Anything goes… again!

Alles geht bei der Sparkles Christmas Challenges in diesem Monat und ich habe mich entschieden, mal die Tea Bag Fold-Technik zu testen. Dazu gab es ein anschauliches Video von Rosie Owens. Ich habe da sicher noch Entwicklungsmöglichkeiten, aber der erste Versuch gefällt mir ganz gut:

Anything goes is the motto at this month’s challenge at Sparkles Christmas Challenges and I decided to give tea bag folding a first try. I’ve found a nice how-to video by Rosie Owens online. I think my card leaves room to grow but I quite like my first try:


Ich war so begeistert von dem kleinen Baum, dass mir irgendwie weitere Deko ganz abgegangen ist… aber bis Weihnachten werde ich ja noch einige Zeit für weitere Experimente haben!

I was so excited about this little tree that I completely stopped thinking about further deco for the card… but Christmas being still a ways off I think I might suqeeze in a few more experiments of the sort!

Einen schönen Sonntag wünscht

Have a nice Sunday!


Sri Lanka: Useful information

Zur Reise in Sri Lanka für den interessierten Leser noch ein paar Informationen, hauptsächlich zu den Guest Houses und Hotels, in denn wir untergekommen sind. Wer also keine Reise nach Sri Lanka plant, kann sich gerne wieder anderen Dingen widmen 😉

For those of you planning a trip to Sri Lanka I decided to put together a post with information, mainly on the guest houses and hotels we used on our trip. So if you’re not interested in travling to Sri Lanka you might as well return to other tasks 😉

Flower Inn (stayed: January 20-22, 2013)
Contact: 066-5672197 or 066-5689953

A family-run guesthouse with nine rooms and private baths, offering somewhat warm showers. The rooms were clean, though very damp – my travel companion said mouldy but I don’t think so. Mosquito nets and a fan. Wi-fi available. It’s conveniently located within walking distance from Sigiriya rock (about 20 minutes). Breakfast is included, very tasty dinner will be served as well if you order ahead. The family who runs the place is very friendly and helpful. The bus from Dambulla stops right in front of it.

Rate: 2000 LKR for the double room, the dinner was an additional 500 LKR.

If you plan to also see the Rock Caves in Dambulla and are pressed for time, do them on the same day. Start Sigiriya early at 7am and you will easily make it to Dambulla by bus in the early afternoon to spend a couple of hours in Dambulla.

If you can avoid it, do not try to find a taxi in Sigiriya and instead allow for enough time to use the busses. The taxis are a total rip-off – probably taking advantage of the somewhat remote location.

Siyanko Holiday Resort (stayed: January 22-23, 2013)
Contact: 027-2226867

A hotel with about 20 rooms with fan and AC, nice shower. Breakfast included. The restaurant also serves lunch and dinner if you are interested. Laundry service available at 100 LKR per piece. Wi-fi available (theoretically) but it didn’t work when we were there. It doesn’t exactly have a family feel to it but the staff is friendly and helpful – one of many places where tips were not accepted by some of them. Conveniently located right next to the very interesting museum and the Palace District which is a good place to start out your visit (as the museum is where you need to get the ticket anyway). The hotel has bicycles for rent.

Rate: 6000 LKR for the double room. Dinner is „à la carte“.

If you prefer a tuk-tuk, call Manju at 071-6514804. But don’t do the whole trip: you can really walk to the museum (less than 5 minutes). Start there at maybe 9 o’clock and have Manju pick you up two hours or so later to take you to the tooth terrace etc. He was very helpful, especially as we had chanced upon a day with pouring rain – having a tuk-tuk to wait in until the worst of the downpours were over was a real plus.

Lake View (stayed: January 23-25, 2013)
Contact: 025-2221593

A family-run guest house with 15 rooms that has been operating for like 20 years. Very friendly and helpful hosts, clean rooms, mosquito nets and a fan. Wi-fi and laundry service available. Bikes can be rented, tuk-tuks will be arranged. Tasty dinner will be served (at extra cost) if you order in the morning.

Rate: 3200 LKR for double room with breakfast (approximately – I lost the bill)

The tuk-tuk drivers want to give you a multi-hour tour – do negotiate the prices, mabye even checking in with the hosts, they know the prices. Tuk-tuk from new bus stand to Lake View is max. 200 LKR, less from the old bus stand.

Sharon Inn (stayed: January 25-27, 2013)
Contact: 081-2222416, 081-2222446,,

VERY clean guest house with 10 rooms, all with AC, fan and mosquito nets (though the AC was neither necessary nor working in our room). We were 68 steps up on like the fourth floor with a great view towards the lake and the Tooth Temple, balcony included. Run by a German and her Sri Lankan husband. They have a Sri Lankan buffet every night which we tried – very varied and so, so delicious (10 USD per person). They theoretically have Wi-fi but it took forever to get the code and then it wouldn’t reach our floor. Laundry service at 120 LKR per larger piece and I think it was 60 LKR per piece of underwear.

Rate: 6000 LKR for the double room with breakfast.

Go to Gunatilake Batiks (walking distance from Sharon Inn), they have gorgeous batiks – but extremely overpriced. Do negotiate and start offering about 40% of the proce on the tag. I bet you shouldn’t pay more than 60% but assume that’s hard to get. Same is true for the wood carving store close-by.

Even though we didn’t make use of his extended services, I feel I can recommend B.M.G. Jayarathna, „Tara“ for short. He was the tuk-tuk driver we chose at the bus station (200 LKR to Sharon Inn) and he actually has a guest book that he showed to us and there were countless very detailed entries of highly satisfied travellers who went on all kinds of tours with him (he has cars and bikes for rent as well). He can be reached at or 077-9566195.

Nuwara Eliya
Glenfall Resort (stayed: January 27-28, 2013)
Contact: 052-2223182, 052-2223364,

A fascinating place with a lot of flair to it. The owner is in antiques and the dining room has large cupboards with all kinds of antiques on sale (he’s a certified seller) and there are more in the reception area and in the aisles. But the highlight is the sparrow family nesting in the reception chandelier in its 10th generation! The room we had was large, the bathroom had a nice hot shower. Fans etc. are not necessary, but warm blankets are and they were provided. Staff is very friendly and breakfast in the garden was quite a treat. The resort currently has 7 rooms but the owner plans to build a larger „and more modern hotel“ on property close-by, starting in 2013.

Rate: 5000 LKR per double room with breakfast. Dinner is „à la carte“.

Tours of all kinds can be arranged but for a visit to Mount Harrow Tea Factory of Blue Field Tea Gardens we relied on Cihan Tours. He charged 3000 LKR for a 4-hour tour and was a great guide, with a wealth of knowledge not only on tea but on just about anything you would want to know about Sri Lanka. Contact Cihan at 072-4694923 or 077-0703650.

Dalhousie / Adam’s Peak
Green House (stayed: January 28-29, 2013)
Contact: 051-2223956, 051-3051048, 072-3681736,

Simple guesthouse with a scary but hot shower, bring your own towel! Mosquito nets provided. Conveniently located at the end of the village, really close to the start of the Adam’s Peak ascent. Breakfast is included (and will served whenever you get back from the night climb, usually starting at about 2 am). Dinner is included as well and was pretty good.

Rate: 4000 LKR for a double room, half-board included.

Goyambokka Beach, Tangalle
Palm Paradise Cabanas (stayed: January 29-February 4, 2013)
Contact: 047-2240338,,

There really isn’t that much to say other than: excellent. There are 22 cabanas of different sizes – we stayed in a standard one near the beach. The whole compound is one huge palm grove with lots of smaller animals around – we particularly liked the visiting chipmunks and fireflies! There’s a fan and a mosquito net so sleeping was uninterrupted once we got used to the constant roll of the waves. What we found most amazing was the love for detail – be it the little water jugs ready to douse the sand off your feet before you climb up onto your verandah or (very important for me!) the reading lamps you could get at the reception. The staff was very friendly and helpful and really did all in their might to make this a perfect stay. We chose the half-board deal and dinner was so, so delicious. There’s even a massage hut and you can book ayurvedic massages and not have to go anywhere far (and they were good, too!). Wi-fi was available in a specific Wi-fi zone only but it was good. We had planned to stay five nights but extended for a sixth after breakfast the first morning.

Rate: 60 USD per Standard Cabana, half-board.

Can’t say much about the surroundings because in fact we really only slept, ate, spent time on the beach and started the cycle over again. There was one brief visit to Tangalle city which I do not recommend. But there are tons of other more interesting things that you can do if want to be more active.

Ho, Ho, H2O!!

Nach meinem winterlichen Ausflug in die Tropen fällt es mir noch schwerer als sonst, wieder in die Weihnachtskartenproduktion einzusteigen. Gerade in allerletzter Sekunde habe ich noch meine Karte für die Jingle Belles fertig bekommen, Thema: Ho, Ho, H2O. Es geht um Wasser in allen seinen Aggregatzuständen.

After this year’s wintery excursion to the tropics it’s harder than ever to get back into making Christmas cards. This is a very last minute entry into the Jingle Belles‘ Ho, Ho, H2O challenge. It’s about water in all of its aggregate conditions.


Die Fotos sind nicht wirklich gut, aber es ist nach 22 Uhr… und es musste schnell gehen. Und dann gibt es ja auch noch einen Gewinner zu verkünden! Aus den sieben qualifizierten Teilnehmern kann ich Bigggi gratulieren:

The pictures are less than perfect but it’s past 10pm here… and I was (am!) in a rush. And then there’s a winner to announce! There were seven participants and my congrats go out to Bigggi:


Ich vermute mal, es kann zu einer persönlichen Übergabe kommen?!

I assume we can arrange a personal handing over?!


Es ist möglich! / It’s possible!


Heute morgen bin ich um 8 Uhr zu drei Dingen aufgewacht: -8°C, den üblichen Schmerzen im oberen Rücken (ab Mitte des Urlaubs nicht vorhanden, gerade mal vier Tage zurück in Deutschland und da sind sie wieder… ZUSAMMENHANG???) und einer in rosafarbenes Licht getauchten Schneelandschaft. In einer für mich zu dieser Zeit unüblichen Hast bin ich aus dem Bett gesprungen, habe ich mich angezogen, schnell was gegessen – und die Ski rausgekramt. Die Ski, die ihren letzten Einsatz im letzten Vasalauf (KortVasan, die 30km-Variante) des vergangenen Jahrhunderts hatten: Anfang März 1999.

I woke up to three things this morning: -8°C (mmhhh… 20°F?), the usual upper back pain (they were gone about half-way through the vacation – and now four days back in Germany they have returned… CONNECTION???) and a snow landscape bathed in rose. With a haste unknown to me at this hour I jumped out of bed, got dressed, quickly had a bite – and got out the skis. The skis that were last used in the last Vasaloppet (KortVasan of 30km to be precise) of the past century: in the beginning of March 1999.


Es waren noch Wachsreste dran… und seit meinen wirklich aktiven Zeiten, zu denen ich wusste, wie man es aufträgt und wieder runterkriegt, ist zuviel Zeit ins Land gegangen. Ich erinnere mich nur noch an einen Gasbrenner. Und dass Klister eine schmierige Angelegenheit war. Steigwachs. Nun ja, fahren wir so los, das rosa Licht ist eh schon weg.

There were still patches of wax left… and my really active times, when I knew how to apply and remove it, are too long gone. I just remember a gas burner. And that klister was a yucky thing to use. Well, let’s get going – the rose light is gone already.


Ich war auf einer fast jungfräulichen Strecke unterwegs – nur Wildschweine und anderes Getier war vorher unterwegs gewesen. Es war einfach nur glitzernde Herrlichkeit. Wirklich herrlich in den Abfahrten, eher tödlich auf den Ebenen und unmöglich in den Steigungen – wegen des fehlenden Wachses. Ich muss mich also damit wieder beschäftigen. Zuletzt wollte ich noch die altbekannte, etwa 150m lange schwarze Diamanten-Abfahrt, genannt Dellen, wagen. Keine einfache Angelegenheit auf Langlaufskiern! Und dann das:

I was skiing on an almost virgin trail – only wild boars and other animals had been there before. It was glittery glory. Really glorious on the downhill parts, rather deadly on the flat parts and impossible on the slopes – due to the lack of wax. I have to get into that again. I wanted to finish the little tour going down our 150m (480 feet) black diamond run 😉 , aka Dellen. No easy feat on cross-country skis! And then this:


Eingezäunt! Und in der Mitte nochmal! Aber kein Pferd weit und breit… An dieser Stelle kommt immer wieder die Erinnerung an die legendäre Schussfahrt im Schlauchboot hoch, fünf, sechs Teenager, die in einem – im Rückblick nicht wirklich unerwarteten – Affenzahn den Berg runter rasten, unter großem Gejohle. Einer opferte sich und schrie nur noch „Ich bin der Bremser!“ und sprang ab, das Seil (nicht lange) in der Hand, dafür Schnee im Mund und dann war er weg. Der Rest raste weiter, dem Abgrund zu, flog über den im letzten Drittel befindlichen etwa 2m tiefen Abhang, weiter über den zugefrorenen Bach, bevor wir dann atemlos, erschöpft, zerkratzt in den Hecken am Ende landeten, während die Luft langsam aus dem Schlauchboot wich. Es folgte irres Gelächter und Gejohle. Adrenalin-Kicks in der Eifel, anno ca. 1990. Das waren noch Zeiten. Mein Vater redet heute immer noch von dem ruinierten Schlauchboot.

Fenced in! And half way down another fence! And no horse to be seen… Standing there I always remember the legendary run in a rubber boat. Five, six teenagers schussing down the hill at – with hindsight not unexpected – breakneck speed, howling like crazy. One of them, sacrificing himself, yelled „I am the brakeman!“ before he jumped off (briefly) holding on to the rope for dear life, soon snow in his mouth and he was gone. The rest raced on, towards the abyss, practically flew over the 2m vertical drop in the last third of the run, continued across the frozen little stream, before they crashed into the bushes at the end, breathless, exhausted, bruised, while the air was slowly leaking from the rubber boat. Then crazy laughter and howling. Adrenalin rushes in the Eifel region, AD 1990, approximately. Those were the days. To this day, my Dad talks about the ruined rubber boat.


Es ist also möglich: einen Tag springen in den Wellen bei über 30°C, ein paar Tage später Skifahren bei -8°C… und beides ein Heidenspaß. Genießt den Schnee!

It is possible after all: one day braving the waves at more than 30°C, a few days later skiing at -8°C… and having fun at both. Enjoy the snow!


P.S.: HIER gibt’s was zu gewinnen!
P.S.: There’s blog candy here!

Sri Lanka: Paper Crafts

Vollkommen überfahren war ich davon, so ziemlich überall in Sri Lanka handgemachte Grußkarten zu finden. In allen möglichen Formen und Farben und interessanten Techniken. Der Batik-Elefant oben, der auch noch diverse andere Freunde aus dem Tierreich hatte, kommt aus Kandy, von B.C.V.E. Sons.

I was totally amazed to find handmade cards basically all over Sri Lanka. They came in all kinds of colors, motifs and techniques. The batik elephant above, who had many more friends from the animal kingdom, is from Kandy (B.C.V.E. Sons).



Ebenfalls aus Kandy sind die beiden oberen Karten, mit wunderbaren Stoffen und Embellishments gemacht. Ich habe sie bei der Kandyan Art Association aufgetrieben. Mal sehen, wer in 2013 heiratet… dann dürfte der Glückwunschträger schon feststehen!

The two cards above are from Kandy as well – made with wonderful fabrics and embellishments. They were on sale by the Kandyan Art Association. I will have to see who’s getting married in 2013… the card is already chosen!



In einem Geschäft mit dem ansonsten üblichen Touristen-Sortiment in Negombo sind mir diese niedlichen Kerle über den Weg gelaufen. Das Papier für die Kartenrohlinge wurde aus Elefanten-Dung hergestellt, eine relativ kürzlich entdeckte Verwendung für das „Abfallprodukt“.

In one of the usual tourist shops in Negombo I found these cuties above. The paper for the cardstock was made from elephant dung, a rather recently discovered way to make use of the waste.



Wie man sieht, sind Elefanten dann doch das bevorzugte Motiv… wahrscheinlich fahren die Touristen alle am ehesten darauf ab. Die beiden Exemplare oben sind ebenfalls aus Negombo, von Baba Shafri, einem Sandkünstler, der unter dem Label BULLOCK-CART auch ganz wunderbare Sandkunstwerke erstellt. Sein Laden lief nur so über von interessanten Kreationen, die alle von ihm sind. Ein Muss für jeden Negombo-Besucher.

As you can see, elephants are a favored motif, probably because that is what tourists usually go for. The two cards above are from Negombo as well, from the store of Baba Shafri, a sand artist who creates all kinds of things under the alias BULLOCK-CART. His shop was teeming with interesting creations who are all (c) Baba – a must-see in Negombo.



Dann gab es aber doch auch ganz anderes: die Karten oben sind in Polonnaruwa hergestellt worden, wir fanden sie allerdings im Museum Shop in Sigiriya. Die Motive sind alle aus Blättern unterschiedlichster Art gemacht, die Karte selbst ist aus Bananenblättern. Da die Materlialien naturgemäß sehr zerbrechlich sind, sind sie laminiert, was man hoffentlich im zweiten Bild erkennen kann.

Then there was a whole different technique: the cards above were made in Polonnaruwa but we found them in the museum store in Sigiriya. The motifs are all made from different leaves, the card as such is from banana leaf. As these materials are very frail by nature, the cards are laminated – which you might be able to see in the second picture above.



Florale Motive waren im Shop des Botanischen Gartens in Peradeniya zu finden. Nach Auskunft des Verkäufers wurden sie von Schülerinnen hergestellt.

I found these floral motifs in the shop at Peradeniya Botanical Gardens. The guy at the checkout said they were made by school girls.



Zu guter Letzt wurden wir auch in der Post von Nuwara Eliya fündig. Die Karten oben kamen in unzähligen Motiven (von denen ich auch einen Großteil käuflich erworben habe). Die Motive sind auf Stoff gemalt, weiter verziert und dann etwas unterfüttert, so dass sie einen leichten 3D-Effekt erhalten. Über ihre Herkunft konnte ich nichts in Erfahrung bringen. Alles in allem ist wohl nicht damit zu rechnen, dass ich in 2013 selbst noch irgendwas anderes als Weihnachtskarten basteln werde – mit allem anderen bin ich ja nun ausgestattet.

Last but not least we also found cards at the post office of Nuwara Eliya. The cards above came in numerous motifs – of which I bought the majority. The motifs are painted on canvas, further embellished and then slightly padded so that there’s a bit of a 3D effect. I couldn’t find out who made them. Well, it doesn’t look like I will be doing anything but Christmas cards in 2013 as I have a supply of cards for all other occasions now!


P.S.: Freebie nicht vergessen – NOCH läuft es!

P.S.: Don’t forget about the blog candy – you can still enter the draw!

Tangalle: RELAX!

Goyambokka Beach, Tangalle

Goyambokka Beach, Tangalle

Zu Tangalle als Ort kann ich nicht viel sagen, denn den haben wir ungefähr eine Stunde begutachtet… und auch das hätten wir uns sparen können. Ansonsten haben wir für 6 Tage das Gelände der Palm Paradise Cabanas und den Goyambokka Beach nicht verlassen.

I can’t really tell you anything about the town of Tangalle as we’ve only been there for about an hour… and we could have spared us even that. Other than that we didn’t leave the compound of Palm Paradise Cabanas and Goyambokka Beach for six days.

Sky over Goyambokka Beach, Tangalle (as seen from a sun lounger)

Sky over Goyambokka Beach, Tangalle (as seen from a sun lounger)

Das war ja eigentlich auch der Plan, aber ich hatte nicht geglaubt, dass ich das durchhalten würde. Schlafen, lesen, essen, Massage kriegen, am Strand liegen, in den Wellen springen und alles wieder von vorn.

That was the plan after all but I didn’t really think I would follow through with it. Sleeping, reading, eating, getting a massage, lying on the beach, jumping in the waves – and start over again.

A Palm Paradise Cabana in the palm grove

A Palm Paradise Cabana in the palm grove

Die Palm Paradise Cabanas waren eine perfekte Wahl: wunderschön gelegen im Palmenhain, die Brandung immer in den Ohren, mit freundlichen und hilfsbereiten Angestellten, leckerem Essen, erholsamen Massagen – und soviel Liebe für’s Detail. Wir hatten 5 Nächte geplant, am ersten Morgen haben wir dann gleich noch um eine verlängert.

The Palm Paradise Cabanas were a perfect choice: located in a wonderful palm grove you always have the roll of the waves in your ears, there are scores of friendly and helpful staff, delicious food, relaxing massages – and so much love for detail. We had planned to stay 5 nights but right after breakfast on the first morning we extended for another day.

View from our cabana

View from our cabana

Für eine totale Auszeit und einfach nur R-U-H-E kann ich diesen Ort also wärmstens empfehlen. Es gab für mich nur einen Schönheitsfehler: ich konnte nicht stundenlang am Strand langlaufen, denn dazu war die Bucht zu klein. Und 85x hin und her war mir auch zu blöd. Aber irgendwie konnte ich darüber hinwegsehen 😉

For a major amount of downtime and just Q-U-I-E-T I can highly recommend this place. There was only a tiny flaw from my perspective: I couldn’t do what I like most, walk along a neverending beach for hours – the bay was way too small. And I didn’t feel like walking back and forth about 85 times. But somehow I even forgot about that 😉

Und der Sri Lanka-Aufenthalt geht zuende… Viele Grüße!

And the Sri lanka vacation is nearing its end… Take care!


P.S.: Achtung: Freebie!
P.S.: Remember the blog candy!

Geburtstag / Birthday

Die Freundin, mit der ich unterwegs bin, hatte Geburtstag. Das war mir natürlich schon vorher klar und lange habe ich überlegt, wie man den Anlass gebührend würdigen könnte. Und da fand ich auf dem Blog von Miriam Dornemann die Idee des „Geburtstagskuchen Bausatz“.

The friend I am traveling with celebrated a birthday here in Sri Lanka. Of course I realized that would be the case before we left and I gave some thought to finding an appropriate way to celebrate it. And then I found the idea of the „Birthday Cake Construction Set“ on the blog of Miriam Dornemann.


Perfekt für unterwegs… und ich denke, es ist auch gut angekommen!

It was perfect… and I think it was very well received!