We’re just getting back from an amazing week with Meghan and Kate. We tried to pack as much as possible into eight days, including a trip to the lake, a close encounter with an elephant, and even closer encounter with a crocodile, and some really good food!
Their first morning we got up early and drove to Mulanje. We slowly wound our way through the tea plantations and along the bumpy, dusty, potholed dirt road to the mountain. Lawrence, our same guide from last time, met us at the entrance and spent the day leading us up to the waterfalls. We were better prepared this time and had packed Sandy’s bread, the good peanut butter, avocado/tomato/carrot/cucumber salad, coconut cookies, and plenty of water and enjoyed our picnic lunch at the foot of the falls. Considering the girls had just flown half way across the world and had no idea what time it was, they were good sports to be dragged up the mountain.
Monday, we toured St. Michaels and All Angels. This is the massive church that was built without a trained architect or engineer. The joke is that they needed St. Michael, and all the other angels, to keep it standing.
We had lunch at Mandala House and then visited some of the nice craft shops. The best souvenir shopping, however, was done right at our front door. Two of our favorite artists stopped by that morning with a selection of their work. The girls were able to literally role out of bed and purchase a carved elephant or a colorful batik.
As a special treat, the girls and friends from home wanted to take us out to dinner. We immediately decided to go to Grill 21. We had heard of Grill 21, a restaurant connected to the famous Ryalls Hotel, ever since we arrived. One of our friends even said he would sell his mother for an order of their beef Carpaccio. When challenged, he admitted that maybe that was an exaggeration… she was worth two orders. We got dressed up and headed out around seven. Despite all that I had heard about how wonderful it was, I have to say that I really expected just a nice hotel restaurant. I expected it to be nice for Blantyre standards – but it turned out to be really nice for DC standards…
You walk in, and you’re immediately transported to some lovely restaurant in New York or DC. The decor is elegant and the service is wonderful. The beef Carpaccio was delicious, as was everything else. The highlight of the evening, though, was when we discovered that the menu had a whole page devoted to chocolate desserts. We chose three to share but all ended up fighting over the “slow death by chocolate.” We’re not sure what it was exactly, but it was exceptional.
More about the week to come …