More howling from the plumbing during the night that woke me a couple of times.
We had breakfast in our hotel around 8am. No chips for the second day in a row (I was almost missing them). We ordered the scrambled eggs again and it came out as more of an omelet but was still very tasty.
After breakfast we headed straight to the bus station and were bundled into a minibus before we'd had a chance to walk the 50m up the road to the official bus station. As we got into the bus I tried to check it was the shorter route to Limbe via Midima than the longer road via Thoylo (pronounced Cholo). We ended up on a Thoylo bus, but we got the front seats and a good view of the tea plantations so it wasn't all bad.
The journey to Limbe took two and a half hours. The music was very loud.
At Limbe bus station we were fought over by the touts and ended up in a minibus leaving straight away for Zomba. The time the bus blazed Islamic rather than Christian music, the first time I'd noticed Islamic music in a week into our holiday.
Unusually for a minibus it didn't start / stop the whole time. We had to wait in a petrol station just outside of Limbe for the Presidential Motorcade to pass. We then followed the motorcade for a while, but managed to pass when they pulled into a village for some campaigning. The road was being redone and it was a bumpy journey.
The minibus nearly drove straight through Zomba and it wasn't until I questioned that they stopped the bus and let us out on the far side of town. We arrived around 2pm and we were both a bit grouchy, me from a lack of food.
As we walked back into the centre of town we stopped at the post office so that I could get some stamps for the cards that I bought in Blantyre a few days earlier. We then had a quick spin round the market before stopping in a café for lunch. I managed to spill ketchup all over the table when I squeezed the bottle only to find the cap was on properly. A little embarassing.....
We'd arranged to stay at Zomba Forest Lodge which is run by the daughter of Ed's distant relatives that we met in Blantyre. Petal picked us up outside the supermarket in town just before 4pm and we drove up Zomba Mountain to the lodge. As we headed up the mountain we drove past the Presidential Residence where the President was due to arrive later in the day.
When we arrived at the lodge we knew we'd arrived somewhere a little bit special. It was tastefully decorated inside, filled with local materials and totally off grid with candles, parafin and solar lamps. The hot water comes from a wood heater.
After the sun had gone down we spent a good view hours chatting to Petal and Tom round a roaring log fire in the lounge. It was good to speak to more residents of Malawi. They have a more modern view on the current situation in the country and how best aid dollars can be spent. It felt like chatting with old friends and dinner was easily the best food we've had in Malawi so far.
Can you believe it was a day where I didn't take any photos?