Craig Smith

Craig9563

Craig Smith

I'm an Australian guy with a passion for traveling. I am especially interested in nature. My aim is to see the "main" animal species in the wild and the "major world sights" and by the time I retire. (Not when I retire - life is too short !) My blogs are a mix of information and a bit of comedy - the latter largely provided by my partner and long term traveling companion. The blogs are also a record for me myself, so I can read them with a smile when I am old and grey. Enjoy.



Asia » India » Maharashtra » Mumbai February 28th 2019

Blog # 7. Sunday, March 3, 2019. Earning our stripes in Tadoba, then Mumbai and back home. Dear family, friends and colleagues, Hello everyone, I hope you are all doing OK. We have come to the end of our five week India odyssey. This is the last blog of a trip that was one year in the planning. As usual, we have had a fantastic time. The highlight of the whole trip for me was undoubtedly this past six days. You can guess why. Wild animals. I’m talking sloth bears, wild dogs, a rare black leopard, various deer and birds and – most significantly of all – magnificent tigers! A life-long wish come true to see tigers in the wild. Tigers are endangered and elusive, and for me it was a race against time to see ... read more
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Asia » India » Maharashtra February 26th 2019

Blog # 6 (February 23, 2019). India is incredibly diverse. There is a saying here that for every 50 km you travel, the food changes, the language changes, the culture changes! So, as we boarded an overnight train from Agra to Varanasi (several hundred km apart), we expected a change! Gosh, was that true! But let me backtrack a little. My last blog ended in Agra, when we boarded the train. The extensive rail network in India is amazing – transporting millions of people each day. India Railways is said to be the largest employer in the world (or maybe the second largest, after the Optus complaints department). The best legacy that Britain gave India, it is often said, is its railway network. I think you cannot come to India and not do at least one ... read more
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Asia » India » Uttar Pradesh February 18th 2019

Blog # 5 (February 18, 2019). Time for some critters….and a rather well known building. From Jaipur we drove East to Keoladeo National Park, a protected wetland that is choc-a-block with birds. How could I not stop there??!!! Along the way, we stopped at a huge old step well called Chand Baori - probably the largest in India - dating back to the 10th century. A deep four-sided structure with a massive temple on one face, it was like an Escher painting, with zig-zag terraced steps on three sides leading way down to the well (water source). Step wells are out-dated and abandoned nowadays, superseded by modern plumbing. But they are culturally significant and lately many are being lovingly restored. We’d seen a few already, but this one was a doozy (see opposite). In addition, I ... read more
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Asia » India » Uttar Pradesh February 13th 2019

Blog # 4 (February 13, 2019). Think Pink – It’s Jaipur. Did you know that Shampoo was invented in India in the 1700’s ? The word itself derives from the Hindi, “champo”, a fruit and herb extract for cleansing the hair. I contemplated this information as I showered this morning, as the shampoo in our hotel room was frickin’ awful. It was more like cold porridge than shampoo. It’s not as if they haven’t had a few hundred years to perfect the bloody stuff. Oh, well. We have just spent time in Jaipur, having flown from Jaisalmer on SpiceJet. (Their motto is “Red, Hot and Spicy”, but if this refers to their food, it really should be “Brown, Cold and Heinous”.) Upon arrival in Jaipur, we grabbed a pre-organised cab to our hotel. Jaipur is the ... read more
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Asia » India » Rajasthan » Jaisalmer February 8th 2019

Blog # 3 (February 7, 2019). Jaisalmer – the “golden desert city”. From the blue city of Jodhpur, we travelled to the “golden city” of Jaisalmer, which sits at the edge of the vast Thar desert, quite close to the Pakistani border. Jaisalmer is deservedly a popular tourist spot. It’s central feature is a glorious golden sandstone fort rising out of the desert, dominating the city. It looks like a fabulous giant sandcastle that a kid might build by the shoreline. But we were a long way from the ocean. We were in a city on the edge of the desert. The fort at Jaisalmer was quite different to that in Jodhpur. Unlike in Jodhpur, Jaisalmer fort is a living fort. There are homes, shops, hotels and temples and lots of little cobblestone alleyways all within ... read more
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Asia » India » Rajasthan » Jodhpur February 4th 2019

Blog # 2 (February 5, 2019) The Jodhpur blues - and cranes galore. Last year, a few people commented that they would like to have read more blogs from our Europe trip (e.g, you, Mark Waters! ) People wanted more stories! So, I’ll try to be more frequent this time! To get from Udaipur to Jodhpur, we used a comfy cab. (In India, for about $50, you can just get a cab between major cities, even though they might be some 5 hours apart.) We decided to break the five hour drive by staying overnight about half way. After leaving Udaipur, we firstly dropped in to see a magnificent Jain temple in Ranakpur. Jain = a rather obscure Indian religion. We believe it is actually pronounced “Jan” so we had a little chuckle for you, Bryan ... read more
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Asia » India » Rajasthan January 30th 2019

Blog #1: Awesome Udaipur 30/1/19 Namaste from incredible India. We arrived five days ago, on a five week trip. The plan is to visit places in the popular Indian state of Rajasthan, then across to the Hindu heartland of Varanasi, on to the capital, Delhi, then finally to central India in search of tigers. The first two weeks by ourselves (independent), two weeks with Brent and Shirl’s recommended guide, Mayur Hada, then the last week wildlife spotting from an eco-lodge. So, we are currently in the state of Rajasthan. This is the most touristed place in India. It is the land of maharajas and palaces, magnificent fortresses and desert landscapes, peacocks and tigers, bustling bazaars and the vivid colours of saris and turbans. India at its most exotic. Here’s an extremely quick overview of Rajasthan. Rajasthan101. ... read more
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Europe » Greece » Attica » Athens July 13th 2018

July 13, 2018. Episode 5: Greece is the word. When people think of the Greek islands, they often think of its crown jewel, Santorini. There has been a lot of lyrical waxing about the unique beauty of the place, and it’s justified. Santorini island is a crescent-shaped, partially submerged extinct volcanic caldera. It is a steep slice of land with a jumble of white-washed houses and hotels with pools strewn along its top, interspersed here and there with those classic blue-domed Greek orthodox churches. We flew in, and from the air it looks like a colossal slice of chocolate cake, tilted on its side and dripping with bright white icing. Certainly one of the most amazing places we have ever seen. Of course, Santorini is no secret. We were sharing its twisting cobblestone paths and breathtaking ... read more
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Europe » Greece » Ionian Islands July 4th 2018

July 4, 2018. Episode 4: It’s all Greek to me. Carol, Alicia, Ross and I finally made it to Athens, two and a half days after being stuck on the Croatian coast near Dubrovnik airport. We enjoyed ourselves though, as we experienced a slice of local Croatian life that we would not have otherwise seen. This included a lovely local restaurant by the water, where we had delicious octopus salad and squid ink black risotto, served by a cheeky and endearing elderly waiter. Our allocated time for Athens had been eaten up by the flight debacle, but we wanted to make the most of it. Getting through customs, etc. was surprisingly quick, then we caught a cab into town. Remember that maniac taxi driver that Ross and I had in Zagreb? Well, he was a mere ... read more
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Europe » Croatia » Dalmatia » Dubrovnik June 27th 2018

Wednesday, June 27 , 2018. Episode 3: We didn’t want to leave Dubrovnik- and actually couldn’t! After we split Split, so to speak, Ross and I caught the high speed catamaran down to the magnificent walled city of Dubrovnik. We were due to meet up with our friends, Carol and Alicia Brock, who were flying in from London. We met them at Buza bar, which sits precariously outside the city walls, facing the glistening ocean below. However, the bar was packed. It was standing room only for sardines, so we moved on. Our first stop was Fort Lawrence, a fantastic bastion from which we got super views across the entire city – see first image opposite. There was an outdoor bar by the water at the bottom, so we spent the late afternoon there. After a ... read more
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