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Archive for the ‘Sri Lanka’ Category

Travel theme: world cups

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tea in Sri Lanka

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coffee in Turkey

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as served in the Cafe des reves

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Golden temple, Amritsar

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Ailsa’s travel theme
How many more cups or cup-shaped things are out there?

DP-photo challenge: room

Helga’s Folly overlooking the lake in Kandy, Sri Lanka, must be one of the most exotic hotels we’ve visited. At the time we didn’t know it was a hotel or we might have been tempted to stay there. It was created by Helga Desilva Blow Perera, a woman with very eclectic tastes inspired by the 1920’s.

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I love the colour and the exuberance of these rooms. Which one would you choose?
Visit some other interiors.

Texture Tuesday: cuppa

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blended in hue with Kim’s texture ‘granny’s cupboard’

We visited the Mackwoods Labookellie tea museum and plantation in Sri Lanka and learned how the tea is dried and packed after picking. Afterwards we sampled one of their teas accompanied by the best chocolate cake we’d ever tasted and enjoyed looking at the views over the plantation

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what’s your favourite cuppa? tea or coffee? do you have a special mug or cup from which to drink it?

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Sunday Post: with musical instrument

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musicians in Strasbourg at Christmas, they don’t look full of Christmas cheer do they?

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musicians in Hue, Vietnam – their instruments look (and sound) very strange to western eyes and ears

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snake charmer wall art in Pushkar, India

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a couple of musicians prepare for the sunset serenade in Pushkar

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and these two serenaded us at dinner one night in Negombo, Sri Lanka

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Travel theme: Birds

Ailsa’s theme this week is Birds.

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Easter chickens in Cyprus

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Singapore has a wonderful bird park

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painted ceiling, Temple of the sacred tooth relic, Kandy, Sri Lanka,

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bird painted on fabric, Sri Lanka

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bee eater in Yala safari park, Sri Lanka

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peacock door, city palace museum, Jaipur, India

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sunbirds that nested outside our bathroom window in Thailand

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concrete bird in the magic garden, Koh Samui, Thailand

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peacock at Arlington Court, UK

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mallard surveys the scenery in Lynmouth, UK

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garden ornaments

travel theme: distance

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rice terraces in Bali

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Yala safari park in Sri Lanka

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our first view of Sigirya in Sri Lanka – to think I climbed to the top of that!

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Provence

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view of Bellapais abbey with the Five Fingers mountain range in the distance

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the cable car in Barcelona

Take out your telescope to see other people’s distant images here

travel theme: play

Ailsa’s travel photography theme this week is “play”

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young boy amusing himself with a balloon at the entrance to Angkor Wat

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a certain amount of play was involved in the creation of this piece

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playing with fire

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what shall we play today?

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dis-play

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play of light

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these two photos play tricks with your eyes – viewed from different directions they are different scenes and are part of what is called a pleated photo

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word play Indian style – the sign should have read “tie and dye”

Give yourself plenty of time to join in the game on Ailsa’s blog

Pinnewala elephant orphanage and Kandy botanical gardens

We arrived in Pinnewala at 9am, just in time to watch the 9.15am feeding of the elephants in the Pinnewala elephant orphanage. We watched a couple of young elephants being bottle-fed. For a few extra rupees you could feed a bottle of milk to one of them. The youngsters knew what was coming and almost swallowed the bottle in their eagerness to get at the bottle’s contents. In a nearby pen there were two new arrivals in the shape of 2 babies, which had been rescued from irrigation wells. Sadly, babies falling into irrigation wells happens quite often and often too, they are not found in time to be rescued.
Then we watched the herd of elephants feeding – with lots of babies – before they were taken down to the river to bathe. For another small fee you could have your photo taken with an elephant and I couldn’t believe the stupidity of some people who seemed to think they could just go wandering around amongst the elephants, they are after all wild animals!. There are some 80 elephants there although we didn’t see anything like that many, but it was an impressive sight all the same. They were then led down by the mahouts to the river to bathe. Watching them in the river was a fantastic sight.
There is some dispute about the elephant orphanage’s status as orphanages aren’t supposed to encourage breeding but with so many elephants I can’t see how this can be avoided!

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baby suckling from its mother

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down to the river

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We left mid-morning to drive to Kandy which is situated up in the hills. We stopped off to visit the botanical gardens at Peradeniya, which were somewhat disappointing after visiting similar gardens in Singapore and Chiang Mai. I thought there was a very poor selection of orchids on show in the orchid house and the cactus house was locked up.

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However, I was interested to see this

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tree with clumps of pinkish flowers that opened straight off the branch looking like pompoms

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and a tree called Napoleon’s Crown which had rosette-like flowers growing directly on the trunk.

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I don’t know what this tree is, with its curious vertical root structure

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beautiful seed heads

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We also saw the tree known as ‘lignum vitae’ (Latin for ‘tree of life’) which is the densest of woods and sinks in water.

After a couple of hours we had seen more than half the garden and were beginning to feel tired but the few seats that there were in the grounds seemed to be occupied by courting couples taking their lunch break from the nearby college. I don’t think January is the best month for seeing these gardens at their best.

We arrived in Kandy at 1.30 just as the schools were disgorging their pupils into the pavement-less narrow roads. I don’t think I’ve seen so many schoolgirls gathered together in such a small area, there must have been thousands of them.

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It transpired that the boys’ schools are in another part of town but the girls definitely outnumbered the boys. It took quite a long time to get to the hotel, the Queen’s Hotel, a colonial style building on the edge of the lake and close to the tooth relic shrine.

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Queen’s Hotel

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vintage interior of the Royale pub, part of the Queen’s hotel

The hotel is a popular place for weddings and several took place during the couple of days that we were there.

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traditional dancers greet the groom

We didn’t see the bride on this occasion.

Sharing this post with other avid travel photographers on Noel’s blog.

Sri Lanka – up the rose quartz mountain and on safari

We discovered quite accidentally that the largest rose quartz mountain in Asia was not far from where we were staying in Dambulla in Sri Lanka so we decided we couldn’t miss seeing this.

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We parked the car and headed towards the shack marked ticket office where a man attached himself to us for ‘security’ (one way of getting money off foreigners) and we walked through the ironwood (Na) forest, which covers a very large area. In the forest clearing where there was a gold plated Thai-style Buddha statue we met the monk whose dream had called him there from Galle (in the south of the country) to find the rose quartz mountain.

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the tree he lived in

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Apparently he lived in a tree house for 2 years before finding it and it is reputed to be Asia’s largest rose quartz mountain.

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It looks black from the effects of weather on it but you don’t have to chip very far to find the pink quartz underneath.

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Chandana our driver, the self-appointed guide and I climbed to the top where there was a Buddha figure and a wonderful view of the surrounding countryside. Our ‘guide’ chipped off a piece for me at the end of our walk.

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a ruined stupa in the old woods

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immensely long snake vines tangled their way through the trees.

Our guide then offered to show us another fantastic Budhha figure cut into the rock for which he wanted more money (we’d already given him extra for taking us to the end of the track). We finally agreed to this and drove on another few km to the Aukuna temple where we were charged 750 rps each to enter and take photos.

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Aukuna Buddha

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prayer flag

This statue was fantastic indeed but the morning was somewhat spoiled by the guide trying to beg still more money off us. Unfortunately this seemed to happen wherever we went.

In the early afternoon we drove to Habarana to meet up with our safari guide and then drove to the Hurulu eco centre where we went off-road in search of elephants. Originally we were supposed to go for a safari in the Minneriya or Kaudulla reserves but the recent heavy rains had rendered all the tracks impassable and this was the only reserve in the vicinity that had passable tracks. Even so, there was one tricky moment crossing a stream which required all our driver’s skills.

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We saw a bull-necked stork in a tree and then several family groups of elephants with a couple of babies. We also saw brightly coloured finches? I saw a peacock, and 2 jackals ran across the track in front of us.

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our first elephant

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Each time a group of elephants was spotted all the jeeps in the vicinity converged on the group so that there were as many as 15 jeeps surrounding them at any one point. I dread to think what this must do to their digestion. We saw more elephants later in the afternoon. As we were driving along the main road back to base we passed one bull elephant right at the road side. I fumbled to remove my lens cap (which of course was already removed) and so missed being able to take a photo as he quickly disappeared into the jungle.

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views of the eco park

Daily Post daily photo prompt: faith

Describe a memory or encounter in which you considered your faith, religion, spirituality — or lack of — for the first time.

Photographers, artists, poets: show us FAITH.

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In Kandy, Sri Lanka, in the temple of the sacred tooth relic, the doors to the inner part of the shrine are opened for about 20 mins twice a day to allow people to file past and catch a glimpse of the relic