Sunday, July 31, 2016

Viwa Island Resort, Yasawa Islands, Fiji

We had a great holiday in Fiji and the highlight was staying in Viwa Island, in the Yasawa Group. There is only one small boutique resort, Viwa Island Resort, while the island itself has about 500 people distributed in three small villages. You won't see the island in many tourist brochures, as it is usually 'off the map' to the west of the Yasawas, and can be reached by seaplane, or by ferry until Waya Island, and then with a smaller boat until Viwa. A great trip either way, and the feel that you are really somewhere exclusive and far away, but will all the comforts.

View from the bure
Coral island

Happy feet
Viwa was badly hit but the Cyclone but it has been restored beautifully with charming elevated bure (the term bure traditionally refers to the villages' meeting houses, but now it is also used to describe a type of holiday hut based on the traditional island architecture), hosting a max of 22 guests. The bure are lovely and comfortable with amazing sea views. I also liked the semi-open and yet private garden en-suite present in each bure, and the lovely little touches like Pure Fiji toiletry and fresh flower everywhere. I loved  little foot pool to rinse your feet from the sand before going up the steps into your private deck. 

Our deck

Hibiscus flowers and butterflies everywhere

The kids in front of their own bure (our was exactly the same, but with a double bed instead of twin beds). 
Mostly I just relaxed, swam and sunbathed, but there are plenty of activities to do to, if you are so inclined, like scuba diving and snorkeling (beautiful fish and corals!), village and island tours, paddle boards and canoes, beach ball games and social activities in the evening. The staff is great, sings a lot and makes you feel special and welcomed. The restaurant is good and has an extensive vegetarian menu, a real bonus for our family (with two hungry teen-agers!).
From top right, clockwise: blue skies, Arantxa in crystal clear water, On Fiji Island by Ronald Right was published in 1987 but it is great reading, my legs getting tanned!

Naibalebale village, from top right, clockwise: traditional village house rebuilt after the cyclone, school children, the village Bure (meeting house, very beautiful inside).
Trying the local beer
What shall we do today?
Sunset with full moon

Peaceful resort at night, also with full moon

Bye bye Viwa, we had a great holiday!

Our spot on the beach!

Photos by Alessandra Zecchini ©


Friday, July 22, 2016

Naibalebale village, Viwa Island, Fiji

Viwa is a coral island in the Yasawa Island, Western Fiji. There is only a small resort (11 'bure', for 22 guests) and three villages,  Naibalebale, Yakani and Najia, total population about 500. There are no cars on the island, or roads, only tracks. We visited Naibalebale, at the end of this beautiful long beach. 
Vata's House
The ladies' market, set up for the resort's guests during our visit
The village Bure, really beautiful
Keep both doors open for amazing views
Rebuilt after the cyclone 
Viwa Island School

The highlight of the visit was the local school, the children performed for us to raise money to help repairing the school, damaged after the latest cyclone. A part from the school and the resort five more houses were destroyed by the cyclone, but fortunately there were no casualties.

Children singing and dancing

Photos by Alessandra Zecchini ©

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Produce Market in Nadi, Fiji, and a few tips for Veg* travelers

If you are a Vegetarian or a Vegan and you travel to the Islands, the best thing for you to do is to go to the market! Hotels, restaurants and resorts have little choice, sadly, with the exception of Indian restaurants which always have some vegetarian dishes. But if you are staying in an apartment or unit with kitchen you can also bring in your own packaged food (cereals, snacks, olive oil, bread, pasta, tofu and other ingredients) and then buy the fresh stuff. We are doing this for a week, and then staying a second one in a island resort (so no kitchen), so some of the vegetables will be ok for cooking, and others can be used for salad anywhere (I always carry a little olive oil…).  Another staple for me is always coconut, a drink and a meal all in one, so filling! And fruit, you can never have enough fruit! Because of the recent bad weather there is less fruit this season in Fiji, and very few bananas, so I didn't get any this time, and also I try to get only local fruit (not imported from Australia or New Zealand!), and cherish the opportunity to talk with the growers and sellers at the market. Here is my shopping:

Taro and coconut
'Older' coconut flesh needs to be scraped with a knife but it is nutty and tasty
Brassica greens, good with rice and noodles
Small papaya and cucumbers
More taro, ask them to peel it for you, and cut it, unless you have a machete...
Tomatoes and mandarins

Yummy eggplants 
I get drinking coconut from bars and cafes, they know how to choose it and cut it.
First you drink the coconut water...
And then you eat the soft flesh. A whole coconut is incredibly filling!

Photos by Alessandra Zecchini ©

Saturday, July 9, 2016

A week of Italian and Māori

Carlo and my friend Suzanne
Yes it was a full week of Italian and Māori things for me! First I got my first case of JK.14 Prosecco and wine delivery, from Veneto to the New Zealand bush! Then Chef Carlo Casoni from Mutti came to NZ (thank you Eurodell for the tickets!), and finally I went to an amazing Italian event organized by Cuisine Magazine at Gusto, with 5 of the most famous chefs in Auckland (Sean, Sergio, Stefania, Giapo and Gaetano).   

Celebrating Cuisine Magazine Italian event!


Māori Language Week/Te Wiki o te Reo Māori is coming to an end, but let us keep the korero alive, and learn the meaning of Māori place names with Oratia Books fully revised edition of A.W. Reed’s classic Māori Place Names.
This fourth edition gives meanings and origins of over 2300 of the most important and widespread Māori names, and includes the original illustrations by celebrated artist James Berry featured in the early editions of the book.

A bit of fun: the movie Poi E, based on the making of the famous hit by the same name, is coming out soon. So I grabbed my 'Italian' poi and went over to the Corban Art Centre for a lesson on poi dancing (and Poi E singing). So cool! I even ended up in the News  

The original Poi E video 

Happy weekend everyone!


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