Takin' it easy

Hola Amigos!
Summer continues to shine on in the beautiful sun and what a glorious Summer it has been so far! The weather has allowed for many a beach barbecue, woodland picnic and sunset drink and thus not so many a blog post (sorry!)

Summer essentials and some lovingly collected shells from this weeks camping adventure.
Firstly, today I simply wanted to take the time to say happy Holidays and congratulate everyone who last week collected their A level results! I received my AS grades and was very happy which was followed with a celebratory camping trip down to the beach with some of my lovely chums (photos to follow once they have been developed.

Secondly, after much running up and down and round and round the country I finally had the chance yesterday evening to sit down with my mum and think about all the adventures I have had...well I would've done if I wasn't so exhausted, best nights sleep in a very long and canvas-related time! Which is why I am writing to you all today to say take it easy (as the post title suggests)... it is great to travel, explore and adventure but sometimes it is important to sit, think and soak up your wonderful surroundings be it at home in the garden, in London in a beautiful park, dozing in a European holiday hotspot or jet-setting off to a wonderfully exotic location. Otherwise us travel-folk become obsessed with 'seeing' as many places as we can without really seeing and appreciating the places right under our feet and right in front of our eyes!

The Big World Small Girl map is beginning to fill up with this Summer's clutter!
That's all I have time for today as I am off to Cornwall to catch a few waves before the Autumn leaves fall upon us!


India #2 [The Journey]

Namaste! Hello!
Today's post is (finally!!!) part two of my Indian adventure - if you didn't catch the first instalment catch up here. This section of the story is fairly brief as it covers just a journey from one location to another but I did not feel I could do the adventures we encountered a disservice by squeezing them into an introduction. So, without further a do, here is my recount of the journey up from port town Kochi, to lush and mountainous Munnar:
To progress further on this Indian pilgrimage we decided to begin travelling early to reach the Periya River in time for the elephants breakfast! We decided against visiting an elephant attraction park with elephant rides etc. as we disagreed with the money-making ethics and unfair treatment of the animals. As a more humane alternative we sought out an organisation that cared for orphaned elephants and trained them to be used in ceremonies and parades. This seems to western ears a cruel idea but the elephants are well looked after in this part of Indian culture steeped in history and tradition. Anyway enough rambling, I'll let the stars of the show do some talking with a few photos:

Keeping cool during a nice foot rub!

Me washing the elephant with a coconut shell.
It was definitely one of the best things I have ever done and I was humbled to be up close and personal with such  calm, majestic and powerful creatures.  Our next adventure was a culinary one: after all the driving and waking up early the family was ravenous. Luckily someone was on hand to help us and we stopped off at a beautiful home-stay not far from the Periya for a beautiful, light coconut curry and some jak-fruit. We devoured the feast hungrily and gratefully as you can see from our scraped-squeaky-clean plates in the picture! The picture below that just shows the front of the house. After thanking our hosts for their hospitality we were off again...

The next cause for a hurried photo shoot was a group of cheeky monkeys we spied sat atop the edge of the mountain road. They all posed willingly as they grabbed for scraps of food offered by outstretched local and foreign hands.

After taking far too many pictures we all scrambled back in the car to escape from the midday sun only to find another group of monkeys round the next few bends! Much to my disappointment we had to end stopping the car for photos as we'd never get to our destination on time. Unfortunately as we were just before the monsoon season all the  dramatic mountain waterfalls had run completely dry however we were kept well entertained by the wildlife for the final stretch of the journey. This last picture just shows a bit of en route shopping - much better than a tesco-express by the side of the motorway in my opinion!

 That's all for now then, let me know what you think in the comments and feel free to share your experiences below too - I love hearing from each and everyone of you!

Enjoy the sun and I shall be back soon with more in this Indian expedition series...