Showing posts from April, 2013

Suan Mokkh: Silent Meditation & Us

Image "borrowed" from the Suan Mokkh website Duncan and I had long talked about meditation. We both have friends who meditate and rave about the benefits. So, what better an opportunity than on this trip to book ourselves into a 10 day silent retreat? We opted for Suan Mokkh an international hermitage attached to a local Buddhist monastery in southern Thailand. It came recommended and fitted well with our travel plans. Bloggers who had been to the retreat recommended that we take up the offer of staying the night before registration at the monastery, so that was the plan. We booked an early train for the 8 hour journey south from Bangkok. For the first time on our entire trip I set the alarm wrong. A whole hour later than we were supposed to be up, ie. 7.15 instead of 6.15. So a crazy last minute rush to the train station ensued on empty stomachs as we had no time to eat the breakfast we'd arranged with the hotel. On arrival at the station, the tanoy announced t

Sigiriya & Dambulla

From Kandy we headed north by bus to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Sigiriya. Sigiriya is a spectacular monolith which protrudes singularly out of nowhere high up into the air and can be seen from miles around. It is the hardened magma plug of an extinct volcano. Said volcano eroded away many many years ago and left this rock behind. It is quite a spectacle from near and far. The site was allegedly then used by a former king, King Kassapa, back in the 5th century to house a palace on the summit and the surrounding grounds are quaintly landscaped and inhabited by wildlife, including huge monitor lizards. We braved the midday sun, donned our hats and began the steep 370m ascent, stopping on the way at some frescoes which allegedly portray the concubines of King Kassapa. And quite saucy they were too. On reaching the summit we admired the panoramic views and shared shade with some cheeky monkeys. And we couldn't resist some more jumping photos. The King's ladies At

Tea Time in Ella & Kandy

Considering how much tea we drink at home in the UK , we were soon to discover how little we knew about how it's made and the different grades available. And I expect the next time you come round to ours for a cuppa you'll find us using loose leaf tea, a teapot and a strainer. And possibly even an egg timer. Sorry about that. Hopefully you'll appreciate the difference in taste. So from Uda Walawe we headed further inland into Sri Lanka's hill-country and to a pretty little village called Ella - best known for the Ella Gap rock formation and the stunning views through it across a sea of tea plantations towards the south coast. With this in mind we set about finding ourselves a suitably picturesque place to lay our hats for a few days and found it in the aptly named The View guest house. Alas our camera lenses weren't wide enough to capture the real expanse of it and so this photo doesn't really do it justice... With this as a base, we set off to explore

Searching for Moby & Nelly

We sought and we found, much to my utter delight. But more about that in a mo... T'was a sentimental farewell to Mike and Linda (on my soppy part anyway). I think i even said "i wish i was coming home with you" . I take that back now, they were heading back to snow and below zero temperatures. I really can't describe how happy I am to have missed this English winter, it sounds like it's gone on forever. Anyway, back to Sri Lanka. We hit the road again, opting to take a Tuk Tuk the 25km east along the coast to Mirissa. Mirissa is officially my favourite beach so far on our trip. Why? I hear you ask. Well, several reasons: 1. It has a wide, long stretch of sand. Wide enough and long enough for you not to feel like you are on top of each other, but in a horseshoe so you can see each end; making it cosy all the same. Room for everyone on Mirissa beach. 2. The sea has the perfect depth for scaredy-cats (like me) who don't like going out of their