Thursday, September 24, 2015

Soudha's Travel Log 2: Reading in the Garden

Today we're going to take a little stroll in the Southern Hemisphere's oldest garden, the Pamplemousses Botanical Garden. Pamplemousses, which is French for grapefruits, is also the name of the district where the garden is located. The garden was created in 1770, while the island was still occupied by French settlers. Years later, remnants of the long gone French days still linger in the silent paths that weave through the garden, leading to the old chateau hidden away within. 

Let's Take A Stroll In The Garden...

It's by a warm Sunday day that I make the trip to Pamplemousses, eager to revisit the old garden that has come to be one of my favorite places on the island. As I arrive there, I am greeted by an alleyway of trees, and it is under their gently wavering shadows that I walk inside the garden.

Although it is Sunday, the timid winter sun hasn't drawn a lot of visitors in and the garden is almost empty as I walk under the soft but delightful sunshine of Pamplemousses. We are in the North, where the days are always a bit warmer than where I live, farther away in the colder regions of the island. 

Every now and then, you can hear the occasional singing of birds and the rustling of the leaves overhead as the wind slips through the knotted canopy of the branches from nearby trees.  

After a few minutes, I arrive at the statue of Bernardin de St. Pierre, a French writer and botanist who notably wrote Paul & Virginie, a tragic love story set in Mauritius. Although the book has today been widely forgotten, in the 18th century it was actually quite famous. Today, Paul and Virginie are recognized as Mauritius's own Romeo and Juliet and can be found in works of art all over the island. 

Leaving behind the whispers of tragic love and forgotten centuries, I reach the garden's most famous attraction, its long pond of giant water lilies. Scattered among the large circular leaves, the occasional water lily amazes the approaching visitor with its dress of pure white petals. 

I am carefully walking around the water-licked edges of the pond, trying to figure out the best angle to capture this beautiful painting of glittering waters and floating leaves when I notice someone sitting in front of the pond, an actual paintbrush in her hand. I walk a bit closer to the young woman, an Asian tourist, and can't help but stare when I see the beautiful painting she's making, having captured the exact same image I'd been trying to capture through my camera. Awed and definitely a bit shy, I ask her if I can take her picture and she nods with a smile. 

I simply love coming across artists and getting to meet them. My encounter with this young woman was definitely the highlight of my visit to the garden that day. It's always nice to meet people who share a love for art, isn't it?

Leaving behind the pond of water lilies, I'm now approaching the deepest part of the garden, where centuries of unspoken history awaits within the walls of an old French chateau. The Ch√Ęteau de Mon Plaisir has been the home to various French officials back in the old days, including Pierre Poivre, the man who developed the garden. While today the colonial house is home to dust and phantoms of past lives, a visit to the garden wouldn't be complete without stopping at least once before its ancient walls. If walls could talk, huh? 

What I'm Currently Reading 

I'm currently reading The Book Thief by Markus Zusak and I'm absolutely loving it. I'm already familiar with the story, having seen the movie countless times with my sister before. I actually bought the book months ago as part of my birthday book haul in February but hadn't really dared pick it up. Having already watched the movie, I guess I was scared of not loving the book because I already knew the story. Turns out I had been worrying for nothing after all. As a matter of fact, I'm glad I'm already familiar with the characters and story because that way, it feels a bit like reuniting with old friends. I'll keep my full thoughts for my wrap-up but I can already tell that I'm going to give this book a very good rating. 

The Souvenir(s) 

I bought this postcard at a little stall near the exit of the garden. It shows a few touristic spots of the island, including the famous water lilies of the garden in the top left corner. 

More travel stories & Giveaways

So that was another post in my new Travel Log series. If you want to read more about Mauritius and see pictures of my other trips, click the link below:

Soudha's Travel Log Series

And if you haven't already done so, click below to check out the two giveaways that I'm hosting this month. They'll both end on the 30th of September, so you still have time to enter if you wish to ^^ 

Giveaway 1 (International)

I hope you enjoyed this post. As always, feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments :)

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Cover Art by Of Stacks and Cups via Pagemodo


  1. What a beautiful park. Thank you for taking us on another adventure. :)

  2. Tremendously awesome!
    Had virtually visited plamplemouse garden

  3. It's jess lol

    Best friend of soudha
    �� ��

  4. Awww. such a nice experience. This Earth needs more and more botanical garden and this one looks so peaceful. I envy you, Soudha, we don't have botanical garden in my province. Darn! Lovely post!

    1. I'm glad you liked the post :) It's a shame there are botanical gardens where you live. You're right though, we need more botanical gardens in the world.

  5. Oh wow, what a lovely post and beautiful garden! I love the looks of it, so peaceful and gorgeous <3 All that nature and knowing it has been created so many years ago and still standing is wonderful. I love it. A wonderful place to read and the painting the woman was doing was wonderful as well. I can imagine how much of a dream it would be to read there or have a little picnic.

    Oh, and I have read the Book Thief and it really is one of my favourite books. Yes, the movie is fabulous but that kind of writing Zusak writes? Stuff of legends ^^

    1. I'm glad you enjoyed this virtual garden stroll Olivia :D I'm really excited to read more of The Book Thief. I'm barely 100 pages in but I'm loving it. Zusak has such a unique and gorgeous writing style <3

  6. So beautiful! I'm speechless... Also, I recently bought a new copy of The Book Thief and I'll have a reread of it soon :) You can never read a good book too many times.

    1. Thanks Ramona :) You're absolutely right, good books definitely deserve 2+ reads!

  7. Awww Beautiful! I loved the pictures <3 .
    Thank you for taking me on a virtual stroll in this lovely garden :)

    1. You're welcome Ria ^^ I'm glad you enjoyed this post :)

  8. That's such a beautiful place to be able to visit everyday!! I would love to have a place like that to read and wind down in! Beautiful pictures!!

  9. That is a gorgeous park! I so enjoyed reading this travel log! Also I haven't yet read The Book Thief (I'm a little afraid to!) but I hope to get to it someday. It's good to know that the movie did not ruin the book for you!

    1. Thanks Charlene. I'm glad you enjoyed the post :)

  10. Nominated you for Liebster Award >>

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