Mary Lyons


Mary Lyons

I don't have a nickname, so I decided to use my AT'03 trailname for this blog even though it has nothing to do with the Appalachian Trail. That is a whole different story. I started teaching internationally in 2006 and finally had the money to travel overseas after dreaming about it for many years. I started blogging on a different site so I could share my travels with friends and family. That site recently revamped its format and all my pictures disappeared! So I decided to start this blog after a friend recommended this site. I usually try to include some helpful travel info for people who are considering visiting the same destinations. Hope you all enjoy it.

Asia » India » Goa » Benaulim March 22nd 2014

I desperately wanted a week in the sun to just relax and do a lot of reading and have some beers. Goa is a cheap flight from Kuwait and hotels range from cheap to expensive, so I booked the flight, found an apartment to rent close to the beach, and I was ready to go. I arrived early in the morning and the owners of the apartment, which was privately owned, picked me up and a short while later I was on Benaulim beach getting a tan and drinking a beer. What a relief! Oh wait. Here the come. The hawkers. These beautiful Goan women in saris selling their wares. And there are so many of them. Sigh. This is the one negative of the beach in Goa. These women are very persistent and they definitely ... read more

Asia » Sri Lanka » Western Province » Colombo January 16th 2014

The bus ride to Colombo was about three hours. We arrived at the Concord Grand Hotel, which is actually pretty nice and has a great pool, around 2:00 and since Danielle was leaving for the airport that night, she and I and Nicole left the hotel and went exploring. On the local bus. It was surprisingly easy to find what we were looking for, which was the Cinnamon Gardens area of Colombo. But we got totally ripped off on the bus. The guy who was taking the money told us it was 18 rupees, but we thought he said 80. Each. So he just went with it and took our money, but one of us needed change and I noticed that from 100 rupees, he gave 50 in change and walked away. So that got us ... read more
Concord Grand Hotel
Local Bus in Colombo
Cinnamon Garden Area Lake

Asia » Sri Lanka » Southern Province » Galle » Thalpe January 13th 2014

This morning we went for a walk through the rice paddies. Sujee had been talking about this during our trip and we had passed many of them, so he would tell us about the rice paddies. Except he called them 'faddy fields'. I knew what he meant, but I didn't realize other people on the tour didn't understand him. When we were taking pictures in the faddy fields, I heard some people in the group talking and I was cracking up when I realized the whole time he was telling us about the faddy fields they didn't make the connection. The rice paddies were actually really beautiful and while I had seen a lot of them in Asia, I had never walked through one. Got some great photos. I would really like to try planting rice. ... read more
Grows on Trees
Faddy Fields

Asia » Sri Lanka » Central Province » Horton Plains NP January 10th 2014

Our first stop today was a gem shop that designs, makes, and sells jewelry. This wasn't on the agenda. Their prices were so ridiculous. But it was a short visit and then we were off to a botanical garden, one of four near Kandy I think. Some of us walked with Sujee, by accident, and he showed us some great stuff. Fruit bats, tiny bees he found by accident, and he is quite knowledgeable about plants. I was content to walk with Sujee and hear what he had to say about certain areas of the garden. This place was not cheap to enter. It was 1100 LKR, although I'm sure Sri Lankans don't have to pay that much. Afterwards we drove back to Kandy and I walked around the local market with Danielle and Nicole taking ... read more
Kandy Botanical Garden

Asia » Sri Lanka » Central Province » Kandy January 8th 2014

After breakfast this morning we drove a short distance on the bus to Polonnaruwa, a Medieval city. We toured the city on a bicycle which is definitely the way to do it. It is fairly spread out and the temples and structures that have been excavated and very well preserved. I wish I could remember more about it, but I just don't. I think being on a tour has made me very lazy. I had no guidebook and we weren't given any info about the site upon entry. I do know this was declared a World Heritage Site in 1982. And rightfully so. After visiting Polonnaruwa we went back to the hotel where the people who were not going on the elephant safari (40 USD) had the afternoon free. I went on the safari to Minneriya ... read more
Polonnaruwa Ancient City
Used to be 7 Stories

Asia » Sri Lanka » North Central Province » Polonnaruwa January 5th 2014

I hadn't exactly dreamed of going to Sri Lanka. It was never high on my list. But several people told me how great it is and I needed a cheap holiday, which is not easy when I have two weeks to use for travel. So I used airline miles for the flight and when I started making plans, I realized the cheapest way to go was to book a tour. A big bus tour. Limited to 16 people though, so not too bad. I'd never done a big bus tour before, except for a few day trips, but this was my best option financially. So I booked with an Australian company called Geckos Adventures. It was easy, good value, and seemed very organized, which it was. I left Kuwait at 3:30 am and wasn't feeling too ... read more

Europe » Greece » South Aegean » Santorini »  Ia May 26th 2013

This day was my last day in Santorini. Last chance to see the Akrotiri ruins. On this trip anyway. So after breakfast at the hotel, I took the bus to Akrotiri and arrived just before my motion sickness got really bad. I was turning a bit green on those curvy roads. I'm sure all that sambuka I had last night had nothing to do with it. The ruins at Akrotiri are completely covered and protected from the elements. Excavation continues, but the site is so impressive. At 5 euros, it is well worth a visit. Akrotiri is a Minoan settlement from the Bronze Age. It was destroyed in a volcanic eruption in 1500 BC and covered in ash, like Pompei in Italy. The ash actually preserved a lot of frescoes and mosaics and other works of ... read more
Street in Oia
Big Church in Oia

Europe » Greece » South Aegean » Santorini » Fira May 23rd 2013

I waited so long to visit Santorini. I always dreamed of going there on some romantic holiday, but I decided if I kept waiting for that, I'd probably never get there! So I decided to book a trip and just go see it for myself. This was one of the most beautiful places I've ever visited and one of the best holidays I've ever had - once I arrived. On the flight from Kuwait, some a**hole kicked the back of my seat for four hours, even after I made him aware of it. Twice. Was he a child who didn't know any better or wasn't aware of his actions, you ask? No! He was a full grown man who apparently didn't know any better and wasn't aware of his actions. Once I arrived in Athens, I ... read more
My Balcony
Acropole Sunrise Courtyard
View from my Room

Asia » Nepal » Kathmandu » Thamel March 29th 2013

After a six hour bus ride from Chitwan, I was back in Kathmandu for two more nights. The bus ride was uneventful, but I was on the side of the bus with a view this time. That was good because I was able to see the view. That was also bad. Because I was able to see the view. Off the dropoff into the river. With little or no barrier in most places. And it is impossible to sleep on this bus, not because it was loud, but because it is so bumpy. We got thrown around pretty good in some sections. I was sitting next to a guy from Belgium who came to Nepal for two weeks, but he spent the first week building houses for Habitat for Humanity. Now he was checking out other ... read more
Boudhanath Stupa
Boudhanath Stupa
Possible entrance?

Asia » Nepal » Chitwan March 26th 2013

Early start this morning. Seems to be fairly common in Nepal, especially when trekking or taking a bus. Rabi met me at my hotel at 6:15AM to take me to the tourist buses. On the motobike. With my backpack. Brought back memories of Vietnam where I got quite good at balancing with a big pack on my back, but this pack was much smaller, thankfully. Rabi went the wrong way on a one way when we left the hotel, and he knew he did. The police stopped him and took his keys, but he talked his way out of it and turned around. And laughed about it. Today was the start of Holi Festival, so the police were out in force, including at the tourist bus lineup where he got stopped again and told something by ... read more
Hotel Westwood courtyard
Elephant ride

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