looks like it’s just been dragged up from the bottom of someone’s garden.
There’s even a little rust hole on the side shaped suspiciously like a bullet. I enquire with the happy hire car man how it got there and he laughs a deep belly laugh and says in his African accented English – “nah.. it’s just the rust missus.”
So we set off for the long drive to the other side of the island where our apartment is situated, not really sure where the hell we’re going and not really sure what to expect.
We have chosen a cottage on the far side of the island from the airport. I am convinced our battered little car is not going to survive the intense incline of the mountain we must traverse, but he’s tougher than he looks.
After a short 20 minute drive we arrive at our little slice of heaven for the weekend.
The storm clouds begin…
I’m a little torn about sharing this heavenly place as I almost don’t want anyone to know about it.
But I’ve promised a few people I will disclose the location so that you can share its fabulosity.
Lilot Beach Chalet is a truly stunning destination for weekends away. The house is all timber and very open with French doors all the way along the big front deck. It’s quite weathered, so the doors aren’t that easy to maneuver but the rooms are big and it’s fully equipped. Best of all, its absolute beachfront.
We don’t even need towels to go to be beach. You can literally just run down the steps from the deck and when you’re done, run back up and straight into a warm shower. This is my idea of absolute heaven.
As we arrive at the house, the black clouds are rolling in and by the time we find it, a drizzle has started.
After being greeted and welcomed by the lovely Owen, the host of our apartment, its straight inside to throw the newly purchased (and expensive) basics in the fridge then head the 10 metres walk from our deck to the beach for a steamy, stormy later afternoon swim.
The website said we had a virtual private cove but we didn’t really believe it.
But as we float in the warm water, we look around and drink in every detail of this absolute paradise and realise it’s every bit as good as the pictures.
Lined with coconut trees, palms and flowers, this cove is virtually your private beach, only shared with one or two other cottages.
The water is warm like a lukewarm bath, clear and spectacular. The sand is white and we float together in the waves as the sun slips in the stormy sky below the horizon. Our little people are for once perfectly content to just be with us and enjoy.
It’s raining it’s pouring…
We awake the next morning to, what I consider, possibly the most magical sound in the world.
Rain is pattering down on our tin roof with the roar of the surf in the cove in the background. We take a moment to savour the feeling as we lie in bed and look out at the green, rain soaked garden.
To most people, this might be a bit of a depressing start to your beach holiday.
But having lived for over 18 months in Dubai, this was possibly the perfect way to spend at least part of our weekends away. I sometimes forget how important it is to have weather and to be surrounded by green.
What a perfect morning for a fresh coconut
The rain eases mid-morning so we head to the beach. As the kids are playing I manage to find a young coconut.
I’m feeling rugged, relaxed and elated with happiness in this beautiful place, so I decide to give the kids a lesson in island survival skills by breaking open the coconut.
I locate a sharp rock and spend a good 10 minutes pounding this thing to try to break it open.
The kids show varying degrees of interest as they think mummy has gone completely crazy, bashing this thing on the rocks, swearing and sweating.
A random guy joins us on the beach for his morning exercise and starts jogging laps of the cove. He too is watching me with interest. It can’t be a pretty sight-seeing this crazy, bikini clad, middle-aged woman whipping herself and her coconut into a frenzy on the edge of the beach.
He jogs over at one point and suggests I use a slightly sharper rock. I must have given him a wild-eyed look that said something like “do I look like I need any help?” because he quickly jogs away again.
I’m through one part of the husk at this point when lovely hubby comes to finally see what this crazy banshee is doing.
He takes one look at the coconut and says the words every person trying to bash open a coconut wants to hear – “why are you bothering. It’s too old anyway..”.
Not the encouragement nor assistance I was seeking.
As I contemplate using his head to finish the job, I decide to channel that frustration into a more fruitful pursuit and I continue bashing this thing on the sharp-edged rock pointed out by my jogging friend.
Ah.. a sweet moment
Then… finally… success!
It’s gets to a point where I can see the shell. Lovely hubby even obliges by helping to pull off the remaining husk as he can obviously see this is a job that requires completion.
I’m jumping around screaming with excitement. I feel raw… alive… I am woman hear me roar!!
Miss Sparky comes over, to see what all the excitement is and I feel like this is it. The moment of female solidarity we can finally enjoy together. I proudly show her my handiwork.
“Eww mum.. I don’t like coconut” she says with a grimace.
This reaction requires a moment alone to compose myself. The Chubs, who would eat his own toes if he was hungry enough, toddles over and I latch onto him.
“Look little man. Mummy opened a fresh coconut. Isn’t it amazing!” He takes a couple of bites then chucks the rest on the sand and runs off to finish his sandcastle.
A crushing disappointment with the family but still a massive achievement for rugged women everywhere. And even though they don’t know it, I know these kids will remember this moment somewhere down the line. Possibly as much for mummy’s psychotic behaviour as for the fresh fruit off the tree, but they’ll remember it nonetheless…
Exploring the Island
After lunch, the weather is still stormy so we decide to go for a drive and explore some more of the island.
We head back up into the mountains to get to the far western side. You don’t really need maps here as there’s only one or two roads. But be warned… the maps they give you at the car company are not topographic and they should be.
I don’t know why I didn’t think we’d have to cross those mist capped mountains I could see from Victoria but we absolutely did. I was convinced at multiple points that we were going to have to get out and walk given the steepness of the incline.
Our poor little hire car is hissing and heaving as it struggles up the twists and turns.
Bu, it’s worth every bit of it. The views are absolutely sensational!
Deep valleys of green vines dotted with the local cement cottages. Reams of bougainvillea, hibiscus and ginger plants everywhere creating a landscape so lush and colourful it’s an assault on the senses. We wind all the windows down just to suck in as much of the fresh air as possible. Eventually we get close to the peak and we’re actually driving through the mist we could see from the bottom.
I’m a bit worried how our little bomb in going to cope with descent, but it’s clearly taken on the relaxed, Seychelles attitude as it cruises down the steep twists and turns without missing a beat.
We drive through villages, kids playing soccer on the road, women out wandering in their bright clothes and not fazed about the rain. It’s like driving through the back roads of Fiji or Vanuatu. Everyone is just so chilled.
Day one wrap up
So, even with the weather not being perfect, our first day in our new weekend paradise was simply spectacular. We spent the evening relaxing on the deck, listening to the waves and playing memory games. Never even a whiff of TV watching mentioned.
This place has a vibe and an atmosphere that makes you instantly relax on arrival and you never have to switch up a gear until you land back at home. The mind wanders and the body soaks up the environment.
Tune in for the next weekends away blog which shares the adventures from day two – a perfect, warm, sunny tropical day this time. And lots of funny moments as always…
Until then, do leave a comment or share – and make sure you book your flights!
Have a great week all.