Page 5 of RedPlanetClaire Travel Blog Posts

Asia » Sri Lanka » Northern Province » Wilpattu National Park September 5th 2017

After 3-4 hours sleep, my alarm went off as Glyn and I were to be picked up at 5.30 for a safari around Wilpattu National Park. Upon stepping out of our room, Bandara was straight on us, wanting to give us coffee but we tried to explain we had no time, 'but it's included' he called. 'We are due to be picked up in 5 minutes' we explained. Undeterred, Bandara followed us up the dirt track to the roadside where we waited for our pre-booked Safari, but Bandara wanted us to do our safari though him, despite Glyn explaining over and over again, and showing him a print out of the booking. 'Jeep man come?' he said (not for the last time by a long chalk). Jeep man was late and after 10 mins, Bandara was ... read more
Wilpattu Holiday Homes
 Wilpattu National Park In the storm
Monitor lizard at  Wilpattu National Park

Asia » Sri Lanka » Sabaragamuwa Province » Kegalle September 4th 2017

The day started with dung. I thought it was a joke but for real, at 9am our guide, Kelum took us plus two other tourists on a walk to the 'Dung Factory'. Maybe it's me, or would be better marketed as the 'Elephant Paper Centre' or something green sounding, because it is all about the recycling after all. Elephants eat around 130kg of food each day and crap around 16 times. The dung is 90% plant fibre, so perfect for making paper. The short walk followed the road we drove in on last night, lined with ramshackle shops and businesses with no pavements but lots of mopeds, tuk-tuks and cars. The heat was enough to make you rain sweat just standing in it. The Dung Factory was a few small buildings and we were promptly shown ... read more
Elephant dung at the Elephant Dung Factory
Young women making paper at the Elephant Dung Factory
Glyn using the coconut scraper

Asia » Sri Lanka » Sabaragamuwa Province » Kegalle September 3rd 2017

I've gotten off a train at the wrong stop before but never a plane! Glyn and I were concerned that we seemed to be arriving 2.5 hours early because we had arranged to be picked up from the airport and there would be a lot of waiting. It wasn't until passport control that we found out that we were not in Sri Lanka, but the Maldives! No one told us that the plane stopped on the way from Istanbul. Looking out of the window at the many tropical islands below, a lot of which were entirely holiday accommodation, I did think it looked like photos I'd seen of the Maldives but just thought it must be similar. I also thought that the airport seemed very small for a capital city too... Apparently this does happen a ... read more
Entrance for the foreigners
View of Maldives from the plane

MISSING June 7th 2017

Glyn didn't believe me when I suggested some r'n'r on our last day in Malta. We even overslept until 8.45am, things were getting crazy.As Malta isn't that big, we've not emptied the petrol tank despite zigzagging our way around the island and Gozo for 6 days. But today we decided to get petrol and this is not an obvious thing to do and a few of the pumps at the filling station were surrounded by confused tourists. Glyn finally sussed that you needed to park at a pump. go to a self service machine and feed it a note (no idea if it gave change), enter the pump number and then return to the pump where it filled your car with the value of petrol you had bought. First we put in €10, checked how far ... read more
Paradise Bay
Malta traffic
Ghajn Tuffieha Bay

Europe » Malta » Malta June 6th 2017

When you come too close to driving over a cliff as you notice your intended destination is daubed in the word 'Private' is every available space complete with two dogs chained up, you may rethink your plans. And then when your re-thought plans are going for a walk, but you struggle to discuss this with your husband because he can't hear you over the thunder and the thunder is hard to hear because of the gale force wind, maybe this is time to give up? The original plan being a visit to Bingemma Fort and the further plan was a walk along the Victoria Lines aka the Great Wall of Malta. I could tell you a bit more about both, but what's the point when I gave up? You will have to go yourself - or ... read more
Hire car at Bingemma Fort with hubby to close to the edge of a cliff
Glass horses at Valetta Glass
Friendly ginger cat at Silvershop

Europe » Malta » Comino June 5th 2017

We had originally booked a trip to go with a family run small company to Comino today. It cost a bit more but seemed worth it, however they had to cancel due to not working because of the elections this weekend. I don't understand the reasoning, but it meant we had to find an alternative. Captain Morgan Cruises are a lot cheaper, offer free food and drink (including booze and soft drinks) plus free (and as it turned out non-existent) wifi. But our hearts sank when we saw the giant over-crowded boat that turned up. Struggling to find a seat, I eventually bargained with an Italian group to get us two seats with a table upstairs that was open but covered, so with sun protection. I was still a bit dubious. In a nutshell, Captain Morgan ... read more
Captain Morgan cruise
Packed tight on a Caotain Morgan cruisex
The Blue Lagoon, Comino

Europe » Malta » Malta June 4th 2017

Today I witnessed the sheer joy of people when their chosen political party has won. It was a pleasure to see people care about the democratic process and their excitement when it goes their way. I wish it was like that in the UK! But not all of Malta was partying, the early morning market was still set up in Marsaxlokk although some vendors packed up at 11am, maybe to celebrate when the news came in I wonder? After yesterday's huge lie-in until 8am, I decided that we needed to put in more effort today and get up at 7am. I regretted this later as I was actually dreaming about kittens when the alarm woke me. There is a genuine reason for this early rising on a Sunday; we were going to the fish market in ... read more
Fishing boats bobbing in Marsaxlokk
Labour Party flags in Valetta

Europe » Malta » Gozo June 3rd 2017

Anyone who regularly reads Glyn's blogs will know that he likes to accuse me of making him get up stupidly early when on holiday so we don't miss anything. But last night when discussing a time to set an alarm, he was horrified when I suggested 8am. Surely not, how about 7am he insisted? I pointed out that it was long past midnight and perhaps some sleep was needed. So he agreed to the 8am alarm saying he would wake earlier anyway. I woke at 7am and uploaded yesterday's blog photos whilst the lazy sod slept through until 7.50. In hindsight I should have gotten us up at 6am, given how long we waited before we actually got to board the Gozo ferry. That aside, after going to the Knickerbocker for tea, coffee and wifi, we ... read more
Snails on the lavendar
Ta' Kola Windmill

Europe June 2nd 2017

Malta is so small you can get around it in a day. Unless you are taking the bus, then make it a week. And do take a cushion. We got up early to catch the bus to the airport so we could collect our hire car. The airport isn't so far away (nothing is in Malta as it is only 95sq miles) but the bus route took in every town, village and fart within 90sq miles (or thereabouts) and so it took an hour and twenty minutes to arrive. The seats were low and hard, so not the best journey. Our hire car is a blue Peugeot 107 and may well be one of the crappest vehicles I have driven (although the Toyota 'no go' in Spain was strong competition). The gears are stiff, the clutch ... read more
Boats to take folk to the Blue Grotto
A blue window
Hagar Qim with high tech covering

Europe » Malta » Malta June 1st 2017

I'm sitting in our cheap hotel apartment (room 101 -yikes!), overlooking the pool with high fencing that is totally failing to obscure the crane to the left and building works behind it. Not that it matters to Glyn and me as we are usually out during the day. However, it did amuse me to see all the tourists grilling themselves earlier by the pool in what is a rather ugly setting complete with building noise and dust. Each to their own I guess. The seashore is about a minute's walk away with plenty of room to get over cooked there instead. As always when Glyn and I go away, the day started early and so we left at 2.30am to catch our 6.00am flight from Birmingham. We boarded the Ryanair craft all full of hope and ... read more
St Paul's Bay
Hubby's first Maltese meal
Malta cat

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