Travel day today…Tom’s tiger video…New booking in UK…”Baaaath, England…here we come on May 2nd!…

Tom made this video while bouncing around in the safari vehicle, a bit jittery but worth watching.

Bath, England is the largest city in the county of Somerset, England, known for and named after its Roman-built baths. In 2011, the population was 88,859. Bath is in the valley of the River Avon, 97 miles west of London and 11 miles southeast of Bristol. The city became a World Heritage site in 1987.
Bath Riverside
We always heard that Bath is a fabulous historic town. We’re looking forward to exploring.


When we realized we had six-months until our cruise from Lisbon to Cape Town sailing on November 10, 2020, from the time we arrive in Greenwich, England (near London) on May 2, 2020, it made sense to stay in the UK or at least four months in order to comply with the Schengen visa restrictions.



The UK isn’t a part of the strict policy of the Schengen visa and we can stay anywhere in the UK for up to six months. Ideally, we’d have been able to tour Europe during those six months, but the restrictions only allow us to stay in other countries in Europe for a maximum of 90 days during any 180 day period. That’s too limiting for our lifestyle.

Larkhall House Kitchen
The modern kitchen in the holiday home in Bath. Everything we need to begin cooking again after over a three month hiatus from cooking as we traveled India and cruised.


Subsequently, we’ll stay in England and Scotland for approximately four months and in Spain and Portugal for one month each. Although we’ve already been to both of these countries, we’ll be delighted to stay during these periods.

Larkhall House Lounge
The living room is small but has adequate seating for the two of us.

As a result, we’ve started booking holiday homes beginning with England. Yesterday, we wrapped up a little house in Bath (pronounced Baaaaaath by the British) on HomeAway for a 30 night period. Very soon, we’ll book another house in the Cotswolds for another 30 days beginning on  June 1. 


We were surprised to find easy availability for houses in these special areas, but we believe Conoravirus has resulted in less travel throughout the world. Since we can’t stay “home” to avoid the risks, we continue in our world travels avoiding areas of most concern. In other words, we won’t be heading to China at any time soon.
Larkhall House Lounge
Another view of the definitely cozy living room.


The house is Bath is small but it’s an expensive area and we do fine in small spaces. Plus, we need to “lick our wounds” after this expensive India tour including the Maharajas Express train and the two upcoming pricey cruises, especially the upcoming Viking Sun ocean cruise. Previously, Viking was known for their river cruises and have now built ocean-going ships, but they are more expensive than most cruises.

Larkhall House MasterBedroom
The bed is only a double but we’ve managed this scenario many times in our travels.

Next month’s Viking cruise is for 29 days, a long time to be at sea obviously adding to the cost, but it does include unlimited internet, beverages, excursions and meals in the specialty restaurants. The only added expenses we’ll bear will be US $30, IDR 2192.34 a day in tips for the 29 days. We’ll have a $600, IDR 43853, cabin credit we can use toward the tips.


The total number of passengers is 930 with a crew of 465. Surely that number of staff will result in great service which we expect from past experience with Viking when we cruised the Mekong River with them in July 2016. There were only 54 passengers on the river cruise, but we had an exceptional experience visiting Vietnam and Cambodia.
LarkhallHouse MasterBedroom
The guest room where we’ll store our luggage.


Today is yet another travel day, but this is the second to last time we’ll have to fly in India. Road trips seem so much less exhausting and with waiting time (except for the traffic). We left the hotel at 1:00 pm and won’t arrive at our hotel in Chennai until 10:00 pm tonight. Long day…


May your day and evening be pleasant and rewarding.

_______________________________________

Photo from one year ago today, March 5, 2019:

Little stopped by this morning to check out the pellet situation.  As always, it was good. For more photos, please click here.


A noteworthy artist at Tiger’s Den Resort…A wildlife artist beyond comprehension…Rakesh Prajapali…

Perfection!

Over the past 48 hours at the Tiger’s Den Resort, we’ve been so wrapped up in going out on safari twice a day (8½ hours a day) and dining on delicious food three times a day, we’ve had time for little else.


With the resort’s WiFi connection only available in the reception area, preparing posts in our room using my phone hotspot technology has been slow and laborious. The only post I’d uploaded from here was yesterday’s story after our first tiger sighting. Please click here for details.
Endearing…


However, getting up at 5:00 am and being safari-ready by 6:00, has left me a little weary and preferring to stay in our beautifully appointed room when not in the jeep or dining room.


Today, I decided to bite the bullet and head to the reception area where the signal is perfect. Also, today, after last night’s heavy rain and hail, this morning’s the sightings were few in the safari areas of the park. 


After a five-hour foray of searching for the elusive tiger, after yesterday’s great success, we decided to forgo the afternoon game drive and stay in at the reception area in order to do a post that was nagging at me… The stunning work of Rakesh Prajapali, a young and vibrant wildlife artist like none we’ve ever seen in our over seven years of world travel.

Darling cubs so beautifully represented.

We happened across his fine work by accident. When staying in a hotel or resort, we may breeze through a gift shop paying little attention to the typical trinkets-type inventory offered to impulsive tourists, often overpriced and often unused and unappreciated once returning to one’s country of residence.


When we casually entered the “Souvenir Shop” after dinner our first night here, when at that point, we’d yet to embark upon the first of many safaris and weren’t quite as tired as we are now, our mouths were agape at what our eyes beheld.


There before our eyes lie the most exquisite paintings we’d ever seen of any wildlife, let alone the mysterious Bengal Tiger, only found in India, with only 2500 remaining nationwide. 
Stunning!

Leaning against a glass countertop stood a handsome young man, Rakesh with a tiny paintbrush in his hand, painting an exquisite rendition of a tiger from a photo he’d taken here in the Bandhavgarh National Park with its 1536 square kilometers (593 square miles) surrounding this and other safari resorts.


After being engrossed in his work, I asked him if we could highlight him with a story and photos of his actual paintings and, let me stress, these aren’t photos of photos.  These are photos of his actual paintings.


Of course, the tiger is a perfect subject for the skilled and determined artist, but Rakesh has taken this advantage to an incomprehensible level. After seeing hi

Such fine detail.


Today, we share a few of Rakesh’s stunning works (painted, not photos) and invite any of our readers who may so wish, to contact him directly if you’d love one of his masterpieces. 


He ships his works worldwide in a secure cardboard tube for your framing preferences once received. Prices range from INR 5000 (US $70) to INR 75000, (US $1043) plus shipping. The sizes of each original painting vary. Feel free to inquire as to the size of each masterpiece. Many would perfectly encompass a substantially sized wall.


To reach Rakesh, contact him at his email here: prajapatirakesh73@gmail.com

Rakesh paints a wide array of subjects, human and animal, besides tigers. Outstanding work!

As for this resort, Tiger’s Den Resort, we couldn’t be more pleased. The grounds, rooms and public areas represent a vast wildlife and safari persona. The service is impeccable. Monkeys, birds and a few lovely German Shephard dogs protect the guests and yet are friendly and welcoming. The area is safe and unhindered by many risks one may find in more populated areas.


We will leave here tomorrow, but will take with us many fine memories of both Rakesh, Tiger’s Den Resort and its staff.

Happy Day!
__________________________________________
(Today, it is one year ago that I resumed posting after a two week break after open-heart surgery).

Photo from one year ago today, February 25, 2019:

Tom had cut several stalks of celery, saving the scraps for the kudus, bushbucks, and zebras, all of which love celery.  For more photos, please click here.

Safari luck prevails in India…The elusive Bengal Tiger…How lucky could we be?…

There she was. We couldn’t have asked for a better vantage point.

We never expected to see a tiger in India, although we’re scheduled for six full days on safari in two different national parks, where we are now at Tiger’s Den Resort in Banghavgarh National Park and also upcoming on the 26th, Tuli Tiger Resort in Kanha National Park.


We were up bright and early at 5:00 am and having coffee-tea (as they call morning beverages here in India) by 5:30 am in the dining room of our lovely resort. Both of us were still tired but, also pumped for our first-morning game drive that began at 6:00 am while it was still dark.

Our hearts were pounding with excitement while we attempted to take photos.

In no time at up we were bundled up with blankets on a chilly morning and headed to Gate 1 of 3 in the area. As planned by our diligent travel agent for India, it was us, a driver and a naturalist, alone in a small open-sided vehicle Jeep with elevated seats.


The naturalist sat in behind us on the seats usually reserved for additional guests to ensure we could easily hear him and to provide him with an elevated view as well.


After the first hour and a half without seeing more than some spotted deer, monkeys and bush chickens, we resigned ourselves to the fact that spotting the elusive tiger may be more of a dream than a reality. 

Such a beautiful animal!

And then, around 8:00 am, it happened. Our guides were able to predict there is a tiger in the area when varying antelopes were rapidly on the move, monkeys and birds were particularly noisy.


Suddenly, we were hopeful but still kept our enthusiasm in check. And then, there she was causing no less 10 other safari vehicles jockey for position to get a glimpse of her majesty.


She was walking perpendicular to the road and as shown in our photos at one point she bravely crossed the road. Our guide explained the tigers weren’t as intimated by safari vehicles as one might think. They grew up in the park, which has been a popular destination for many wildlife enthusiasts for decades.


Oh, yes, I wish we could have been able to get better photos with more closeups. But, since my new laptop arrived, I sadly discovered it didn’t have a slot for a camera data card. I tried to Bluetooth the camera to the laptop, but that didn’t work.
She didn’t seem to be disturbed by all the gawkers. 

The only option for the future is to purchase an adapter to fit Chromebook but for now, we’re sadly stuck using our phones. And, although the photos are adequate, they surely aren’t the closeups we’d have been able to get with the camera.


Right now, using my phone as a hotspot, since there’s no WiFi in the rooms at the resort (not good) I was having trouble gaining access to the photos in a timely fashion. Hopefully, by dinnertime, the photos were in my cloud ready to be uploaded to this post. 

A pretty scene we spotted in the national park.


Hopefully, as you are reading this we have plenty of photos we were able to upload.


This afternoon at 2:30 pm, after the 1:00 pm lunch, we’ll go out on our second game drive of the day. At this, after seeing this morning’s tiger we can sit back and relax and simply enjoy nature and whatever may come our way.


Happy day to all. We’ll be back with more soon.