Aneela is one of our project architects, and over the summer she traveled to India, Sri Lanka and Japan. We asked her to tell us a bit about her travels.
Last December I was lucky enough to enjoy a trip to India & Sri Lanka with my family for 3 weeks. It was my third visit to India so besides visiting my grandparents birthplace in the Gujarat state, we also visited Darjeeling in the far north, nestled between Nepal, Bhutan and China-Tibet, and stayed on a houseboat in Kerala on the south western coast. It is hard to choose a favourite place in India, but Darjeeling was definitely a stand out for me. The temperature while we were visiting was a chilly 4 degrees on average during the day – not the kind of temperature India is typically known for, even during the winter months! Known for its DHR (Darjeeling Himalayan Railway) one of the oldest railways still operating today, the ‘Toy Train’ was a must-do on our itinerary. The UNESCO world heritage site narrow-gauge steam train, runs between the tea plantations of Darjeeling and West Bengal, and once aboard not only did we enjoy spectacular views, but we were able to appreciate the impressive feats of engineering that enabled the train to scale such steep gradients. Along with the steep sites came some particularly precarious architecture, perched on ridges and clinging to the mountain sides, all supported by even more precarious ‘beams’ & ‘columns’ of local materials! The highlight of my time in Darjeeling however was witnessing sunrise over the Himalayas (see photo), even if it did mean a 4am start! Stunning colours.
After a couple of days in Kerala on the calm & serene streams of the backwaters, we flew to Colombo, Sri Lanka, where the temperatures were as you’d expect, 34 degrees plus! Despite the heat Sri Lanka was a beautiful country to explore, especially the coast. Pete currently has a potential project in the area and since my travels took me very close to the proposed location near Hatton, I was able to visit the site. While on site I was treated to an amazing meal by the owner. The hospitality was incredible, so typical of the people here, it is no wonder Prince Charles had a great time on his recent visit.
For a change of scenery my husband and I then spent a week in Japan on our way home, a much anticipated visit to a country that has been on my wishlist for a very long time! I studied Japanese at high school so was keen to experience the language and culture first hand, and determine if they did in fact have vending machines for everything! The cuisine and culture definitely delivered. Sushi & sashimi in Japan - delicious. Everything you read about the traditions, etiquette and nature of the Japanese people rings true, particularly their forgiving nature towards tourists trying out their limited Japanese! Before we knew it, our week here was up and we were on our way home with some great memories & experiences to take back with us, safe in the knowledge that yes, there are plenty of vending machines for absolutely everything in Japan!