I'm getting older and have been a few places, so I find myself revisiting a favourite country. My motivation this time was to join a photography workshop with some friends I met on a previous Bhutan trip. It was good to renew older acquaintances, make new ones, see different parts of the country and take a sharper view through the lens.
Fulfilling a dream of a lifetime, I visited the mountain gorillas of Rwanda and Uganda. If you want to and are able to, I urge you to visit. This blog is only scratching the surface of what I experienced.
I’ve wanted to go to Bhutan for years, ever since I heard about the King’s idea to measure the success of his company with a “National Happiness Factor”. I finally got to go and though 70% of the citizens now have access to electricity and the country is up to 3 planes, it’s still a very relaxed country. They are dedicated to preserving nature, treat all people fairly and are very welcoming of tourists.
The hunt was fake. No foxes were harmed. The foxhounds, horses and humans all had a blast.
I didn’t even know Italy had fox hunting. I was rather surprised when I found this offered at Il Due Laghi through my equestrian travel agent, In The Saddle and went for the hunt in November 2012. Il Due Laghi is an organic cheese and veg producer, only about 60 km north of Rome. The owner is a former basketball star, an equestrian and an all-around animal lover who is the Master of the Hunt.
Borana Lodge was my second stop on my Kenyan safari this June. The feel of this place was completely different than any lodge/camp I’ve had the pleasure of visiting. It’s a family-run lodge (the Dyers) and we met a whole bunch of the family, from grandparents to grand kids, during our stay. We also met old family friends staying at the lodge, who turned out to be mid-life party boys. The scene was very social and everyone intermingled and had fun. Here’re a few highlights:
Ol Donyo was our first stop in the mini-epic Kenya 2012 safari. It was a good start. This place puts the ‘glam’ in ‘glamping’. There was a supermodel and crew on a fashion shoot during my stay. It was also very luxurious: rooftop sleeping, views of watering holes from every window, 5 salads at lunch. The place is so service oriented that there was a bartender on duty in the morning – that’s my excuse for getting into an 11 a.m. post-riding beer habit.
A caracal is an African cat that looks like a slightly large house cat. I saw them in Kenya in the Maasai Mara, along with lots of other cats at Richard's Camp.
Richard's Camp is in a private concession bordering the national Maasai Mara park. It's a tented camp but it's not even remotely camping, given that each tent has a cement foundation, carpets, furnishing like a hotel room and a full bathroom with running water. The glamping element comes in with things like paper lanterns hanging from the trees in the evening, guides leading you to your tent by flashlight, and an outdoor bubble bath.
This trip I stayed in Lisbon on my own for a couple of days and then joined the group to ride through Alentejo for a week. Lisbon is a jewel of a city. Built on 7 hills, the old part of the city is stunningly picturesque. My Lisbon highlights were: