The Sri Lanka Series: Unawatuna (July-August 2015)

Unawatuna is a popular beach destination during peak season, but I found it had a bit of a ‘tired’ vibe. A lot of the restaurants we tried really lacked compared to the delicious Sri Lankan food we had come to expect. The only place I remember fully enjoying the food was at a poorly lit burger place tucked in with all of the other beach restaurants (I think it was this one). It boasted huge burgers with chunky cut chips and a variety of condiments (the way to my heart is condiments). We did discover a prettier beach a couple of minutes east along the coastline (behind the aeroplane playground) that had white sand, no rubbish and glorious warm, blue water. It was definitely worth the tuk tuk trip (or scooter ride) away from the standard tourist hub.



Safety first?


From Unawatuna, we did a day trip to investigate the city of Galle, which is about 20 minutes drive away. We hired a scooter with helmets from our accomodation for AU$8 per day and were hyper vigilant about keeping our distance from everyone else on the road. Our mindset was to just expect everybody to do the most unpredictable thing ever and that seemed to keep us safe. (To read about Sri Lankans and their love of horns, go here.) The scooter meant absolute freedom to travel at our own pace without having to hail and barter with tuk tuk drivers all the way. From the fort’s walls, we spectated the local spectators of a Sri Lanka versus India cricket game at the stadium. Afterwards, we wandered around and stumbled upon markets before hunting down street food for lunch and then devouring ice cream later on. I am not much of a history buff, so though the fort was cool to see, what came next was the highlight of the day for me.


Galle Fort.


After swerving through the frantic traffic of Galle and along the main coastal road for another 15 minutes, we arrived at our next destination: a turtle hatchery! I researched a couple in the area on trip advisor to make sure they seemed legit and were not exploiting the animals for the tourist dollar. The reviews I read were vital for informing which hatchery to choose and which ones to avoid.


Rhys and I happily handed over the AUS$5 donation at the door and walked in to volunteer some of our time cleaning the tanks and feeding the turtles. It warmed my animal loving heart to see the good work that the hatchery was doing in an effort to protect the turtle’s breeding grounds and help injured (usually due to rubbish, boats or fishing nets) turtles recuperate. I was very conscious of a tourist scam which might result in further animal captivity, but the owner’s authenticity was clear from his first hello. He explained that he had actually inherited the hatchery from his father and was trying his best to keep it operational with help from volunteers. He outlined the story of each of the captive turtles and how every day was spent caring for them, helping hatchlings or releasing the older ones back into the wild. I loved every minute of splashing around in the pools with the bigger turtles, learning about the different species and going crazy over the cuteness of the newly hatched babies. It was a pretty awesome day for any animal lover. Afterwards, we cruised back to Unawatuna as the sun went down and dined on delicious, fresh fish for dinner.


Aren’t they just the cutest?




This guy lost his leg in a boating accident.


Even Rhys couldn’t deny the babies and their cuteness.


Another highlight from our time in Unwatauna was our search for the (not so) mysterious Jungle Beach. We had heard about this particular beach and people had told us of the adventure to get there. As it turned out, the track was fairly well signed, but it still seemed to elude us for quite some time. The 45 minute walk included tropical forest, beaches, crossing streams, muddy slopes, spiders and a hilly decline down to the beach itself. This is really one of those cliche times where the journey was more fun than the final destination. The beach is not all that fabulous (there is a restaurant that offer a decent meal with bathrooms and a few cabanas) but the walk was a fun venture through scenic surroundings as we wove our way through people’s backyards and soaked up the nature all around us.


Finally, it was time to hitch our train from Galle to Colombo in preparation of our departure. We had heard that the trains get packed very quickly, especially in economy class (only a couple of dollars per ticket). We waited with our backpacks at the ready in an attempt to beat some people to the few free seats. Unfortunately, most were much pushier than we were jumping on before the train had even pulled into the station (it was clear it wasn’t their first time) and instead we spent 3 hours taking turns sitting on our bags in the walkway as salesmen stepped over us to sell their refreshments and trinkets. It was a unique and somewhat funny experience, but not necessarily the most comfortable position for the 3 hour journey.


#rocketandramble @rocketandramble


The Sri Lanka Series: Mirissa (July-August 2015)

The south coast of Sri Lanka is the one you see featured in most of the staggeringly beautiful photography that pops up on your computer screen when you are googling or pinterest-ing as a means of procrastination at work.


This is where I spent many of my days reading a book when the sun got too hot.

The crystal, blue waters are teeming with wildlife and the stick fishermen brave the waves for their dinner. When in season (Nov-Feb) the south coast is a tourist mecca of snorkeling, scuba diving, whales, dolphins, never-ending beaches and warm sunshine. It can get crowded and you will likely have to book accommodation in advance as well as organise dinner reservations for larger groups the day before. We left Udawalawe behind and arrived in Mirissa via Matara after another long bus ride and then a 15 minute tuk tuk.


Rhys made a furry friend. I wanted to take so many stray dogs home with me. They are treated quite poorly in Sri Lanka.

Mirissa beach is breathtaking regardless of the season as restaurants spill out onto the white sandy beaches serving up cocktails and scrumptious seafood BBQs. The beach itself has a rocky headland at one end which contains champagne pools which makes a great swimming spot, while the rest of the stretch consists of easy soft, sandy shorelines.


One of the many sticks planted in the rocks along the coastline. This was also the champagne pool I swam in.

Mirissa has a fully functioning tourist strip which includes a ‘beach club’ with a pool and lilo beds. We lazed about most days, took long walks up the headland to see the views and ate so much delicious food. We stayed with a local family as a part of an airbnb for our first two nights, but it was a little far (and dark) to walk at night to the main area. So we moved to a very affordable room (1500 rupee per night with ensuite) just behind the beach club with much better access and a cool, laid-back garden to chill in.

During the off season, it is still sunny and warm (it’s always warm in Sri Lanka) but my lazy beach sessions were often interrupted by sudden downpours of rain for around 15 minutes. Everyone did what I was doing: hastily collecting all of my stuff and madly dashing for cover under nearby trees or into the cafes. After the 15 minutes of torrential rain ended, everyone sheepishly heads back out and sets up their towels again. I recommend taking at least a raincoat with you to the beach as I was caught out a few times and when I did have it, I could throw it over everything and keep it all dry.


The storms roll in quickly and soak everyone only to leave 15 minutes later.

Most of the beach front cafes turn into bars at night and they were happy to let me sit there for hours and use their wifi and lilos even when I only bought a bottle of water. My favourite restaurant was Zephyr. It is affiliated but not exactly the same as its Arugam Bay counterpart. Instead of burgers being their specialty, they served up delicious wraps for lunch and spicy prawn pasta for dinner.

Avoid the Coffee Shack’s coffee. It claims ‘Italian espresso’ but serves hot water which tastes like you licked a battery terminal. No amount of sugar and milk could fix the acidic taste. I watched (with glee) as others around me made the same face I did and then put their coffee down never to be touched again. On the positive side, their pineapple smoothies were sweet and delicious! Each night we ate at many of the beach front restaurants often hand picking our fish fresh from the esky out the front and then having it cooked to perfection or embracing the multi-dish Sri Lankan curries which are still one of my favourite!


Late afternoon is always the most magical.

See the Tangent Time blog for my whale watching recount.


#rocketandramble @rocketandramble

The Sri Lanka Series: Mirissa (July-August 2015)

Tangent Time: (This post is not for the fainthearted – read at your own risk. Does involve vomit.)

In peak season, Mirissa is famous for its whale and dolphin watching tours. After spending a couple of days lazing about, we felt that we should probably organise an activity of some sort. One night after dinner, we were strolling along the beach back towards our accommodation when we saw a sign that was advertising cheap whale watching (2500 instead of 7000 rupee) for the next day. After a couple of questions to check the particulars and suss out why it was so cheap (apparently last minute seats to help fill the boat and not as many whales as usual), it was decided we would take a chance on it, plus it included breakfast (always gets me over the line). The organisers claimed that even though it was not whale season, they were still averaging 2 whale sightings a trip as well as many dolphins. They even guaranteed a second trip for free if we didn’t see one! What could we possibly have to lose? Apparently my dignity.

We had to meet the organisers at a certain spot the next morning at 6am to be tuk tuked to the mariner. As I dragged my holiday-mode self out of bed and got ready, the weather outside had me seriously second guessing our plans. The clouds outside were dark and angry looking as they unleashed their rainy wrath upon us. Rhys and I debated not going but he ended up convincing me that the weather would clear eventually like it had the other days usually turning on the sunshine by around 10am. We stomped our way through the mud to our meeting point where our guide was 10 minutes late arriving. I saw this as an ominous omen as we debated heading back home to crawl under the covers, when he came running up apologising. The rain slowed as we drove to the mariner and located our boat. Our guide pulled us aside just before we got out of the tuk tuk and whispered to us, asking that we not mention the cheaper price we had paid to the other participants because apparently they had paid full price.

As we boarded, I noticed that the 100 seats were occupied mostly by Asian tourists readying their cameras as they put their life jackets over their heads and clipped in. We headed out of the calm mariner and into the rough and rolling seas. The clouds were still looming over head as the wind whipped around and the ocean rocked the boat. After almost an hour of heading directly out to sea followed by a couple of other whale watching boats, the non-seafaring folk (myself included) began to revolt against the rolling motion and the seasickness began.

I am not usually a queasy person, but this trip got me too. It started towards the front as a couple of kids and their dad dry wretched, trying to throw up their non -xistent breakfast. The tour operators handed out black plastic bags as quickly as they could to anyone who looked mildly ill. The sounds of more people chucking their guts up started to take effect  on me and eventually I succumbed. I tried standing up, I tried sitting down, I tried looking out to the horizon that was rolling just as much as our boat was. It was windy, raining on and off and the noise of plastic bags flapping and heaving stomachs filled the air. It had been almost two hours of boating without even seeing a single fin or tail. Plus, many of the passengers were staring at the ground trying not to think about how terrible they felt.

At this point, I almost didn’t care if I never saw a whale ever again as passengers all around us were sick and Rhys tried to help me, looking on with pity as I sat there spitting bile repeatedly into my plastic bag. Finally, a blue whale was spotted as the tourists who were still able to look up pulled out their cameras trying to capture a glimpse. The captain’s helpers rushed to the side of the boat and pointed furiously at the spot where the whale had just breached (very slightly) out of the water. Now in all honesty, yes, I did most definitely see a whale a couple of times. It was a one second glance of a hump, then a tail and then that was it. I wasn’t well enough to even think about getting my camera out nor did I think the scene before me was really picture worthy as I clutched my bag of spew. There were a few oohs and aaahs as the whale swam along breaking the water every 10  minutes or so as we tried to keep up. After 30 minutes of following the whale, our tour guides started asking if anyone hadn’t seen the whale, ensuring that no one asked for their money back. Even if I hadn’t seen the whale, you could not have paid me enough to do the trip a second time.

After it had been agreed, that yes indeed EVERYONE had seen a whale, the boat turned around and headed back to land as the excitement of the whale sighting started to wear off and everyone realised that we had another 2 hours of rocking boat time before we hit dry land.   The crew started to hand out the breakfast boxes to those with iron stomachs who had been able to resist the motion sickness paired with the retching sounds that continued around them. I took my box but gave it to Rhys who happily chowed down on the extra tuna sandwich, banana and juice popper. I couldn’t even look at the sandwich without wanting to throw up a little more. Finally, the boat docked and I could not get off fast enough. Our tuk tuk driver was waiting to take us back to our accommodation but it was still hours before I could even think about eating.

The boat and staff were actually excellent, and the experience itself is one I won’t forget, but not because of the whales.


#rocketandramble @rocketandramble

The Sri Lanka Series: Udawalawe (July-August 2015)



Safari Jeep Time! Feeling pleased as punch.

There was only one reason we made the trek to Udawalawe: Elephants! I LOVE elephants. I think they are just the most spectacular, majestic and beautiful animals. With their size, they can be fierce and dangerous especially to humans who cross their paths in the wild, but then you see them in their  families playing and being so gentle with their young. They are intelligent and I just adore the family dynamic they create within their herds. 


This big guy lives in the park but often hangs out right near the road. He had very gentle eyes as he watched the human world go by.

It is such a shame they are hunted and poached so severely and that their habitat is being destroyed by humans. My love of elephants blossomed at a young age and my parents are adamant that one of my first words was a variation of ‘elephant’.  My Udawalawe safari experience wasn’t the first time I had witnessed elephants up close and in the flesh and it definitely won’t be the last but, it was one of the most magical. We took a bus from Ella to a town near Udawalawe (can’t remember the name unfortunately) and then while we waited for the next bus to take us the last leg, we bartered with a tuk tuk driver and eventually agreed on a price of 1500 rupees for the 2 hour journey. The bus would have been cheaper (approximately 200 rupee) but we decided to go with the tuk tuk as it would halve the time we would spend travelling and was still a reasonable price after negotiating him down from 4000 rupee. He was very persistent  and we were a little tired. We spent only one night in Udawalwe which does not have much to offer besides the safari tours. There is a variety of tours and hotel packages available, but we stayed in a brand new guesthouse which was still under construction. Due to the construction, there wasn’t much happening and we had to travel to an alternative restaurant for our meals, but the rooms were brand new with fancy ensuites and it was only 1500 rupees a night for the two of us. Inconvenience was trumped by price! We organised a tour with our guesthouse manager as there was three of us staying at the guesthouse and we decided to do the safari together. 

Tour costs seems to work out in the following ways:

  • Park admission 1500-2000 rupees per person (depends on season and changes often)
  • Tour jeep and driver: 5000 split between how many people go (most have 6 seats, but we only had 3 people so the cost was a little higher)
  • ‘Volunteer’ guide: 500 rupee per person (this was an unexpected charge at the end of the trip that was not explained at the beginning – I always feel a little ripped off when that happens but begrudgingly handed over my money. After all, the safari delivered on the promise of many elephants)

If you are travelling solo or in a couple, there is a chance you can jump onto one of the jeeps that has seats left or there are always drivers and their jeeps waiting on call that you can negotiate for a good price as well. Most safari operators agree that early morning or late afternoon is best (as animals hide and sleep during the hottest parts of the day). Arrive at the safari park gate  around 6am or 4pm and then put on your barter face and be ready to roll just in case you can squeeze on. Of course, if you choose not to organise a your and leave it to fate instead, you do run the risk that there may be no jeeps free or with empty seats especially during peak tourist season.


A herd of buffalo just chilling out. They don’t seem to care or notice the crocodiles also casually basking in the sun.

Our jeep and driver arrived at 5:30 am to collect us from our hotel. We packed cameras, snacks, water, hats and sunscreen in our backpack ready for the day ahead. I also recommend taking a cardi of some sort as it was quite cool until the sun came up.

The thrill of climbing into our open air jeep and cruising through an eerily silent Udawalawe town made my stomach bubble with excitement and anticipation. After about 20 minutes of driving, we arrived at the park, entered and then moved to the office to pay our admission fee, picking up our ‘volunteer’ guide. He spoke very good English and was knowledgable about all of the animals pointing them out as the sun slowly rose over the park and the heat began. He answered all of our questions and was on the phone constantly discussing animal sightings with some of the other guides on other jeeps. I was surprised at the number of jeeps (there are many different companies in competition) that were waiting at the gate, but we didn’t follow them along Jurassic Park style. Instead, as soon as we entered the park, they all sped off in different directions and we were left ambling along alone for quite some time. We spotted deer, buffalo, peacocks, monkeys, crocodiles and a myriad of various birdlife.


Keeping my eyes peeled for exactly this!

 After an hour into our trip, I was starting to get little worried that we wouldn’t see any elephants. I furiously scoured the scrub for any glimpse of grey, wrinkled skin while I pondered how I would ask for my money back if we didn’t see at least one elephant in a park that boasts being home to over 3000 elephants. But low and behold, we made our first elephant sighting as a female crossed the road just in front of us. We stopped to watch as she disappeared into the bush which was too thick for the jeep to follow. 


A lady elephant just strolling.

Then, as we started up again along the path, our guide received a phone call from one of the other jeeps and we were speeding away towards the location discussed where they had discovered a small herd. We stumbled across two males as we made our way and our guide explained that we were lucky to see a male with tusks as only a small percentage of the males actually grow them. 


Can’t you see that I am hiding? A small male with tusks.

Our time as a lone jeep came to an abrupt end as we rounded a corner and came across the herd along with the six other jeeps all lined bumper to bumper on the road to watch the elephant family do their thing, which mostly consisted of eating, pooing, playing and rubbing their backsides against the trees.


This family consisted of two females and their babies!



 I snapped away with my camera furiously as baby drank from his mother and they all milled about hardly even noticing the jeeps, the cameras or the many eyes upon them. The rest of the morning was spent following the herd and then we drove back to our hotel to enjoy a well deserved breakfast before moving onto our next destination.


Aw man!


#rocketandramble @rocketandramble

The Sri Lanka Series: Ella (July-August 2015 )

This is the spectacular view about halfway up the hike to Mini Adam's Peak.

This is the spectacular view from the helipad which is about halfway up the hike to Mini Adam’s Peak.

After the heat of Arugam Bay, the mildly cooler Ella was a very welcome relief. Ella was definitely one of my favourite places in Sri Lanka. It is located north east of Arugam and is reachable by bus but, we chose to take a private taxi which took 4 hours and cost AU$80. The drive wound through the mountains as we slowly ascended providing little glimpses of the world below through breaks in the trees offering some breathtaking views. Our driver pulled over for lunch at one of his preferred restaurants where we shared a huge plate of devilled chicken and side dishes among a group of very merry locals. This particular meal is popular in Sri Lanka and is made with a sweet and sour sticky sauce and lots of fiery hot peppers. I think it is delicious!

The dusty roads of Ella village

The dusty roads of the Ella village

Ella is small village located up the mountains on one of the main roads. The accommodations and restaurants have a shanty-shack vibe and are stacked on top of each other up the steep mountain sides. I was surprised by the number of tourists in Ella, thinking smugly that I had stumbled upon this hidden stretch (silly me). It was busy and bustling the whole time we were there and after discovering a little more about what the area had to offer, it all made perfect sense. If you are into hiking, waterfalls, wildlife, tranquility, good food, 360 degree views or fun (who isn’t?), then Ella has something to offer you.

Taking the road less traveled but probably full of snakes.

Taking the road less travelled but likely fidled with snakes.

The tea pickers were mostly women and they carried their sacks using a contraption on their heads.

The tea pickers were mostly women and they carried their sacks using a contraption on their heads.

Ella is home to the famous ‘Adam’s Peak’ hiking trail which has magnificent scenery but takes around 6 hours to complete. If hiking is your thing, it is something you would not want to miss out on. Take note on the best season for hiking though, as we were told even if we made the hike, it was unlikely we would see much due to the low cloud cover and rain. As we were only in Ella for a couple of days, 6 hours of hiking with no guarantees felt like too much of a commitment, so my partner and I decided to do Little Adam’s Peak instead which is a lot easier on the body and accessible for most (normal, non-hiking folk) people, plus it takes way less time and effort! The entrance path to Little Adam’s Peak is well signed and there is restaurant at the start that boasts an impressive cactus garden and pet birds. The trail consists of an dusty incline, winding pathways through the tea tree plantation and smiling pickers (be careful of getting caught taking photos, they may ask for a tip), many, many narrow stairs and then finally some steep, rocky and sometimes slippery goat tracks through the scrub. Take plenty of water and maybe a snack as you will definitely need it. The sights all the way up are spectacular as you peer out across the huge gorge between the peaks.




The views are magnificent all the way up and especially from the top.

The views are magnificent all the way up and especially from the top.

We felt like the only two people in the whole world.

We felt like the only two people in the whole world. I love that nature can make you feel small and insignificant in order to humble you.

On our way back down the mountain, we continued on to a green tea factory where we did a 30 minute tour for 500 rupees. It was fairly simplistic, but also fun (we had to wear blue shoe covers and hair nets) and included a relaxing cup of green tea afterwards. We needed all the hydration we could get! After walking for so long, we were exceedingly hungry (more than usual anyway) and as we headed back towards town, we stumbled across a little eatery called Adam’s Restaurant where I had some of the best samosas I have ever eaten and a delicious Sri Lankan curry set to the background music of Bob Marley’s greatest hits. What a memory! They LOVE Bob Marley in Sri Lanka.

The windy road to the tea factory

The windy road to the tea factory

Back in the village, we stayed at the Ella Tea Garden which boasts awesome views of the surrounding mountain side and is home to a very laid back Dachshund called Renske which was just an added bonus as I am a little dog crazy, especially when it comes to Dachys and Frenchies. Renske got all the love and attention any dog would need in a year from the couple of days I stayed there. He was probably relieved when I left.

View from our Tea Garden room.

View from our Tea Garden room.

Renske getting some lovin'.

Renske getting some lovin’.

The Chill Bar is a wooden treehouse-style restaurant with fine dining downstairs and upstairs houses an open rooftop area with beanbags that is ideal for cocktails and pizzas. After eating, we could hear all this drumming and loud talking over a microphone. We followed the sounds to discover quite a sight. There was a band set up in the middle of a field with huge posters and lights everywhere (I’m still not sure if they were religious or political). At the back of the field was a long winding row of tuk tuks and in front of the sights and sounds onstage was a group of Sri Lankans all dancing, jumping up and down and having a great time. It was fun to see the drivers of the tuk tuks at the back having a great time down the front and losing themselves to the music.

Politics or religion? Either way, they Sri Lankans were loving it.

Politics or religion? Either way, they Sri Lankans were loving it.

Tangent Time: While in Ella, I developed an ear infection and had to go on the hunt for a doctor or pharmacy that would be able to help. I figured the cause was from all the swimming I had been doing at Arugam Bay and also knew it would only get more serious without treatment. I started by googling doctors and hospitals  in the area and asking the staff at my hotel but they all said the same thing: I would have to travel 2 hours to the next big city to go to the hospital or see a doctor. I was preparing to do this (mentally only) when I walked past a small sign  with a red cross on it while exploring some markets. It pointed to a narrow alleyway and up some steep stairs. As I arrived at the top, I found a large the room with literally 2 waiting chairs, a tiny reception window, a small office and a patient bed. No one was around and there were no phone numbers that I could see. My hope began to waiver as I went back a couple of times during the same day to see if anyone would show up and be able to help me. On the third time, I studied the signage a little more closely even though it was written in Sinhala, and found a couple of numbers that looked like they could be opening hours. They were from 7-9am and 4-7pm but I had only discovered the place in the middle of the day. I waited until 4 and then returned in a last ditch effort to find help as my ear throbbed relentlessly. As I took the final step to level with the reception window, a young girl popped her head up smiling. She spoke some English and waved me into the little room where a female doctor was waiting for me. She spoke English as well which made the whole process easier and she was able to give me what I needed right then and there. The service was excellent and we chatted for quite some time about her private practice and her life in Sri Lanka. She was planning to open her own guest house with her husband (also a doctor) and they were going to add their own practice to the back. She pulled out a notebook and pen and started asking me all these questions about what tourists wanted from a guesthouse and what services and prices I had been paying as I traveled around Sri Lanka. It was quite fun! I was so lucky to find her and grateful for her help and the antibiotics. The consultation was free and I only had to pay 3000 rupee for the meds she provided. The only downside was that I couldn’t put my head under the water at the waterfalls that we explored the next day.

The main pool at the bottom where most people swim and refresh after a long day of walking.

The main pool at the bottom where most people swim and refresh after a long day of walking.

Ravana Falls is situated about 15 minutes south from Ella. You can walk it and many do, but it is uphill all the way back, so we chose to get a tuk tuk which cost 1000 rupees and he waited for us at the bottom until we were done exploring. If waterfall climbing, slippery stones and mud doesn’t interest you, then there is a large pool at the bottom where most people swim and enjoy the refreshingly cool water after a long day of hiking. It gets busy quickly though, especially on weekends and there are a variety of locals who are trying to sell you produce and items the whole time you swim. Watch out for the men who try to swap you a crystal for a “coin from you homeland for my child who collects coins.” If you are feeling a little more adventurous, you can make your way up the waterfall to the more secluded pools at the top. It is not easy, but it is definitely worth it, though we found a much easier (and secret) path only after we had scrambled our way up the hot stone. If you know what you are looking for, there is a gate to the right before you reach the main pool that says ‘no entry’ (Yeah, I am that rebellious) and from there you can follow the water pipes that run up through the rain forest to about halfway up the waterfall and then you can make your own way from there.

Sneaky Sneaky

Secret Squirrel Track

Following the pipes back down proved much easier than scaling the slippery stones.

Following the pipes back down proved much easier than scaling the slippery stones.

This is me 'not getting my head wet'. Kind of.

This is me ‘not getting my head wet’. Kind of.

The view from the secluded swimming pool we found.

The view from the secluded swimming pool we found.

For such a small place, Ella has a plethora of things to do and see and I really enjoyed every aspect of it and I hope you do too.


#rocketandramble @rocketandramble