Flight to Male’ from Schiphol Airport via Moscow

Tuesday, 29th October, 2019

Today, we have quite some flight mileage to do before we arrive at our first destination on the Maldives: Bandos Island.

It’s a bright and sunny morning and Gaby arrived on time so that by 9.a.m. we were on our way. We had no serious traffic jams on the way so that we arrived at Schiphol before 10.30. Gaby drove the car back to Krimpen while we leisurely checked ourselves in and made our way through security and passport control.

In no time we were boarding the Aeroflot aircraft which would take us on our first leg of our journey stopping over in Moscow. The 3 hour flight went smoothly and what with some lunch and watching a movie, we quickly arrived in a snow covered airport in Moscow! It was a good thing that we had quite a few hours to spend in transit as going through security and passport control proved to be quite cumbersome! The worst part for Gerry was the fact that Moscow airport is totally smoke free – and that meant he could not have a smoke anywhere…….. and to go out of the building, he would need a visa! So we spent the time having dinner and drinks so that Gerry’s agony would be somewhat less painful.

Gerry enjoying his steak – note the rolled cigarette lying next to his dish – he smoked it when we were out of the airport at Male’

Finally we could board our flight to Male’ and we were so lucky that the plane was quite empty. We could claim two rows of four seats so that after the movie we could sleep somewhat more comfortably during our eight hour flight!

By early morning, we woke up rather stiff but glad to have had a few hours of sleep. Out of the window, I could see the huge blobs in the Indian Ocean – these were the islands making up the archipelago of the Maldives. Even though it was quite cloudy, the sight was just beautiful – various shades of blue and pearl white beaches surrounding green covered islands.

Island blobs in the Indian Ocean – the Maldives

When we landed, it was just marvelous to be greeted with temperatures already gone soaring to 29degrees Celsius. The visa formalities were a bit tedious especially as there were hundreds of tourists arriving at the same time, however we got through security and customs easily and waited for our pick up speedboat to take us to the island Bandos – only a 15 minute ride from Male’ airport.

Bandos Maldives is one of the first resorts on the Maldives when the local government started its tourist industry back in 1972. The whole island is the resort and in that way, the tourists are not interfering with the local stringent Muslim way of life. According to Gerry, Muslim women were not allowed to work in the tourist industry until some 20 years ago. But that’s not the case any longer and our resort is also staffed with women who, some of which do wear an attractive headscarf. The receptionist who assisted us in checking I was a well educated and charming Muslim lady and really looked after us very well.

While our beach villa was still being prepared for us, we went for a walk round the island – that only took half an hour but it was great enjoying the luscious gardens and the pearl white beaches. We had our first drink at one of the bars having it’s terrace jutting out on the reef. Oh, our papaya and mango fresh juice was just divine as we sat out on the verandah taking in all this new scenery – felt truly blessed!

Once we settled in our beach villa, we quickly changed and went out to the beach – and also to have some lunch – it’s been a crazy day but we wanted to have a swim and test the temperature….. it was divine! And what was even more powerful, all our aches and pains seem to have slowly disintegrated into nothing – the warm climate and lukewarm clean ocean did a whole load of good.

Gerry enjoying his club sandwich

Tranquility, lunch and our home for the next 3 nights

After lunch, it was time to have a nap on the beach but soon after, we were back in our beach villa and we thought after enjoying the jacuzzi, we would be on time to watch the sunset from our beach. However we missed that as we both fell asleep and only woke up after sundown! After getting dressed, we first went for. Walk to our favorite bar and ordered our pre dinner cocktails. And then off to dinner which being a buffet, we tended to eat more than we should have, especially the sweets!

Tomorrow Gerry is going scuba diving and I will be his photographer! We’ll be sleeping well tonight – in a proper bed and listening to the sound of the ocean and night birds….

Trip to the Maldives and Sri Lanka

Monday, 28th January 2019

We have been planning this trip for quite a while – actually since before we left for our road trip to the Souther States of the U.S. Sri Lanka has been on my “to do” list for quite some time, especially after having visited the southern state of Kerala, India some three years ago. Gerry persuaded me to include the Maldives, paradise islands in the Indian Ocean surrounded by turquoise waters, white sandy beaches and spectacular coral reefs, in our itenarary. Of course Gerry has already visited both the Maldives and Sri Lanka, but I am hoping we will be experiencing this trip in a totally different way……

I packed my stuff and drove down to Gerry’s place as his daughter Monique (perhaps his grand daughter, Gaby) will be driving us to Schiphol Airport.

Our trip will take 21 days: 4 days on the Maldives at Bandos Maldives, a Resort on the Bandos island which we will reach by a 15 minute speedboat ride from Male airport. We will arrive on Wednesday morning after flying from Amsterdam through Moscow and will be leaving for Colombo on Saturday 2nd February in the evening.

Our road trip through Sri Lanka will enable us to experience this pearl in the Indian Ocean in all aspects:

Beautiful beaches, lush forests, mountains and a land blessed with a rich and vibrant cultured aging back to thousands of years. However our first destination will be the Maldives – a three night / four day stay to build up our energy for our our Sri Lanka trip.

On the Maldives, we are hoping for some good weather ( the forecast was that we would be having some showers!!) so that we can relax and just enjoy the serene surroundings of Bandos Island. Gerry will be going diving of course while I will act as his photographer……. and now our luggage is packed, Gerry’s family came over for goodbye drinks and tomorrow morning Gaby will be driving with us to Schiphol Airport so that she can take the car back to Krimpen.