When we lived in Taiwan, on one of the telly Travel channels there used to be an advert they would run again and again and again. It told the story of travelers who turned up in a village in the arse-end of nowhere, realised they were lost and were desperate to get back on the road again. Only, of course, there was no transport for a day or two. They then slowly realised that being lost, or at least not where you wanted to be is what travel is about. I think the tag line was something like 'you can't find yourself until you're lost'. What a load of hippy-dippy baloney, is my usual view of that. I have to say I like things planned. That doesn't mean no flexibility but I enjoy planning a trip and like to know what is going to happen next.
Planning it is half the fun.
Although, if that were actually true, then I should plan two trips, have the same amount of enjoyment and save a fortune. But you know what I mean.
However, on occasion, I can be proven wrong about this and we stumble upon (or get pushed into) a hidden gem.
We were off out for the day from our Air BnB week to, I think, Galle for the day. About 10 minutes into the journey our driver turns off the main road and up a hill, round a corner, up a bit, down a bit and round a few more corners.
When he eventually stops he proudly tells that this is the temple of his own village.
On the way back from one of the safaris in Sri Lanka, the driver pulled off the main road and stopped in front of tree that was full, and I do mean full, of sleeping bats.
All hanging upside down as they do on the telly.
And again, but this time a bit closer through the zoom. They are much bigger than I thought they would be.
I feel this should be a longer post because it was an amazing sight but there isn't really much else to say. But it was pretty cool!
We were encouraged by several people to climb up the hill and have a beer at Helga's folly. It is a hotel cum bar high above Kandy. It's a short but steep climb up from the lake side but a nice walk. The eponymous Helga knew lots of famous people and the walls are covered in their pictures and, the whole place in general, with the endless crap that was collected.
The guidebooks very definitely say it's seen better days and it's a bit past its best but worth seeing as you won't find owt else like it.
True! It is one of the strangest places, I think, we have ever visited.
I thought it looked like a VIth Form Common room, when the Ho6 has said: 'Yes, of course you can decorate it so long as you do it all.' A bit gothic and just weird.
This place was really amazing.... AND free!
I think for most people this is a day trip from Kandy but we stopped on the way down from a disappointing few days t'up North. It might have been the weather which was atrocious, or the fact that I constantly felt I was being ripped off and seeing nothing much in return.
This was much better, partly at least because the sun came out. It is a steep climb up to the cave. The guidebooks are a bit sniffy about the huge Buddha at the bottom of the hill. It is huge and it does look plastic. However, once you've climbed up its like nothing else I've seen.
I have to say that I absolutely loved this place. It was just 4 hours driving round beautiful scenery and seeing amazing wildlife every few minutes. The only downside was we were expecting to see flocks of flalelamingos and there weren't any.
It was far, far quieter than the next door Yala NP. However, Bandula doesn't have leopards. Which were amazing.... See previous posts. I couldn't say that we had the place to ourselves but you were definitely on your own most of the time. It was muy peaceful! The stillness, the dawn light, the coolness all added up to make this stunning.
I think, probably, that the stars of the day were the painted stalks, although we did see a whole load of amazing stuff... See future posts... these were just lovely and unusual, elegant and gawky. Yeah, I though they were pretty cool
This is one of the iconic sights of Sri Lanka: People fishing from poles stuck out in the sea. The only thing these guys fish for now are tourists.
We managed to haggle them right down in price by walking off (convincingly) and then letting another group pay the full price to view them on the poles and then we chucked a small amount on top. However, I did feel like I was being exploited. Not sure why though. I'd happily pay to watch actors or dancers put on a show. Why shouldn't they earn a living from it? Also, nobody was unpleasant or forced us to pay or was underhand or anything, but still... I think it was because even once people had paid they really looked they would really rather be doing almost anything else.
Also, now I come to think of it I still owe my mate Dean for my share of their fee. Ooops!
In all those years we lived in Brunei, I never saw a single hornbill. This, apparently, is the Malabar pied hornbill. I hadn't realised quite how big they were. I suppose it stands to reason though when you think about the weight on its head it would have to be quite big.
This was really close to us! So much so that it was only as we went past it that he became visible. The jeep was quickly slammed into reverse and back we went, a few metres, and there he was. A feeding wild elephant 3, maybe 4 metres from us.
Just pulling strips of leaves off the trees, standing on them and then using his trunk to strip the leaves from the woody part of the tree and then, again, using his trunk to push them into the great pouch that is his mouth, masticate , repeat.
It was all very careful, deliberate and slow. No one was going to rush this animal unless he decieded a bit of rushing is what you needed.
During our time in Sri Lanka we saw a massive range of wildlife: From blue whales to bee-eaters, peacocks to pelicans and elephants to eagles (and a whole bunch of other stuff too!).
This Crested Hawk Eagle was sat in tree by the side of the road tearing apart whichever poor, unfortunate beastie it had caught for it's tea.
I've broken with tradition and am working backwards through our Sri Lankan adventure, mainly because it just got better and better.
Our penultimate trip was to Bundala National Park, which is amazing. I'd been to Yala before and really liked it, but was loving Bundala... more of which anon. You just couldn't move for cool fauna; I was busy thinking of clever blog topics along the lines of 'don't both with Yala, its busy, just go to Bundala, it's quieter and you see amazing birds and animals. Yes, there are no leopards but, hey!'
The next day we were bouncing around Yala and I was thinking much the same, when we saw a leopard in a tree.... Really, really cool and the cynic in me just died. Well worth going to see.
To see this we joined a huge queue of jeeps and waited for our turn to gawp at it. We were really lucky as, when we got to it, it woke up. Up to this point it looked like a rug drapped in tree. It even turned around so we could see its head. Needless to say, Mrs E. was buzzing about this and really thrilled as she had missed out on this last time because girl child was ill and didn't go on safari.
Excitment over, we carried on driving around the park seeing all kinds of cool things (again more on this in future posts), but they weren't as cool as big cats. However, as we went around a corner in a deserted part of the park we saw this bad boy lying in the road. No one else around just us and him a few metres away.
The cultural capital of Sri Lanka. We stayed a wee way out of the town up in the hills in a lovely little (well massive really) villa with our own cook, driver and infinity pool.
The grounds contained all manner of wildlife, including, as advertised by the owner, a deer which ran out 2 metres in front of me when I was taking a walk in the grounds and a frog that spent the day sleeping beside our pool
I have to say it was luxury at a bargain price, with stunning views across the valley.
The Gap at Ella: first at night then during the day. They reckon on a clear day you can see as far as the coast.
Galle is an old colonial town on the South coast of Sri Lanka. The old part of the town (the fort) is also the Muslim quarter: Handy when visiting during Ramadan. Surrounding this part of town is a complete wall, which makes for a lovely evening stroll as the sun goes down over the Indian Ocean.
Well, we finally made it to Sri Lanka. We originally had it lined up 9 years ago as a place we wanted to go but pregnancies (both ours and those of family members) have, several times, but the mockers on it to the point where we thought it just wasn't meant to be.
Like most visitors we landed in Colombo we then chose stay for a few days to get settled. We have the big advantage of being teachers so get a long break which means we can take our time with our summer break, so weren't in any rush to do anything or go anywhere. This was true of the whole trip and we could easily have knocked a least a day off each destination and got to see considerably more, but it is supposed to be a holiday and relaxing so why rush?
This will be a blog about my latest shots and what I liked or was trying to do with them
I am a teacher of Economics and have worked in various schools in Europe & Asia. One of the things I love doing is getting out and about with my camera.