Thursday, December 23, 2010


We are home from our trip to Nepal and India. I couldn't find a reliable internet cafe during the last week, so thought I would post a couple of last things to show you our last week. After Pushkar we travelled to Jaipur and Delhi.
In Delhi we visited the Red Fort
The Lotus Temple

and several other sites around the city such as the Presidents House and India gate. This photo shows where the road cycling events took place during the Commonwealth Games recently.

We stayed in Connaught Place which is an area built by the British during their occupancy of India and features long tree lined boulevardes and buildings with a distinctly British style. It also has lots of upmarket shops and eating places, although you don't have to venture far to see people living on the street in extremely poor conditions.

We are feeling very tired from our trip and glad to be home with family and friends. Krissy has gone on to South Africa to spend a month travelling with her boyfriend, Shaun; and Robyn , James and I had a long and somewhat eventful 2 day trip home (a little visit to the doctor in Hong Kong for James after being sick on the flight from Delhi to Bangkok - Delhi belly finally got him!). Being away from home for such a long time, and visiting countries such as India and Nepal, helps you to see things from a different perspective and appreciate even more all the things we sometimes take for granted. It's also wonderful to come home to family, friends and neighbours who welcome you back with love.

We have had an amazing trip, have seen some incredible places and met some wonderful people. We realise just how lucky we are to travel the world and visit these places and it's always a real privilege to be allowed into other people's lives, even if for just a short period of time. Thank you for following us on our blog along the way, and thanks for your comments and well was great to hear from you all.

Until our next travels...........


In Jaipur we visited the Palace of the Wind, The Observatory which had amazingly accurate constructions built to determine the time, observe and pinpoint the planets, The City Palace and Amber Fort. Jaipur is a big city with a population of around 6 million and the Old City is incredibly busy.

The four of us at Palace of the Wind.
James taking a turkish bath at Amber Fort.....oops no water!
I was very brave and not only had my photo taken with this cobra but I actually touched it as well...!!!! and lived to tell the tale!
We rode elephants from the bottom of the hill up to Amber Fort....and it was great fun!
Amber Fort. The walls leading away from the fort reminded us very much of The Great Wall of China!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Last Day in Pushkar

Today is James and my last day in Pushkar. Robyn and Krissy left yesterday afternoon to travel down to Udaipur for a couple of nights and we will meet them in Jaipur on Tuesday morning.
Today James and I went for a drive with Fiona to a small village about 18 kms out of Pushkar where there are shoe makers and lots of good fabrics.
These young girls were very keen to have their photos taken and followed us around as we looked at the old fort and ruins in the village. They then called their friends and we had quite a little gathering following us around - very sweet!
It was a very beautiful village and most of the houses and buildings had been painted afresh for Diwali festival last month. We were lucky enough to have a local man with us who could explain much about the village.
This is a fabric wholesaler - out in the middle of nowhere.
Back in Pushkar a couple of days ago - Krissy buying haberdashery from a local vendor on the street. They were very intrigued!
We went for a walk along the ghats around the lake in Pushkar. Not as confronting as Varanasi and lots of people bathing and swimming when we were there.
A building along the ghats - Robyn was keen to see if she could walk up these stairs to the rooftop!!!
Tomorrow James and I head to Jaipur with a car and driver. We have had time to relax and unwind here in Pushkar, as well as do some fun things and spend time with local families - which has been lovely. If you are ever in Pushkar you can't go past staying in Our Pukka Place - it's close to the main town (about 5 minutes walk) but far enough away to be peaceful and away from the bustle. Fiona and Praveen will make you feel very welcome and the boys who work in the hotel are very obliging. Fiona also has a blog with links to all the other projects she has on the go. She works with many local families and artisans, and helps to support and encourage them . Fiona also runs textile tours in India and other countries such as Vietnam and Syria and has a fabulous knowledge of textiles and their history. Follow these links to check it out for yourself.
We are into the last week of our trip and although we have lots to explore in Jaipur and Delhi we are looking forward to getting home soon. Love to all, see you soon....and don't leave me off your Xmas present list!!! xxxx

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Camel Safari and Block Printing

We are still in Pushkar and have been enjoying a few of the things on offer around this area. Robyn and Krissy decided to go on a camel safari last night. Here they are getting acquainted with their camels in the front yard of our hotel.
And riding off into the sunset! Apparently it took quite some time to get out to their camp yesterday afternoon and they thought they were way out in the desert.....this morning it took about 5 minutes to return to town on galloping camels!!!
Yesterday morning Robyn and I did a block printing workshop Fiona arranged for us, with a local family who make their living producing lengths of block printed fabric. The piece above is 2 metres I printed in a 3 colour block. It was lots of fun and it was very interesting seeing and experiencing the process of block printing in this country - I picked up a lot of tips and ideas.
This young man was trying to understand my English - no he's not falling asleep...he was very patient!!! We had several family members helping us and there were also lots of other people around who came to watch the white ladies printing! It was really interesting being in the family's home and we got to talk to and hold the babies! as well as watch the family go about their morning activities.
Rob concentrating very hard on getting the registration right!
These are some of the blocks the family uses to print their fabrics. They are carved elsewhere by a master carver....beautifully intricate and highly detailed blocks. Apparently the family told Fiona that they were impressed with my patience and printing - maybe I could get a job here!!!
We are enjoying our time in Pushkar and it's great to be able to participate in things at a local level instead of being a tourist all the time and looking from the outside in.
Love to all until next post. Miss you all and can't wait to see you soon. xxxx

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


We had a little change of plan after spending hours bumping along rough Indian back roads washed out by big monsoon rains and are now in Pushkar. Pushkar is a very holy city and has quite strict rules regarding food and alcohol. There are many westerners here and the town is quite laid back and friendly.
Pushkar is in Rajasthan and is very colourful compared to other places we have been. The women's saris are extremely beautiful and the men wear all sorts of colourful turbans.
James thinks he might apply for this job???!!!
We are staying in a hotel -Our Pukka Place - owned by Fiona (an Australian woman living in Pushkar) and her husband Praveen. Fiona is well known in Australia for her textile work and nows runs tours of India and other countries. They have been very welcoming and it's lovely to have someone to talk with who knows the local community well and can explain many things to us about life in India. Fiona and Praveen also run cooking classes and last night we all went to their new house to do a class. First we visited the local market to buy veges and then drove out to their place. This is us enjoying our feast after much hard slogging over the stove!!!
James and I cooking up a storm!
We learnt how to make chappatis... we were meant to make perfect round ones so we were good cooks who could be married off. James made a heart shaped one.......ahhh how romantic!
Praveen recently bought Fiona a camel...yes she has been wanting one for a long time! Here's James, Robyn and Krissy making friends with Baba.
At the moment in India there are many weddings and they are loud and colourful affairs that go on for days. We have seen several going through the streets with loud brass bands and processions of women and sometimes men. Yesterday we saw one with lots of carts carrying the wedding gifts so everyone could see how wealthy the families are. Really interesting.
This one today was very beautiful.
We are enjoying staying in one place for a while and getting a feel for the place. Pushkar has some lovely shops so this morning we went out and did a bit of serious need to go and buy another bag I think!
Hope everyone is well at home. We are safe and resting up after some hectic travelling...taking it easy. Tomorrow Robyn and I are going to do a block printing workshop and tomorrow night Rob and Krissy are going on a camel safari.
Love to all at to you soon xxxx

Tiger Safari

A few days ago we went on a tiger safari - and no we didn't see a tiger but we did see this....yes that's a tiger footprint....we all got very excited but the tiger remained elusive and didn't show her face. We were told that there was a tiger with two cubs in the area so I guess she had been up all night with crying babies and was having a little sleep in!
Ranthambore National Park very early in the morning...absolutely beautiful and very peaceful. It was lovely to get out into the bush and see what India would have looked like many years ago. The vegetation changed quite a lot within a small area - from grasslands and acacia trees to more dense jungle areas with lots of water ....perfect tiger country.
We did see quite a lot of other animals and birds though like this blue bull
Indian amtelopes
and spotted deer.
We also saw vultures, spotted owls, partridges, drongos, peacocks...lovely.
It was a very peaceful (though somewhat cold to begin with) adventure and we all felt as though we could have easily spent more time there.

Thursday, December 2, 2010


We travelled from Varanasi to Agra on a night train - which was quite a good trip considering it was around 3 hours late arriving in Agra. Agra is not as hectic or noisy as Varanasi and of course there is one piece of architecture here we thought we might take a look at whilst staying here!
The Taj Mahal is just behind our hotel and without sounding too cliched is one of the most beautiful buildings in the world. It's amazing that this enormous building was built as a mausoleum for one person - although there are actually two people buried there - the Shah and his wife. The carvings and inlay work are amazingly intricate and it took 20,000 workers 22 years to build it.

Here we all are - happy travellers in front of the Taj!!

Yep - that's the Taj behind us!

Robyn and I in front of the Taj - all that art history study in high school has finally paid off!!!

From the beautiful gardens which surround the main buildings.

We also visited the Agra Fort a couple of days ago - beautiful palaces in very peaceful grounds. A welcome relief from the chaos just outside the gates.

One of the larger palaces.

James and his new abode!!! He's also ordered a gold Taj for his mausoleum!!!
Tomorrow we are heading off to Ranthambore National Park to find a tiger - or at least go looking for one. I'm not sure what the chances are but we will give it a shot. Than we head down to Udaipur which we have been told is quite peaceful.
We are all travelling well although we have had a couple of days of feeling a bit under the weather - our hectic schedule is probably catching up with us a little. I even had a visit to the doctor yesterday after having a reaction to the malaria medication we started taking a few days ago - and I have to say it was a very easy experience and probably the most efficient system we've seen since leaving home. Straight in to the doctor, quick diagnosis, he dispensed the medications I needed, told me the cost and wrote out the receipt - amazing and much easier than I expected.
Hope everyone is well at home and everything is OK. Don't work too hard leading up to the silly season and end of year. Miss you all and look forward to your comments on here and seeing you in about 3 weeks time.
Love to all from the happy travellers! xxxx

Saturday, November 27, 2010


We arrived in Varanasi three days ago - to noise, bustle, chaotic traffic, rickshaw drivers, thousands of people, a few con men, cows, goats, ferrets, chooks, dogs, dogs, and more dogs, and our hotel right on the burning ghats....yes the 24hour cremation ghat! The air is constantly smoggy and the Ganges is not quite as clean as the Clarence! This is a very significant place for Hindus and many people come here to die and be cremated on the Ganges. We have seen many, many cremations in the last few days - visible from our balconies and the restaurant in our hotel!
We have acquired many new "friends" since arriving in Varanasi. This fellow though has been quite useful and has given James and Robyn several tabla lessons. He also took us to a concert just near our hotel and it was fabulous. There was a sitar player, a tabla player, a singer with the most amazing vocals, and a dancer. They were all so enthusiastic and we were a very small audience - we were very lucky and spoke with the players after the concert.
In the mornings there is much activity on the Ganges - washing hair, bathing, prayers, laundry being done, cremations, buffalo swimming, fishing......really interesting to sit back and watch. At night there are rituals and prayers and candle boats being placed on the water.
Pampered buffaloes!
It can be very colourful with the washing - especially the saris laid out to dry on the steps of the ghats.
Passing the time away on the Ganges!
Our introduction to India has been a little confronting but we figure if we've survived Varanasi we can cope with the rest of India! We are off to Agra tomorrow night on the overnight train and then it's off to see the Taj!
We are all travelling well and the food so far has been good - we found a lovely retaurant last night which had very delicious food for just over $20 for 2 courses and drinks for the four of us!
Hope everyone is well at home - thanks for the comments - keep posting them as we love to hear from you. Love to all and miss you xxx