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Haddon Hall - A Glorious Country Manor House

Visiting historic houses is one of my favorite things to do in England and Derbyshire is a county that  offers an  extraordinary triumvirate of sites; Hardwick's Elizabethan glamour, the palatial splendors of Chatsworth and Haddon Hall, described by Simon Jenkins as "the most perfect English house to survive from the Middle Ages."  The joy of a visit to Derbyshire is that in visiting all three you can see the English country house through a variety of lenses and periods. 
In his definitive tome, England's1000 Best Houses Jenkins goes on to say of Haddon, "It has none of Hardwick's promiscuity or Chatsworth's bombast. It has not changed because it never needed to change". 
Indeed the house has remains in the hands of the Manners family since 1563 and is currently occupied by the Duke of Rutland's brother and his family. As they say on the website it has avoided, " fire; warfare;  family misfortune and changing fashions" and as such provid…

Walking Little Adams Peak in Ella, Sri Lanka

There is a lot of nice walking in Sri Lanka, whether it's connected to pilgrimage sites or through the tea country. However, as our trip was completely unexpected we hadn't planned  any major walking, which is what made this short hike so great for us. It suited me because it was easy, didn't involve getting up at the crack of dawn or driving miles.

At the beginning of the  trail there's a small cafe and tuk tuk drivers  waiting to take you back to town.

The trail is easy and passes by beautiful tea estates with their wonderfully manicured small bushes climbing the hillside in regular rows.
You may share the trail with wandering cows!
The views were breathtaking in every direction.
It was a quick roundtrip and we wished it had been longer, however after the short climb we were rewarded with fabulous views in all direction. 
At the top there's also a small shrine marked by stones, painted poles and flags.
We stopped at the stunningly situated 98 Degrees Resort hotel on the way back and I highly recommend lunch here. The rooms are a series of small cottages built along a ridge.

The views just kept getting better and  if I'd planned this trip in advance this is where we would have been staying. Of course by the time we knew we were going to Ella (the day before) the hotel was fully booked. It's somewhere I'd love to return to and I think I could look at the view for days, it was breathtaking. Instead I was on the phone with United trying to secure our onwards  flights to Bangkok on frequent flyer miles, agh the glamour! All I wanted to do was dive into this pool, what could be nicer after a short hike.
This was one of my favorite days in Sri Lanka.