I am not sure what woke me up first, the birds or the fiery itching of the tetse fly bites circling my ankles like an unwanted anklet.
Once awake I was anxious to open all the curtains and windows to see the view. Outside our room was a small balcony, with day beds and cushions, positioned perfectly to gaze at the morning view of the valleys below. Unfortunately, this balcony being under the thatched roof, a perfect home for a sparrow’s nest, the day bed of my choice was scattered with bird poop and a plentiful supply of dog hair, generously donated by the lovely, yet flea infested, dogs that live here. I have been to flea hell and I will ever return.
The morning was spent on a hike to the vanilla plantation with our guide, Steve, who helpfully pointed out the medicinal properties of all the plants. shrubs and beans we passed on the way down the valley.
Once we arrived at the vanilla plants he explained the 4 month painstaking operation that leads to the vanilla we find in the grocery store.
Finally we met Lulu, a lovely English woman and cousin of the owner of the lodge, who has been running the plantation since 2004. She supplies all the organic vanilla to Ben & Jerry’s, Tesco and Waitrose in the UK. I had no idea what a procedure it was to grow and prepare vanilla. The pods, after being washed in boiling water for 2 minutes, exactly, have to then be laid in the sun for precisely 3 hours each day, then lovingly wrapped in wollen blankets, everyday for 4 months. The whole place smelt wonderful and I left with dreams of Creme Caramel and Creme Brule swirling in my head.
Sadly half way through lunch the rains come and there was no better way to spend the afternoon than napping in my four poster bed, lulled by the sound of cross wet birds, followed by a steaming hot bubble bath.