Page 4 of RedPlanetClaire Travel Blog Posts

MISSING November 27th 2017

Wandering around San Polo this morning, I was super pleased when Glyn spotted a smug looking ginger and white cat in a shop window. At first he thought it wasn't real until it moved its head, which is quite energetic for some cats. This was a pet shop and the bed in the window obviously got a lot of use as the cat lay casually whilst engaging in people watching. Having seen barely any cats in Venice itself, this made me very happy!But that was not all, for in the next alley was yet another cat sat equally as smugly in another shop window! This shop was not a pet store but appeared to sell high end tourist tat. Or was this just a red light district for cats? I said to Glyn that it was ... read more
Cat in pet shop window.
Cat in shop window
gondolars for hire

Europe » Italy » Veneto » Venice November 26th 2017

Yesterday's rain came a day late, which is today. So when we left our accommodation on Campo San Margherita at 7am, it was a lovely combination of dark, cold and wet. I'd gotten us up just after 6am in another futile attempt to get moody and misty photographs over the canals in the early morning light. But by the time we finished getting lost, the wind was up, the rain was down and we were not feel inspired to be creative at all. However we did manage to get rainy shots of a fairly empty Piazza San Marco, which is great because most people get really boring photos with lots of sunshine and blue skies. Or so I keep telling myself. We walked up to Fondamente Nuove via Calle Varisco to get photos of it (the ... read more
Fancy glass in Murano
cat in Torcello
Burano in the rain

MISSING November 25th 2017

As we all know, the best way to resolve a dispute is to have a fight. The Venetians have gotten a step or two further by having specially made fighting bridges with a footprint in each corner where the disputees start the battle. Better still, they didn't have railings back when this originally was a thing and so the first person in the canal not only is proven wrong in the dispute (the winner is right) but they also get very wet and possibly drown as the canals are between 3 and 6 metres deep. To add insult to injury (or death) these days you can also get fined for falling in the canal, so I would suggest not getting into an argument with anyone bigger or stronger when in Venice. This is one of many ... read more
Cat bowl at base of a well
Hubby in narrowest alley in Venice
Bridge of Sighs

Europe » Italy » Veneto » Venice November 24th 2017

My mum told me that the best way to arrive at Venice is via water, so I did that; not because I listen to my Mum (lol at the thought!) but because it turned out to be the cheapest route. Glyn bought advance return tickets for the water shuttle service with Alilaguna for €25 each and the boats were moored outside Marco Polo Airport just like a bus station. Lucky for us, our boat was just about to leave and so we stepped down inside the bowels of the packed passenger area where we all sat beneath window level and had to risk standing if we wanted to look outside. The boat was small, holding around 20 passengers all facing inwards and twisting uncomfortably to try and get a first peek of Venice. Crossing the lagoon ... read more
Cat painting in Venice
Sunset arriving at Venice
View from plane just before arriving at Marco Polo airport

Asia » Sri Lanka » Western Province » Colombo September 16th 2017

Our final breakfast was Sri Lankan of course with the added bonus of listening to Elvis on vinyl. We chatted with our host for sometime before he pointed out that we didn't have much time to see Colombo. He did warn us about scammers who claim there's a Buddhist festival happening and will guide you there in their tuk-tuks to take photos. I'm not sure where they take you in the event that there are no festivals happening but you get charged a whole lot of money to get back.. We weren't let down either because not long after we had wandered around Independence Square and Cinnamon Gardens, our first scammer found us on Galle Main Road, telling all about the amazing festival we could go to. It sounded amazing but unfortunately we said we had ... read more
Independence Square Arcade
Lion in Independence Square

Asia » Sri Lanka » Central Province September 15th 2017

Both ends of the platform at Ella rail station have signs warning that it's a criminal offence to walk on the tracks. We ignored this yesterday, however as we approached the station this morning, we found ourselves walking alongside a policeman and another guy in military uniform. I was concerned about getting onto the tracks in front of them as it is actually illegal, no matter how many other people do it too. Glyn was fearless and strode on without looking back and I followed, waiting to hear a shout that never came. Phew! Once past the warning sign, we came upon a second sign in English only, warning us that should we 'happen' to find ourselves on the tracks, beware of thieves. So basically the authorities are taking it as given that the first sign ... read more
Warning signs on rail track near Ella
Hubby walking on the track
Tunnel containing bats

Asia » Sri Lanka » Central Province » Ella September 14th 2017

For us English it goes against the grain to walk along railway tracks, especially for a few miles but it is the norm in Ella despite signs telling you not to. I guess if you don't speak Sinhalese, Tamil or English, you can't read the signs anyway, so the Germans had a good excuse! So that's how our afternoon went, our morning started in Udawalawe. We've eaten too much in Udawalawe. Our host keeps cooking us large meals and there's always so many dishes! So it was hard to fit in breakfast despite it being very good. This morning it was time to leave the best accommodation we'd experienced in Sri Lanka so far and were chatting with our host whilst waiting for his mate to arrive with the tuk-tuk to take us to Ella. He ... read more
Signs warning not to walk upon the tracks we walked on for miles
Ella Rock
Ravana Falls

Asia » Sri Lanka » Sabaragamuwa Province » Udawalawae NP September 13th 2017

Given that we were chased by an elephant back in Kaudulla, I was a bit dubious at first when I realised we were surrounded by a small herd of them in Uda Walawe. But our latest jeep man seem unconcerned as did the elephants. Udawalawe National Park is one of the main parks in Sri Lanka and around 10kms from where we were staying. Today's jeep is the best one yet giving Glyn leg room for once, a roof and my feet didn't touch the floor. As always we had the back of the vehicle to ourselves.The early morning drive took us past the reservoir with the sunrise reflecting nicely upon it. Wire fences run along the edge of the road to apparently stop the elephants wandering into traffic, but they still come right up to ... read more
Sunrise over reservoir at Uda Walawe
Roadside elephant wanting fruit
Asian elephant in Uda Walawe National Park

Asia » Sri Lanka » Sabaragamuwa Province » Udawalawae NP September 12th 2017

I always thought that tuk-tuks were for short journeys only but in Sri Lanka we found a guy that insisted he could take us from Mirissa to Udawalawe almost as fast as a car. Could it be done... I’d had an idea to get up before sunrise to take long exposure shots of the sea over the rocks but Glyn convinced me that there weren’t any decent view points we could get to. To be honest it was nice not to get up in the dark and lie in until 7.15am. But was it an opportunity missed? I will never know. Breakfast was fried egg, toast, noodles, dahl, coconut sambal and bananas and whilst we were eating our tuk-tuk turned up 40 minutes early, the guy was making sure he wasn’t losing this fare! We said ... read more
Muruthawela Subadrarama Temple
Muruthawela Subadrarama Temple

Asia » Sri Lanka » Southern Province » Weligama September 11th 2017

Blue whales, the largest mammal on Earth and a lifelong dream of mine to see them in the wild. The Indian Ocean is one of the best places to do this as its a breeding and feeding ground as opposed to a place they pass through as is the norm with so many other blue whale spotting locations. The morning started as most on our holiday: waking before sunrise, then being picked up by a tuk-tuk at 5.50am to take us a distance we could easily walk. Glyn had pre-booked us with 'Raja and the Whales' and upon arrival we were offered sea-sickness tablets. Now having been on many boat trips and never once suffering from sea-sickness in my life, I wasn't going to take one and was concerned it may not mix with other medication ... read more
Two whale spotting boats.
Daily dose of rain
View for the afternoon

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