For my final adventure in Fiji, I went on a cross-island walk with The Rucksack Club.
We set off from Suva last Saturday laden with drinking water, sleeping bags, roll mats and lots of waterproof clothing – very heavy backpack!
After driving north into the interior of Viti Levu, we then walked for two days, staying overnight at Nagatagata and Nabutautau villages. The walking and the landscapes were absolutely glorious: green, lush hillsides, beautiful valleys and mandarins and turmeric growing around the paths that we took. Luckily the weather was good and we even got to have a lunchtime river swim in the sunshine on one day.
Day 3 was particularly exciting – we followed the river through a valley, wading knee-deep in the water at points where there weren’t any helpful stepping stones.
It was also really interesting to stay in the two villages and to spend time with the people who lived there. At each village, we began our stay by meeting the chief of the village and completing the “sevusevu” ceremony (asking permission to stay in the village, thanking the chief for his hospitality and handing over gifts to say thank you). After that, everyone shared a few cups of kava, a drink made from the roots of a pepper plant which is meant to be relaxing and to make your tongue and lips go numb (although I think you have to drink quite a lot of it before that happens).
On the first evening we joined in with board games with the children, and on the second evening the stereo was cranked up and we all danced the night away in the bure to Fijian pop tunes!
We slept on the floor of large bures in each village and ate . . . a lot. The villagers put on massive spreads for us for breakfast, dinner and afternoon tea – for example, on Day 3 my breakfast consisted of lemon tea, coconut cake, samosas, papaya, banana, rice, lentils and noodles, yum! I also ate bananas cooked in coconut milk in Nabutautau, which was hands down one of the most delicious things that I have ever eaten.
It was a fantastic adventure if completely exhausting – my muscles have only just stopped aching, almost a week later . . .