Page 8 of swanningaround Travel Blog Posts


Asia » India » Kerala November 9th 2013

Geo: 10.012, 76.2251 Kerala,India 26th October - 10th November 2013We arrived in Kochi Airport to find a man waving a card with our name on as promised and he whisked us away speedily to the Quality Airport Hotel. We stayed 2 nights to adjust to India,or so we thought. What we had not realised was that the QAH is an oasis of peace and tranquility in the chaos that is India, but this did not become clear until we returned from our Birding trip. Kerala is meant to be one of the more efficiently managed states in India.At 5.15am on the 28th Peter, our guide, arrived and off we went towards Thattekad, binoculars and cameras at the ready. Thattekad is a bird reserve. However, it is closed and when we asked why/for how long we were ... read more
Outside tent showing ensuite at rear
View from tent
Jim on verandah

Asia » Sri Lanka October 25th 2013

Geo: 7.2083, 79.8358Anuradhapura-Galle – Koggala – Negombo 16th - 26thOctoberThis will be a short blog as we have had a lazy time over the last few days.We travelled from Anuradhapura to Colombo by 1st Class train and had a good journey. As they say online, (the only place you can book the First Class), that you are only allowed 10 kilos of luggage, we had emailed and asked what we could do about our bags. We received an almost immediate reply saying there would not be a problem as the guard would look after them. We retained the reply on my iPad to show anyone who objected but it worked very well as promised.So it came as a shock when we had to change to a Second Class, non-reservable train for the journey down from Colombo ... read more
View to Lighthouse in Galle Fort
Cricket in front of hotel
Original barracks on left

Asia » Sri Lanka » North Central Province » Anuradhapura October 17th 2013

Geo: 8.45732, 80.5438Habarana,Kandy and on to Ella in the Hill country 9th - 15thOctoberWe left Mr Abi in Habarana with great reluctance, we have never been taken care of so well. Sarat, the neighbour agreed to drive us to Kandy and stop and see sights on the way.The first stop was at Dambulla Cave Temples, 5 temples in 5 caves. They were interesting, especially the reclining Buddhas and the wall and ceiling paintings. As at all the temples, as soon as you enter their grounds you have to take off your shoes and walk barefooted. This canbe a real trial either because the ground is burning hot and it is very painful, or the ground is gritty, or as on our last temple visit of the day when there had just been a heavy downpour, it ... read more
Dambulla Cave Temple roof paintings
Painted feet of a reclining Buddha
Nalanda Gedige

Asia » Sri Lanka » North Central Province » Anuradhapura » Habarana October 8th 2013

Geo: 8.039, 80.7502On theroad again – Sri Lanka 30th Sept - 9th Oct2013We didn't start out to come here, we were on our way to Costa Rica, it is lucky chance that brought us here but we are so happy it did as we love Sri Lanka, so the early name of the Island, Serendip, is most appropriateAfter a pproximately 6 weeks in England for the usual “MOT” of doctor,dentist, optician etc and the much more enjoyable experience of meeting up with friends and family, we are travelling again. We are especially grateful to Paul and Angela who once again let us rest in their beautiful barn, which is the closest thing to a home we have had for 3 years now.Arriving in Sri Lanka on the 30th September we spent 2 days in Negombo, a ... read more
Small striped squirrel in garden
Iguana in the garden
Mongoose by verandah

Asia » Thailand » Central Thailand » Bangkok August 8th 2013

Geo: 13.7308, 100.521Lao People's Democratic Republic 26th July to 7th AugustWe made it to Lao and yes, it was definitely worth the effort, especially Luang Prabang, but if we did the journey again I would fly one way at least.It didn't start well. Online Jim had read that it was no problem to buy your train tickets on the day so we checked with the hotel travel desk in the morning to see if they could get the tickets to save us making 2 journeys to the station. They could, but the lady said it was very unlikely that 1st Class tickets would still be available but that 2nd class was air conditioned with 40 berths in the cabin. I couldn't believe she was saying 40 and kept asking, “14” until she said loudly Four Zero. ... read more
Cabin for 40
Our verandah at Le Bel Air
Riverside garden

Asia » Thailand July 24th 2013

Geo: 11.9727, 102.312 Thailand 1st July - 26th JulyWe were put on a flight out of Oz a day late. I think the visa situation influenced Qantas as the day before we had been told there were people ahead of us on standby and it was highly unlikely we could leave. The first firm date they could give was the 9th!I am not sure if it was our uncertain departure, the contrast between the empty outback and crowded Thailand, or just tiredness but when we arrived in Thailand we collapsed and rested by the pool for a few days. It was only a relatively cheap airport hotel but the pool was lovely.In fact the hotel only opened a couple of days before we arrived and it was a Thai version of Fawlty Towers. The middle aged ... read more
Open-billed Stork
Minibus sign - no words needed!
Guilty monkey, red lips show he raided shrine

Oceania » Australia » Northern Territory » Darwin June 30th 2013

Geo: -12.4613, 130.842 Broome to Darwin via Kimberley and Kakadu 15th - 29th JuneWe survived our camping trips, just, but where do I start describing them? The 9 day journey across Western Australia and into Northern Territory was fantastic. It is not everyone's vision of bliss as we travelled long distances over rough roads, constantly covered in red dust (and black soot when collecting firewood), climbed and clambered over rocks and escarpments, had 3 showers (2 warm) in 9 days and worst of all, the pleasure of bush toilets – trowel and paper, which in hard stony country is quite a challenge. When we first boarded our vehicle Jim and I both had the same thought, what on earth have we done? Especially as we hit our heads climbing aboard for the first few times. Jim's ... read more
Boab Prison Tree - click pic to enlarge
Entrance to prison tree
Hidden stalagmite

Oceania » Australia » Queensland » Cairns June 14th 2013

Geo: -16.9254, 145.775 Even a leaky one. Nearly time to say 'farewell' to Campervan and I will be sorry to leave it behind.Apologies for the random picture distribution in the last blog. Time was running short in the library and I pressed the 'send' button with 1 minute left on the clock. Beating the clock was exhausting – I hardly had the energy to walk out of the library! However I missed out pictures of the Cassowaries so am putting them in this one.This is going to be a very short blog as after visiting Cape Tribulation, Daintree, where we went on a river trip at dawn, and then Port Douglas, we have spent the last couple of weeks retracing our steps to Mareeba Wetlands, Malanda Falls and Peterson Creek to see more platypuses and to ... read more
Cassowaries - adult complete with helmet
Improvisation to keep contents inside
Port Douglas Marina

Oceania » Australia » Queensland » Cooktown June 7th 2013

Geo: -15.4675, 145.249Paronella Park to Cooktown 27th MayThe time is passing so quickly now, I can't believe we have to leave the van in Cairns in 2 ½ weeks.At the end of the last blog we were leaving the coast for Paronella Park near Mena Creek. In the early 1900s a poor Catalan immigrant left his home land and his betrothed and became a cane cutter in the area of Mena Creek. He had promised to return to marry the young lady when he had made some money. He worked hard, made his fortune and went to find her. Unfortunately it had taken him 11 years and after 8 years (which seems more than reasonable) she had given up waiting and married someone else. Her mother was loathe to wave him and his fortune farewell so ... read more
At last, you can see the platypus
Butterfly on vehicle
Grey headed Robin

Oceania » Australia » Queensland » Kurrimine Beach May 16th 2013

Geo: -17.7766, 146.108 Agnes Water to Kurrimine Beach 15th May 2013It is becoming increasingly difficult to write a blog as we continue to find one beautiful area after another to explore but describing them in detail will produce one long yawn for the reader. I am not sure that the Aussies appreciate how lucky they are to have so many hundreds of miles of amazing coastline, with so many bays, coves and never-ending beaches that most of them are empty. It surprises us that despite lots of signs urging the locals to “Do the right thing” and dispose of their rubbish with consideration, many still throw cans, bottles and food wrappers out of their cars as they drive along. The sun glints on the bottles as we travel. Near towns some community groups take responsibility for ... read more
Kookaburra ate 3 worms this size for breakfast
Only place the butterflies landed
The pair of noisy Bush Stone Curlews




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