After walking to the entrance, with traffic rushing past, stepping into the Eureka compound is like stepping into an oasis. At the same time, it feels like stepping back in time. Mauritius was a colony of the Netherlands, France, and Britain, and thus has its share of colonial buildings. Eureka is one of them. Constructed in 1830, ti is considered to be one of the largest existing buildings. More than that, it gives an insight into what these estates looked like. I walk the gardens around the building, with some beautiful tropical flowers and trees, before I enter the building itself. It holds a collection of items, giving it the feel of a museum. I see several old pianos, furniture, an interesting contraption which offered the user the experience of having a shower, several smaller items.
There are several centuries old maps of the island, with an interesting representation of reality, beautifully drawn by hand, with handwritten names. One such map gives this information both in French and Dutch. There are pictures giving an insight in what the island once looked like. One other curious object is a replica of a dodo, the infamous flightless bird that once walked the land here, but which was quickly eradicated, mostly by the exotic animals taken ashore by the colonialists. I enter the enormous veranda, where people are having lunch. I could have something to eat as well, but have too many plans for the rest of the day to sit down. Instead, I walk the gardens in the back, and down to the Moka river, past mango, palm and damara trees. I am alone walking the river banks, to the waterfalls a little upstream.
When I reach the end of the trail, I turn around, and walk up, back to the Eureka building. Standing on the far side of the gardens, the completely wooden building stands at the other side of the grounds. Coming closer, I notice that all windows are slightly tilting, some more than others. The unevenness adds to the character of the building. On the other side, I find the old kitchen, which is still being used and where lunch is being prepared for those sitting on the spacious veranda. Judging by the smell coming from the dishes passing by, the cooks know their job, and I feel a pang of doubt. But instead of sitting down, I once more walk the small museum, have a second look at the items on display, and enjoy the garden once again, before walking to the main road to catch a bus to Port Louis.
Around the World in 80 Clicks
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Eureka (Mauritius). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Eureka. Read more about this site.