Last week's Wednesday trip (aw, I'm going to miss this Family Tradition!) could have happened any day now that Bertie is off work, but funnily enough it was still Wednesday.
I had been looking forward to going to the Maison de la Banane for ages, but the last time we tried it was closed. Finally success, but at a price - it is a costly €8/€6 for entry, which is more than anywhere else. Would it live up to our expectations, and be worth the euros....?
We were welcomed with a banana each (naturally!) and we also got to try a red one, which was very nice tasting if odd looking. Then we were showed the plantation and giving some fun facts (some of which I knew from all my earlier research!):
*bananas grown on hillsides are sweeter (but all that extra work!)
*they take 9-12 months to grow
*they grow between 5 and 15 metres
*there are nearly 1500 types but only some can be eaten and we only seem to get one type imported to us in the West, which is Cavendish
*each regime of bananas can weigh from 25 to 50 kilos
*bananas for exportation get their maturing slowed down by being kept at 13 degrees - their taste and colour is very different from ones allowed to riped naturally
*they get put in blue plastic bags as they grow as otherwise a little bug gets inside with little or no sign on the skin that it is there
We were sent off to enjoy the garden, which was very beautiful, and all sorts of different banana trees. The girls (with their cousin) were most taken with a little kitten who followed us everywhere and was promptly named Bannie. Happily there were few other visitors there subjected to their cries and shrieks of Bannie around the place!
After the garden was the information room then a Maison Creole full of rooms and things from antan lantan (the olden days, but it only really applies to the late 1800s and early 1900s!).
All very interesting, especially all the products made from banana leaves, but I was disappointed that we didnt get to see the plantation packing line in action (though we were highly tempted to swing on the line carrying bananas to the packing room!). I also thought we would get more of a tasting session but it was not to be.
Afterwards we headed inwards and upwards to the Grand Etang which is a lake on the way up to the Chute de Carbet. So peaceful and tranquil. And then we arrived! Oh the noise those children made! I am not sure if it was due to us that the six families who visited whilst we sat there picknicking all left within five minutes!
The girls paddled in the water, JoJo paddled in the mud, and they had fun on and under a bridge but sadly no walk around the lake as Mr Driver had forgotten his trainers. We previously visited in 2000 and didn't manage the walk then so it looks like it will have to wait a few more years...