Sri Lanka

…truly beautiful!

 

Ideal stay: at least 6 days if you want to roam around the island
Temperature: tropical climate, around 25°C

Before starting my research on “Sri Lanka” it was not really on my radar or bucket-list. I believe you feel the same… Sri Lanka.. mh where is it exactly? Beaches or jungle? Country or island? Ok, ok – not that bad.
Still, I was not aware of the beauty and diversity this island provides.

 

Where? What? How?
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There we were – my better half and I – sure about the destination but not on the route (yet).
Me, the main planner (as usual), took the initiative and started the route.

Our aim: to see as much as possible but not backpacking throughout the island!


Our route and the different spots ended up to be a mixture of blog-research but also live recommendations from my lovely, helpful Sri Lankan work mates.
It was beautiful to see how proudly they shared their top insider tips with me and the sparkle in their eyes was contagious!

After 1,5 weeks of planning our route was set.

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Srilanka Map
 
From Abu Dhabi there are direct flights which take you to Colombo in more or less 4hours. Etihad Airways or SriLankan Airlines will take you.
Over there it is highly recommended to take a personal driver who drives you around.

Posh or much needed?

 

Yes, it sounds posh but in fact it is needed if you do not want to roam around by public transportation. Also, due to the street conditions and horrible driving skills you would not get too far if driving on your own.

The driver research was quite complicated. We heard about the average package price which is normal (package: car, fuel, driver, drivers accommodation, drivers food) but were not too sure where we should actually find the drivers. Some agencies “rent them out” which we found weird so I looked up couple of websites. On TripAdvisor I found a girl who strongly recommended “Francis” – after a few emails back and forth with Francis directly I had a good feeling and we booked his service.

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The communicated route was:
26.4. pick us up in the morning at 10h in Colombo to drive to Kandy but stop at the Elephant Orphanage
26.-27.4 night in kandy
27.4. take us mid-day to Polonaruwa
27.-28.4. a night in polonaruwa
28.4. afternoon take us to Passikudah
28.-30.4. two nights there
30.4. morning take us to Yalla Park
30.-1.5. one night in a camp
1.5. evening take us back to Colombo

As usual we booked all hotels in advance – ah wait, not all of them. One night we did not book to act “spontaneous” on site….Well, it was not my idea let’s put it this way 😉

To sum up:
Prior to the trip we booked the flights, hotels, driver and did not book any sightseeing activities.
We took light clothes and the most important: mosquito spray and wipes!

 

DAY 1
We could not have wished for a better start of this vacation: at the boarding gate at the Abu Dhabi International Airport we were told that we were UPGRADED to business class! Woopwoop. Happy since until that day I had never been in business class.

 

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After a relaxed and pampered flight we arrived at night at Colombo Airport.
Once you step out of the airport you get “harassed” by the countless, illegal taxi drivers. You better watch out and look for the official ones! Still it is important that you negotiate the price prior to jumping into the car. He drove like a maniac – but this seems to be normal over here.

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..I feel like a millionaire…
 
One Euro equals 172 Sri Lankan Rupees; the reason why I was not able to keep an overview of the money but thankfully I had my other half with me who managed it all. 

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Since it was only one rather short night we booked the Supun Arcade Residency which was ok for one night only.
Once we arrived at the hotel we went for a stroll around and went back to the hotel.
We – unfortunately – did not sleep like babies; it was quite the contrary: way too hot to be able to sleep properly – itchy all over either from the mosquitos or the hotel bedsheets. We were so tired but unable to sleep, every few hours we were awake but could not get up since it was still too early to do so.  

 


DAY 2

We were finally “allowed” to get up, got ready and had a quick breakfast with a view.

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At 09h00 sharp Francis came to pick us up. We stored the luggage in the rear and drove all the way to the elephant orphanage in Pinawela.
The orphanage was 4h away from Colombo and the drive included some frightening moments in the car.
Francis was at all times kind, friendly, knowledgeable but never too intrusive.

Finally we made it to the orphanage – which unfortunately was full of tourists.
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..breath it all in, love it all out..
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Before entering into the official orphanage we were lucky to spot many elephants who were on their way back to the preserve, coming from the water bath on the other side.
Instead of following the elephants we went reversely to the water.
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Guess what we spotted? Some elephants including many BABIES
🙂 Yes!
Blessed to see and be that close to them.. I was in my own happiness heaven – but it got even better.
We approached them super close and were glad to take some lovely pictures.

 

…cute pachyderms…
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The babies were quite cheerful and playful but such babies are not really small – instead super strong and tend to overdo it.

 

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After this wonderful experience we went inside the orphanage and spotted some more elephants and a few babies which even got fed during our time there. Lovely. Enchanting.

..Fun fact: they cover themselves in sand to “scrub” off the dirt..
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One big minus here though was the constant bothering and begging of the locals – always expecting tips just because of a small hint in regards to direction or other explanation.
In the long run this was really annoying.


Our next stop: the Royal Botanical Garden in Kandy.
Another 45min drive and we reached the famous Botanical Garden with a huge variety of flowers, the oldest and tallest trees as well as most rare plants.

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Actually, all travel blogs and websites state that the Orchid House is something very unique and special – in fact we did not like it that much.

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If you fancy a quick break you get the chance to grab some food or drinks at the coffee shop which is located in the garden.
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After roaming around we got back into the car and drove to Sri Dalada Maligawa in Kandy – a well-known temple “temple of the tooth” which requires you to cover your shoulders and knees (this also applies to men!).

…friend or lonely dog?…

Btw our driver Francis drops us on the desired spots and while we go for the sightseeing he meets friends, family or grabs some food etc. – he is never just sitting in the car and waiting like a poor lonely dog (if you dare to think this ;)). Since we spent overall 6 days / 24h together we ended up rather being friends than the typical “customer-employer-relationship”.
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A beautiful building with its finest mural paintings and impressive Buddha sculptures.

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I find it a pity however that all temples charge the tourists an exaggerated amount of money. At least it is free of charge for Buddhists and locals.
Don’t forget to take off your shoes!

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On the way down to our hotel we stopped at a manufacturing shop which Francis recommended.
We had a look but did not buy anything – it also seemed a bit “planned” rather than “accidental” – if you know what I mean 😉

 

Did I mention that the island is super green and has a lot of stunning view points?

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Finally this long but still beautiful day came to an end and we checked into our hotel – Cinnamon Citadel Kandy – which provided an amazing open air lobby and stunning views right into the nature!
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We said goodbye to Francis and went for a swim in the pool.
We just swam for like an hour and then a big thunderstorm came and it rained for a few minutes torrentially. But def. cool to watch – from the dry lobby area 😉

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DAY 3
We had no breakfast included reason why we started off the journey at 09h and drove for 2h to the Golden Temple.

Francis dropped us off and we walked the stairs up until the top of the temple.
On the way there were many monkeys which are not scared from the tourists – quite the opposite – they tend to be cheeky and naughty.

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The views from the top were just stunning.

Btw. Francis got paid on a daily basis so that he can take care of himself and the car.

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Afterwards we were driven to Sigiriya Rock – The 8th world wonder. It def is.
It is literally a huge rock in the middle of the greenest flora and fauna.
Unfortunately it was so hot and humid that I had severe circulation problems and was only able to make it half way through.

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Still the view from here was already unbelievable.

My strong and tough partner made it all the WAY UP and recorded it photographically.
Amazing.

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After a quick break and a few water sips we went back down and went straight to the small souvenirs shops to get a gift for our niece.

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..MADE MY DAY..
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Hilarious situation: My better half approached the shops and was told that the wooden toy “was made by my mum” – while he was trying to bargain – I went over to the next shop and spotted (obviously) the same toy – in that moment, he has already purchased the “unique” toy and was proudly presenting it to me. I was cracking and told him that they must have the same mother since they both have exactly the same toy – slightly demotivated he went back to the first shop and told him “well I think you lied to me” – all he obtained was a little SriLankan head shake and a sassy smile. Hahaha. 🙂

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This exciting afternoon ended with the check in at the Lake Hotel in Polonaruwa.
We made it to the pool and had a relaxing nap; once we opened our eyes a HUGE buffalo family was right in front of us. Haha. That’s what I call nature.

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In general since day 1 we were always lucky to spot the weirdest animals just free-roaming on the street: birds, porcupines, cows and elephants.

 

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After swimming we went for a shower and were looking forward to having our dinner. Unfortunately the buffet was overloaded with flies and mosquitos which were more than annoying and disgusting.
Well, in the end it is a tropical island and you cannot get rid of all of them – even if you use the wipes couple of times in a row.
 
DAY 4
In the morning we felt the trials of the horrible, sleepless night before.
Too hot, too cold, too humid, too many mosquitos – and every few hours we woke up and drank water like pigs.
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Somehow the nights over here do not really pass quickly. One wishes that the nights are that long back home!

We went to the downtown area but were rather disappointed, some pics here and there and moved quickly on.

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We stopped in a small village to grab some food and were constantly observed by the locals. The 2 whites incl. the blondie. It felt weird but I did not feel insecure.

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After 1,5h drive to the East of the island we reached our resort “Centara Passikudah”.
Well, “resort”.
Normally our hotel choice is pretty good but somehow on this trip we realized that we did not always take the best option.
Overall we have to say that the service is poor anyways. People are friendly but not “skilled” on a hotel service level.

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Never mind, the resort itself was new, shiny and directly located on the beach.

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We explored the beach and ended the day with a yummy dinner.

DAY 5
We went for breakfast which we had to share against our will with the countless free-roaming crows. Annoying.
Crows


Nevertheless the food was yummy and anyways we were in a relaxed mood looking forward to enjoying the day by the pool.

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At 15h00 we had a wonderful couples full body massage which we both soaked up.

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The day ended with a few drinks by the pool and a relaxing sleep.

DAY 6
The big day has come – our night in the jungle – yes, Licious goes jungle.
We drove almost 5h to YALA NATIONALPARK which was super tiring, annoying and I had the strong desire to throw up more than once.

The only bright light in this dark, montone tunnel was the free-roaming elephant which made us stop in the middle of the street.
Whenever you spot such an animal you have to stop the car and wait until he moves on his own at his own pace from the street – else he could turn your car in a football 😉

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We finally arrived at the Eco Island Sri Lanka Tented Safari Camp Yala.
The welcome was incredibly warm and way better than any other welcome in the previous days.
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Furthermore the camp is really ecological – they move every 6 months to a different spot within the national park so as not to harm the ground! We liked the environment-protection thoughts and were looking forward to our stay.
First of all they meticulously explained the jungle rules to us. Often we heard “But don’t worry, this normally does not happen” – which in the end did not really calm me down… But ok, lets do this!

We “checked-in” to our tent and had to hide our belongings in a big wooden box – not hide from thieves but from the free-roaming animals.

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Generally it was somehow a “deluxe tent” since it had an adjoining toilet and shower but If you looked closer you spotted the mosquitos, spiders and frogs.

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While waiting in our hamock for the lunch call we heard some heavy footsteps around our tent…
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..Oh, oh… Lets see what comes next!..

…in the end we spotted an XXL lizard strolling around outside. He was such a huge thing that it literally sounded like the footsteps of a man.

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The rangers called us for lunch and after having this sumptuous meal we were picked up for the first safari.

Princess..check the tshirt..haha

Well, for those of you who never attended a safari – it is not like in a zoo where you see animals left and right while driving through the nature.

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It is rather an adrenalin rush while playing hide and seek with the many different wild animals! IMG_7510
It was lovely to spot all those animals in their natural habitat – at the same time it was sad at times.
For eg. when we saw a little injured brown bear – which arouses a motherly-feeling inside of you, but since it is nature and the process of “natural selection” no one is allowed to go and help him. 
 

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Some other friends we have spotted:

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This unique experience came (unfortunately) to an end but this amazing day was rounded off by a romantic candlelit dinner under the stars.

 

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Yes, now you go “ohhhhhh lovely” – the same came to my mind when I initially heard this.
It was def. incredible to sit outside, at a table for two, lit by candles and the close fireplace, an exclusive dinner (incl. ONION soup ;)) and above us only the sky – just the two of us – but that’s precisely it – it wasn’t just the two of us.
Many mosquitoes, flies, “flying somethings” joined us here.

 

Initially we were busy hunting or dispatching them but at one point we realized that it was useless since they just became more and more.
So we (tried to) enjoy our dinner and just went with the flow… Yes, we ate a couple of those insects for sure, since they flew right onto our cutlery.

..bugs life..
 

I tried very hard but at one point I was not able to focus on the conversation due to the buzz, whir, and being itchy all over – ear, hair, legs etc.
My partner opted for having the locally made liquor which helped him to ignore this animal show.

 

With a tummy full of food, love and happiness we went to our tent.
Btw. The rangers gave us a bell in case any wild animals showed up and they would come and save us in a few seconds.
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In our tent we were protected by the mosquito net but still were encircled by different types of insects which meant I couldn’t sleep properly.
My better half, who had just confirmed that he also finds it all disgusting and he would not be able to sleep, was snoring next to me not even 2 minutes later. 😉

I, on the contrary, was not able to sleep for even a few moments and was busy hunting the insects with my lamp in the hand.

A few hours later the most hilarious thing ever happened. My significant other was sleepwalking and while he was sitting upright in bed he said “may I go to the washroom? I know they are coming soon to ask for feedback and I don’t want to miss out” – I calmed him down and he went back to sleep. But internally I was laughing my head off. Too funny and sweet at the same time.

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..feedback..
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The “feedback” thing popped up in his subconscious mind because everywhere you go in Sri Lanka they ask you proactively to leave your comment on TripAdvisor 😉

DAY 7
To be honest, overall this night was awful. I truly recommend everyone to have a jungle experience – but I would never, ever do it again 😉 Once is enough!

Finally it was 5am and we got woken up by the rangers serving coffee and biscuits. They came to pick us up for the 2nd safari: the dawn safari.
I was never that glad to be picked up at this time of the day!

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Once again we were lucky to spot many different animals and were even super close to an elephant dispute.

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The very knowledgeable and friendly rangers showed us around and brought us to the most special places and even to the ocean!
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My happiness level was already at 80% but got exceeded and straight up to 100% once I saw those, small cute BABIES all over.
Baby pigs, baby monkeys, baby Bambis… I LOVE THEM!
Totally crazy about them.

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After driving around the jungle for a couple of hours we got back to the camp; packed our things and checked out.

Francis was already there to take us further to our last stop. It took us 5h and at the end we were really annoyed by his crazy driving skills and the long drive.

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Nevermind, finally we arrived in Colombo and – as initially mentioned – we kept the last night to decide “spontaneously” on a hotel. Well, we stepped into a few to get the daily rate and checked the room – but nothing really suited us.

Since Francis comes from Negombo he suggested to take us there; we ended up in a long street with many hotels next to one another.
We were exhausted, tired and annoyed and after negotiating we chose Rani Beach Resort.

What shall I say? Since that day I hated it even more to “act spontaneously” – it was an absolute catastrophe: loud, dirty, mold everywhere and countless bugs & mosquitoes.

We tried to sleep there and were looking forward to having our last day on the island.


DAY 8

We got up and tried to make the best out of this last day since at the moment we were in a quite negative mood. We were not planning on having such an awful last night on the island.

 

In addition to the horrible night, the breakfast was disgusting, the pool side and its sun beds were full of pooping crows and the “beach” was rather a stone field with some beggars/sellers. All-in-all pretty annoying and disappointing.
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..positive mind..positive vibes..


Normally my other half is the positive one during vacation and finds solutions for anything – this time he was so pissed that he had even asked if we should go to the airport now (10am) although the flight was at 8pm. A sign!

Meant, this time I had to be the strong one and tried my best to get something positive out of this experience.

We started walking on that long street and got us some souvenirs – then I spotted a scooter shop and we rented one out.
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All of a sudden this day turned into one of the best days – the best example that no matter how dark and bad things may appear – together, you are better and you will find a way back to the bright side of life.
🙂 *LIEBE*
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We cruised and cruised and ended up in the outstanding Beach Lodge with amazing food and cold drinks, located right on the beach.
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We stayed here for a couple of hours and enjoyed the sun rays. Simply happy.
Afterwards we went to one more shop where my partner bought a few T-shirts and I got a small Sri Lanki portmonnaie.
We went back to the scooter shop since it started raining cats and dogs.
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The uncle of the shop owner drove us by tuktuk to the airport which was an unforgettable experience! We were incredibly wet from the rain which entered in the whole tuktuk but also purely happy.

With a bag full of new experiences, unforgettable moments and hearts full of love we flew back to Abu Dhabi!

If you are seeking an adventure and do not want to fly too far: Sri Lanka is your deal!
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Enjoy it!  
PS: It is still a “hidden gem” therefore you have barely (German) tourists around you 😉

 

 

Mauritius

…incredible!

Ideal stay: 1week – 10days combined with Seychelles Mainland for e.g.
Temperature: depending on season, between 18ºC and 32ºC

Typically, Mauritius is seen as a ‘honeymoon’ destination and generally placed on the same page as the Seychelles, Maldives, Bora Bora etc.
So obviously, once I told my friends that me and my better half would travel there, literally EVERYONE associated this with a secret engagement, an early honeymoon or just a posh getaway for the ‘newly wealthy’.

Well, none of the above (unfortunately) applied.

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Living in Abu Dhabi gives you the huge advantage of being located in ‘the other’ part of the world (especially when coming from Europe) which gets you closer (at least location-wise – not necessarily budget-wise) to some of the ‘dream destinations’ such as India, Thailand, Singapore and diverse islands.

With ‘only’ 4h flight to Seychelles and from there other two hours to beautiful Mauritius, we decided to go ahead with this trip.

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The flights with Etihad / Air Seychelles range between AED 1500 and AED 4500 depending on the seasonality and there is only one airport on the whole island.
Mauritius is – unlike to all rumours and generic perceptions – not a pure beach island. It is as diverse as for e.g. Sri Lanka and contains high mountains, astonishing flora and fauna, humble inhabitants, long and historical culture, untouched nature, endless waterfalls and is rounded off by sandy beaches.

My personal advice is to take your time to explore the WHOLE island and its beauty rather than focusing on one area by spending your precious time in one of the high-end resorts.

..soak it all up – not just the 5* white hotel towel..

We travelled in September and I would definitely recommend this season. It is warm, not too hot, just partially rainy and importantly, not overcrowded with the typical tourists.
To move around freely it is def. beneficial to get a rental car – my usual ‘licious touch’. Obviously you also have the option to use the public transportation or tramp around on foot.

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DAY 1
At around 14h00 we arrived at the International Airport – and yes, it is def. appropriate to call it an ‘international’ one because the architecture, facilities and modernism would not tell you just landed on an island (quite the contrary to Mahe-Airport).
A very friendly guy came (late! Island style) to hand us the key for our rental car. The rental car was in quite good condition – it seemed – so we moved from the AIRPORT to our first stop in the North: Troux aux biches.

..all-rounder chewing gum..

Keep in mind that there is left-hand traffic which could lead to an over usage of the windscreen wipers instead of indicator.

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As mentioned earlier, the rental car ‘seemed’ to be ok, but after our first attempt to configure our left car mirror it fell right off. Well, … this island trip was going to be interesting. It took us more or less 1 hour to drive to Trou aux biches.

Hotel-wise it depends, as usual, on your budget and expectations – you could do Mystik, Trou aux biches Resort or Westin Turtle Bay.

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Since we only arrived in the afternoon, we showered quickly and went for a sunset drink with a stunning sunset over the ocean at Mystik. THIS is what I call #islandlife! Breathtaking… Is there any better way to start your trip?

DAY 2
After breakfast we went to fix our rental car in the nearby city centre and opted for an automatic car – it eases a lot and you will be able to focus on the crazy traffic and wiper-challenge.
Use your car to drive around and stop wherever you feel like.

We’ve stopped at the Kite Beach, sat there for a while and ended up for Lunch At LINDA’s PLACE.

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An amazing, caring, individual place which feels like home. You will be able to taste quite a few different home-made rums and choose your favourite dish from a selected menu. I highly recommend the crab risotto served in the shell, overbaked with cheese. Yummy…

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The ‘botanical’ garden was a recommendation but did not impress us too much, to be honest. It has quite a few tall trees, bushes, plants but nothing which made us stop open mouthed. Especially not if you have seen the Botanical Gardens in Miami and Sri Lanka. Still, worth a walk.

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In order to complete this relaxing second day, we stopped spontaneously at a rocky beach to enjoy the sunset. Sunsets are anyways my secret passion but I must say that Mauritius did a pretty good job here.

DAY 3
This day started quite early (6h) since we had one hour drive ahead of us towards the South of the Island.

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We wanted to scale LE MORNE – UNESCO World Heritage. This hike is doable by ‘non-hikers’ until a certain height and for the remaining part only the ‘brave’ succeed. In general it takes you almost 3 hours to reach the almost-top and 4 hours to reach the TOP TOP.
Still, what you get by climbing 0,75-way up is just incredible.

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As a reward after this climb you should enjoy a dip in the sea at the adjoining beach. The bar will provide you with cool drinks and tasty snacks, the ocean with a refreshing moment and the beach with the well-deserved relaxation. This is def. a good bet.

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We spent our evening in FLIC EN FLAC where we had some great street food (boulette, mine frits) and watched the romantic sunset on the beach with a traditional ‘Napolitana’.

Afterwards we drove all the way back to the North – the island is not too elongated therefore it is doable.

DAY 4
The fourth day was dedicated to Grand Baie.
We were looking for some water activities, which are offered abundantly. We decided to go for the Underwater Walk at reduced 1800.- (local currency) for two incl. full equipment.

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After a clear instruction lesson, we went on a boat and were brought near a collar reef where you got your ‘own helmet-aquarium’ upon entering the water.
One could face slight pressure issues but no need to panic – just breathe normally and do the altitude compensation as advised by the instructor. The underwater walk is suitable for people like me, who fear the mask and oxygen bottle which you require for scuba dive.

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One will be able to spot different fish and beautiful corals – perhaps you are even lucky to spot a moray eel or turtle. It’s an incredible feeling to be that close to them and still there is no need to panic since you are not too deep in the ocean and with both feet (literally) on the ground.

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At this point I would like to underline the great value for money which you get by choosing a WESTIN but especially this WESTIN TurtleBay. It starts with the incredible open lobby, the cosy white tea smell, friendly staff till the incomparable HEAVENLY SLEEPER BEDS. Oh my…

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The hotel offers a vast choice of complimentary outdoor activities which we actively used. I loved the transparent kayak, the stand-up paddling, the wakeboarding but also the relaxation time near the pool/beach.

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In the evening we went to Port Louis where my attention got caught by the colourful umbrellas which you spot in the city centre. The straightforward City-Centre is great for a walk, an ice cream and a lovely dinner with (local) friends.

By the way, my good friend Romina is the owner of the page MAURITIUS CONSCIOUS and will be able to guide you through ‘her’ island – even better than me.
Her boyfriend and her are real local experts, residing there now for a couple of years and promoting green travel.
It is important to maintain the beautiful natural scenery of the island so that your descendants will be able to see this incredible spot by themselves.

DAY 5
‘Start your day right’ – well, I guess 10/10 were achieved this morning. Wow. Simply wow.

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 Is it not exactly this what comes to your mind when thinking of an island? For me, it was almost unbelievable but the bright shining sun and the nice breeze in my face made it clear to me: yes, life is good and this is what you get!

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After enjoying some more time at the Resort we drove south to the so called ‘Chamarel – seven coloured earth’. If we would have known the ‘failure’ it would be, we would not have left our perfect place – The Westin.

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This place was OVERCROWDED with different tourist buses or hustler tourist guide-cars. In Sri Lanka you kind of ‘need’ a personal guide due to the rural conditions but in Mauritius you are better off to move around by yourself – especially if you now have my insiders advice as well as Romina’s recommendations.
Between the masses of people (+incredible camera zoom) we were able to spot the waterfall and after a short walk we finally got to ‘THE-7 coloured earth’. Well, … ‘okish’ is all it gets.

Never, ever forget your mosquito repellent – these useless insects are very aggressive and all my bites (40 or 42 – can’t recall) ended up as infected, swollen wounds

Since we have not spent too much time at the ‘place to be’ we went to the Curious Corner Of Chamarel which was also an ‘okish’ fun time but fell in line with this freakish day.

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On top of this, our beach bar at Le Morne Beach was also closed so in the end it seemed that the highlight of the day was the sugar cane juice on our way down to the South, which was handmade by an elderly woman who was adamant to explain all her steps meticulously.

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The long car ride and the failure day was coming to an end but got somehow turned around by overlooking the stunning St. Regis. Love at first sight – literally. Great open reception area, spacious pool area, choice of outdoor restaurants and a cosy bar where we (really) enjoyed our cocktail before the long awaited dinner.

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For dinner I was craving Spaghetti with seafood – and guess what, there was not such dish on the menu of all restaurants. Somehow I was upset, and somehow this did not surprise me after the rather unproductive day. BUT – I have to admit that I got surprised by the flexibility and competence of the restaurant employee who made it possible (along with the chef) to get me my favourite dish. Jackpot!

While having dinner we got company by a typical Mauritian-Bat which looked like a monkey but turned out to be a flying jumbo – making us smile by the end of this day.

DAY 6
Our 6th day started off very well with a delicious, healthy breakfast at our almost fully-booked resort. Boosted by the freshly made juice we drove all the way to Chamonix, in search of our local tour guide for the upcoming Wild-Zipline experience. Yey.

Somehow we managed to get to the right starting spot in the middle of the bushes.

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Equipped with belts, ropes and two knowledgeable guides we made our way through the jungle. All kind of ‘climbs’ were followed by a small or long (250m) zipline through the forest, crossing rivers and waterfalls at a height of 70m.

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This was such a great experience and incredible feeling. I was not scared at all since the guides were always by our side, making me feel more than comfortable. The best thing about the tour with CHAZAL was that it was only us 4.
On the way to the last ziplines we were even taught how to identify a ripe sugar cane and how to suck the juice without anything other than your teeth.
At the end of this tour a homemade lunch awaits you (included in the total price).

Don’t forget to take a change of clothes with you – heavy rain could always surprise you

After a warm shower and the afternoon-cake at the St. Regis – I enjoyed the Sunset Yoga Session on the beach. My personal ‘me’-moment.

DAY 7
As you can see from my review, we explored the whole island in an ‘active’ way rather than just enjoying the resort. Yes, we booked resorts and enjoyed them but we managed to combine this with the real local experience.

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Near the Cascavelle Shopping Village in Flic En Flac we met our private guide for the quite famous but tricky 7 waterfall hike. Our drive took us through the sugar cane fields, bushes – left-right combinations to the parking spot-like spot.
With nothing but good sneakers, mosquito repellent and water bottle we started this crazy hike.

To be honest, Ms. Licious is not the type of girl who goes through the deepest bushes and likes to get dirty – but today, it was different. I was brave enough to hold tight onto the thick branches, press my fingers into spider homes to manage to climb behind the numerous waterfalls. Higher, lower, easier, tougher following always the knowledgeable guide.

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Even if we looked like pigs afterwards, had scratches on arms and legs and some more mosquito bites here and there – it was one of the best things I was lucky to do in my life. Breath-taking views from top of the waterfall, fascinating water sounds and interesting background information on all the types of vegetation. A must do!

After this ‘torture’ we rewarded ourselves with a tamarind and brown sugar body scrub at the St. Regis SPA. – revitalizing. Our day ended – surprise – with a beautiful sunset.

DAY 8
Our last day has come – unbelievable how times runs but on the other side, we can say we saw and experienced a lot within the past 7 days.

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We kept the ‘Point Naturelle’ for our last day since we were not too sure if this was a real must-see. It turned out to be a quite peaceful and interesting nature spectacle worth visiting. The 15 Chinese tourists agreed on this.

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We continued our trip in the direction of the airport and stopped at the famous, traditional Biscutterie H.Rault. For little money you can book a tour where you can see all the handmade steps within the production, rounded off by a sumptuous tasting of all the biscuit flavours – accompanied by tea or coffee.
It is totally worth it and with your small entrance fee you help to keep the tradition going!

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Our flight back to the Seychelles was scheduled for the afternoon and we opted to stop one last time at one of the beautiful beaches to soak up the last sun rays and great Mauritian flow.

With bags full of memories and a quite empty wallets we left this beautiful island. Revitalized, relaxed, wiser, thankful for life and, first and foremost, blessed to have my #favtravelpartner by my side.

Hot..hotter..UAE..?!

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26.01.2016 – Pearls & Caviar, Abu Dhabi

“I can’t visit you, it’s always so hot over there – I cannot handle it”

People often associate the desert with unbearable heat throughout the year.

Well, first of all, once you are in ABU DHABI or DUBAI a) you do not see any desert (if you do not drive at least one hour out of the city) and b) it does not seem at all that the desert is nearby due to beautiful greenery, waves in the ocean and most different skyscrapers.

Secondly, yes, we are blessed with mainly sunny weather but still temperatures rise and fall..our temperatures may sound “high” in comparison to Europe but the heat/humidity is different..yes, it can get chilly due to the cool desert winds and yes, we do have some rainy days in between.

Jan – 15˚C – 23˚C  (windy evenings)
Feb – 15˚C – 25˚C  (windy evenings, rain possibility)
Mar – 18˚C – 27˚C (windy evenings, high rain possibility)
Apr – 20˚C – 30˚C (a-m-a-z-i-n-g) 
May – 23˚C – 35˚C (great but humidity increases)
Jun – 26˚C – 40˚C (in the past two years May & June were amazing in terms of weather) 
Jul – 28˚C – 42˚C (highway to hell..)
Aug – 30˚C – 46˚C (stuck in hell..only way out: take a plane!) 
Sep – 26˚C – 40˚C (humidity is still quite high!)
Oct – 23˚C – 36˚C (great and humidity fades out)
Nov – 20˚C – 32˚C (a-m-a-z-i-n-g)
Dec – 16˚C – 26˚C (great but it’s getting chilly)

If you are weather sensitive I would recommend you to come and explore this beautiful country from March till June + Mid October till December.

March 2016 was pretty bad: Hey Global warming, are you proud of this?

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“What about the sea? How’s the temperature?” 

Ranges between 22˚C and 35˚C
(yes, I would not go to the sea in July, August & September – “too much hot”)