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Sri Lanka Jetwing Yala-4

Jetwing Yala

This was the best hotel of the trip. Jetwing Yala is located on the southern coast of Sri Lanka on the Indian Ocean, right outside Yala National Park.   The main restaurant served an extravagant buffet of gourmet local fare and a second restaurant, Thambapanni, offered an Asian fusion menu and outdoor seating.   We loved […]

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Sri Lanka Arugam Bay-4

Arugam Bay: Surf & Sun

  We were eager to explore the surf communities of Sri Lanka, which are on the east coast. This region was hit especially hard during the decades-long civil war and the 2004 tsunami. The area was abandoned and villages and structures were left in ruins. Redevelopment began after 2007, and the result is still serene, […]

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Sri Lanka Seetha Amman Temple-3

Seetha Amman Temple

We stopped by this roadside temple on our way out of Nuwara Eliya. This is the only temple dedicated to Seeta Amman, consort of Lord Rama.   Here is where Seeta was held captive by King Ravana, after he kidnapped her from India over five thousand years ago. I don’t know much else about this, […]

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Sri Lanka Worlds End-2

World’s End

Well, this could have been spectacular. Despite the rainy, overcast conditions, we decided to try our luck and visit World’s End. With a name like that, how could we not at least try? World’s End is in Horton Plains National Park, at the edge of the hill country in Nuwara Eliya. It’s where the Horton […]

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Sri Lanka Heritance Tea Factory-10

Heritance Tea Factory

We loved our stay in this very unique luxury boutique hotel near Nuwara Eliya. It’s set high on a hilltop surrounded by tea estates. It was a picturesque approach, even though the sun didn’t appear the entire time we were there!   The building used to house the Hethersett Estate Tea Factory, which closed in […]

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Sri Lanka Blue Field Tea-9

Blue Field Tea Gardens

It would be challenging to drive through Hill Country and not visit at a tea plantation. Sri Lanka , formerly named Ceylon, is the world’s fourth largest producer of tea after China, India and Kenya. Tea accounts for 15% of the GDP. On our way from Kandy to Nuwara Eliya, we stopped at the country’s oldest […]

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Workers dotting the landscape

Hill Country

Though this region was only a few hours from the Cultural Triangle, it was an entirely different topography, weather and ambiance. We started climbing the windy, steep, narrow roads and marveled at the lush tea plantations, thick foliage and gushing waterfalls. Fog blanketed the region, and the temps were chilly enough to warrant jackets.   […]

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Remnants of an ancient grand palace

Vijayanta Prasada

This was our first stop in Polonnaruwa. Polonnaruwa’s royal palace, Vijayanta Prasada, was built by King Parakramabahu I. The palace stood seven stories and contained 1,000 rooms. Construction took a little over seven years. It was destroyed by South Indian invaders in the 13th century. Burned bricks and original plaster from 55 rooms remain. The holes in […]

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Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights

This winter was the peak of the 11-year solar cycle, the period during which the sun produces sunspots and solar storms, resulting in high auroral activity. Since there’s nowhere better to view the aurora borealis than Lapland, my husband and I stocked up on extreme cold-weather gear and headed north. Way north. We were prepared […]

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Main corridor

Icehotel, Jukkasjärvi, Sweden

Since we were sort of in the area, of course we had to spend a night at the original Icehotel in Sweden. If you’ve never heard of the Icehotel, it’s exactly what it sounds like: a hotel built of ice (well, ice and snow). Each year, the hotel is built anew. It takes three months […]

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