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We loved the food and the atmosphere of Rosie’s Cafe so much that we returned there for breakfast this morning. The French Toast with jackfruit, strawberries, pineapple and banana was delicious.

rosies-cafe-14-oct-2016-breakfast

As the sun was shining, we took an hour long boat ride up the river. It was a largely uneventful trip with minimal birdlife. Some local fisherman were doing anything but fishing, as we discovered, when they cast their net and suggested that they would do it again for a small fee.

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There are a number of not-for-profit organisations working to promote the training of youth in the hospitality industry. Today we had lunch at Streets and enjoyed summer rolls, Cao Lau and a Banh Mi.

streets-lunch-summer-rolls-and-cao-lau-14-oct-2016

The Chua Phap Bao Pagoda was our next stop.

chua-phap-bao-pagoda-hoi-an-14-oct-2016hoi-an-fri-14-oct-2016-1buddhas-on-round-pedastal-chua-phap-boa-pagoda-hoi-an-14-oct-2016Tonight is the Lantern Festival for the full moon. We’re looking forward to heading out to join the festivities.

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We’re in Porto. This post skips a couple of detours (Cascais and Sintra) we took along the way. Catch up posts will follow as and when time allows.

For now, here are some of the highlights of Porto thus far.

The Douro River

Porto - 7 Oct 2015 - 1

Porto - 7 Oct 2015 - 4

Porto - 7 Oct 2015 - 5

Port (of course)

Porto - 6 Oct 2015 - 3

Porto - 6 Oct 2015 - 4

The Luiz I Bridge

Porto - 7 Oct 2015 - 14

Porto - 7 Oct 2015 - 6

The Lello Bookstore

It’s not often that you get charged to enter a bookshop. The 3 Euro entry fee was instigated in July of this year to control the numbers of people who are there only to see and photograph the amazing Art Nouveau features of this interior. Guilty as charged. (Your fee comes off the price of any books you buy).

Porto - Lello Bookstore 3

Porto - Lello Bookstore 1

Porto - Lello Bookstore 2

The Majestic Cafe

We baulked at the 30 Euro per person breakfast and managed to get away with just over half that for two of us – coffee, tea, French toast and custard tarts.

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Porto - 7 Oct 2015 - 11

Tile art at Sao Bento Railway Station

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The Theatre District

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Art and decoration on signs and walls and shopfronts

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A Nutella dessert restaurant attracting the crowds

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Trams

 

 

Porto - 6 Oct 2015 - 2

 

 

It was a gorgeous autumn afternoon in Morro Bay and we took a stroll around town before having a meal with sunset views.

Board walk sunset - Morro Bay CA

This memorial seat is pretty impressive. Nick must have been a rev-head extraordinaire to warrant a bench like this.

Memorial bench - Morro Bay CA - %22Thanks Nick%22

This morning, we faced towards the east and took (roughly) the direction of Route 58 to Mojave before heading north on 14 towards Ridgecrest where we’re staying the night before going to Death Valley tomorrow.

Today was solar farms and squirrels and even drier landscape than yesterday. We passed by place names like Pumpkin Center and Weed Patch Highway and saw our first Joshua Trees. Where irrigation is possible during the drought, we saw dairy cattle, grapevines and peach trees. Wind turbines are working well in these wide open spaces.

We stopped off near Mojave to eat some lunch and watched this long freight train pass through. Behind us was the Mojave graveyard of 747 planes.

Freight train near Mojave CA

Red Rock Canyon gave us a taste of what we might see tomorrow as we venture north and further inland.

Morro Bay to Ridgecrest - Red Rock Canyon area

When you board the USS Bowfin at Pearl Harbour, you understand how well the crew needed to get along. Can’t help wondering if one of the selection criteria for submariners is to not be very tall.

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USS Bowfin 5USS Bowfin 4USS Bowfin - 1USS Bowfin 3
USS Bowfin 2

We took the boat out to view the USS Arizona Memorial. Due to recent storms and flash flooding, the water was very murky, making it impossible to view the sunken vessel.  This view is taken from the USS Missouri mooring site, looking down Battleship Row where so much damage was done when the Japanese bombed the harbour in 1941.

Arizona Memorial Site from moorings of USS Missouri on Battleship Row

The USS Missouri is out of commission these days. The Japanese Instrument of Surrender was signed on the Missouri in Tokyo Bay on 2 September 1941.
USS Missouri 2

USS Missouri 3

View from the bridge - USS Missouri

This statue is one by Seward Johnson, also famous for his Forever Marilyn piece.

USS Missouri 1

We’re off again, this time circumnavigating the planet over a couple of months with some amazing destinations ahead of us. Our first stop is Honolulu for a few days. We’re staying a couple of blocks away from Waikiki Beach which favoured us with some sunshine on our first day, in between pretty consistent rain showers and the odd storm.

Diamond Head Waikiki boards for hire - Waikiki Beach Waikiki Beach panorama - 11 Sep 2015

The pieces for our next leg of travel (getting to Colombo) weren’t fitting together. The internet wasn’t helpful as we couldn’t access the Sri Lankan rail timetable. There was conflicting advice from travel blogs about the availability of first class tickets and our hotel wasn’t set up to assist with travel advice.

In the hopes that another place might be more helpful, we moved to a hotel further south on the lake. As we walked in that direction, a tuk-tuk driver named Bandula sought our custom.

Accidental finger biting possible

Where are you from? Where are you going? What are you doing today? We mentioned that we wanted to go to Colombo on Monday.

9.42 train.

First class?

No. First class hasn’t been available for 18 months. Second class is very comfortable. You will have your own seats.

He then called the railway station and ascertained that we could pre-book them. After we dropped our bags, we were off to the Railway Station at Polonnaruwa in search of tickets.

Come this way.

Before we knew it, we were behind the counter getting individual attention.

Polonnaruwa Station - tickets to Colombo

Seats booked, we headed back to our new digs with tickets in hand and a tuk-tuk booking for the next morning.

It was going to be an unlikely ask, me climbing up to see the ancient site on top of the rock that is Sigiriya. That is, until I saw a response from Patti Digh to a post I made on Facebook about today’s plans.

SIGIRIYA!

I’m guessing that it was either the UPPER CASE LETTERS or the exclamation mark that caused the shift.

So it was that I decided that I would attempt the unthinkable, what with somewhat dodgy knees and the occasional fear of climbing on the edge of high places. And 16 year old Patti would be the one to hold my hand on her return visit to this place.

Notwithstanding the wind and some serious rail gripping, I did make it up the last steps (having rested for a very long time near the end) only to receive a resounding “Bravo!” at the top from three Russian travellers.

Thanks for the push, Patti. I hope these pics evoke some more memories of your time in Sri Lanka. And please tell me that you did actually climb to the top!

Sigariya 1 Sigariya 2 Sigariya 3Sigariya 9Sigariya 4Sigariya 15Sigariya 5Sigariya 7Sigariya 10 Sigariya 12Sigariya 14Sigiriya 11Sigiriya 8Sigiriya 6

There’s a poem developing about our return trip to Bago today. It will have to wait though as I’m too tired to do anything but post photographs. We took pot luck on departure times and wandered around a bit before boarding the 11.00 am train. It was a two hour ride, with a whistle-stop pillion-riding tour of the major sites in Bago before heading back to the station to buy a ticket for the 3.15 pm train to Yangon.

No seats! Our motorcycle driver took us to a local cafe for cold drinks and samosas while he negotiated a taxi ride for us to get back to the city.

Bananas for sale - YangonYangon Railway Station - waiting roomWaiting for the train to leave - Yangon to BagoBoy selling apples and oranges

Yangon to Bago train - sleeping

Station stop - Kyauk Tan on the way to Bago

Bago railway station - food trader

Bago - negotiating a taxi ride to Yangon