Madagascar Journals

Lingering in Antsirabe, Madagascar

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An October 2009 trip to Madagascar by Slug

Le Venise Restaurant Antsirabe Madagascar Photo, Madagascar, Africa More Photos
Quote: A dining tour of Antsirabe, Madagascar's third largest town, and a few experiences thrown in...
Les Chambres du Voyageur  Photo, Madagascar, Africa
With the spread of globalisation, there aren’t too many countries where you might feel that local life is completely different. However, even while we were chatting and sipping a beer in the genteel bar of our hotel, Les Chambres du Voyageur in Antsirabe, we discovered life in Madagascar can seem wildly different to many parts of the world. As I live in the North of England, I’m very used to telling people that I live near Manchester. In Antsirabe as with the rest of Madagascar, I was surprised that mentioning the city didn’t register any recognition. For much of the world (outside the US), Manchester is connected with Manchester United soccer club, and many in the third world follow the f...Read More

Mihaja Restaurant

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Restaurant | "Quiet but Good"

The Mihaja Restaurant Photo, Antsirabe, Madagascar
Our wild Sunday night out in the city of Antsirabe didn’t quite turn out as wacky as we hoped, and by after dark the streets (at around 6:30 pm!) were starting to look distinctly quiet. We decided to hunt down a restaurant near the grand but crumbling old hotel, the Hotel des Thermes, before it was too late and the whole town shut up shop before we had filled our stomachs. We rather gratefully fell upon the Mihaja Restaurant, and although it was deserted (my mother always told me never eat in an empty restaurant as you will eat stale food), it showed distinct signs of a busier afternoon (including a few stains on the table cloth). Despite our misgivings, we concluded that begga...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on December 8, 2009

Antsirabe Town Centre

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Attraction | "Crawling the Bars in Antsirabe!"

Sunset over Antsirabe Photo, Antsirabe, Madagascar
Early Sunday evening in the centre of Antsirabe isn’t the most happening place on earth. As our hotel was only up for making us a cheese sandwich for dinner, we decided to explore the centre of the town. As Antsirabe is a fairly large place of around quarter of a million, we thought the place might be lively. That said, in one of the world’s poorest countries, and with tourist numbers well down because of the political coup, we knew night life in Madagascar was likely to be tame outside the capital Tana. As we are old gits anyway, we decided to play it safe and arranged with our guide for him to pick us up at the unearthly hour of 8:30 pm. Rock and roll!This would give us arou...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on December 1, 2009

A Handicraft Tour of Antsirabe

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Madagascar Stones Photo, Madagascar, Africa
The Madagascan town of Antsirabe is famous for the sheer number of artisan craft shops around. We spent a happy morning touring a number and found locals beevering hard for the tourist $. Their skill made me wonder (and not for the last time) at just how I could wrinkle out a living in Madagascar. They don’t have too much demand for mere pen pushers here. As we were on an organised tour, I think our guide decided to get the artisan tours completed on one fell swoop. Antsirabe is a fairly large (at around quarter of a million population, it is Madagascar’s third largest town) and an attractive place to wander. It seems to have craft workers covering many of the Madagascar standa...Read More

Le Venise

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Restaurant | "Great French Style Restaurant"

Le Venise Restaurant Antsirabe Madagascar Photo, Madagascar, Africa
We were a little curious about how our dining experience in Madagascar would go, considering one of our party only ate fish and vegetables. Dietary preferences seem such an extravagant luxury in a third world country. As it turned out we had a reasonable, if rather limited experience with a mix of French or Malagasy cuisine. Le Venise in the town of Antsirabe offered a better than average experience.One of the issues facing Madagascar tour operators is that many of the local restaurants aren’t really to the standard that Westerners expect. This is less true for the food, which may be a simple but perfectly edible stew of meat, beans and rice, but for the cleanliness of the res...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on November 28, 2009