It was truly a travel highlight to visit the eastern islands in Indonesia where, for hundreds of years, Europeans fought with Indigenous tribes, Asians and Africans to gain control of the spice trade.
Hiking through the forest here, it’s possible to see cloves, cinnamon, vanilla pods, cacao and coffee just casually growing alongside the tracks.
The fragrance of these trees is absolutely delicious.
It’s said that the early spice traders knew they had arrived at their destination because the smell of the cloves was so strong, it drifted kilometres out to sea.
The local farmers we met through our lovely local guide seemed completely oblivious to how magical this day was for foreigners like us who love cooking with spices and yet are dependent on this tiny region of the world for our supplies.
Sometimes the things we take most for granted are the things that enchant visitors the most.