Sri Lanka and lots of photos

The last weeks have been crazy – I feel like I have not been at home for weeks.

I have done so much teaching but in amongst have at least managed to do a bit of my own work and have been able to answer lots of emails whilst away.

I haven’t posted any good pictures of my trip to Sri Lanka and it does seem like weeks ago, so I thought I would give a brief account of our trip.

 

My daughter and I wanted to have a week’s holiday in May; we had thought maybe we should go walking in Majorca or somewhere like that. I priced up flights etc and then we found some very reasonable flights to Sri Lanka – that would mean we could meet up with my son who would be in Sri Lanka at the end of May.

I love to have the opportunity to travel with them. I feel 25 again, and wish that I had to opportunity to have a gap year all over again

 

We had all been too busy to do any research, so when we arrived we really had no idea where we should go. My daughter arrived first, then my son, and then me.

After exploring Colombo and a visit to Barefoot – a very colourful shop selling items made by local women using hand woven fabrics, we set off on a 4 hour bus ride to the Cultural centre area of Sri Lanka.

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We visited the caves at Dambulla, climbed the hill to see the many Buddha’s and all the painted ceilings. So many patchwork patterns

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We then went on to climb the rock outcrop at Sigiriya to see the cave paintings, the mirror wall with grafitti from the 6th century, and the remains of the village (around AD500) – all spectacular. The climb up was hot and windy.

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We had read about a hotel that had been designed by one of Sri Lanka’s famous architect, unfortunately by the time we got there it was dark so we did not see it at its best.

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We made an early start the next day on the bus to Kandy. I went to visit the temple of the scared tooth – amazing to see so many people queuing up to see a tooth from the sacred Buddha.

The temple was worth going to and it was good to see a bit of Kandy and see so many tuk tuks

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We wanted to get to the village in the mountains to climb Adams peak so caught a train to Hatton. It was a spectacular train journey and I spent the afternoon taking photos from the train window.

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Once in Hatton we had a delicious lunch of rice and curry in a restaurant that cost us £1 each.

 

Unable to find a bus to get us to Dalhousie we realized that it stopped running at the beginning of the month so ended up getting a tuk tuk, this was great as the views were amazing and we were able to stop to see the women arriving with their tea. Each woman has to pick 20kg of tealeaves to be able to make a living.

I am not sure what the grey aprons are for – probably just to keep the skirts clean.

 

We arrived at the Green hotel at the foot of the intended walk. £7.50 for the 3 of us to stay. It started to rain …heavy rain and showed no sign of stopping. Our plan was to climb Adams peak and set off at 2.30 am. With good wifi that night we watched every u tube about how dangerous it was to climb –many leeches and that it was very difficult in the dark. We didn’t have a torch other than our phones.

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It continued to rain. We didn’t even have any good waterproofs with us.

At 2.30am we got up, the rain had stopped.

A Norwegian guy staying at the same place as us had a good torch so we walked with him.

We climbed the 5200 steps and arrived on the top at 5.00 am – an hour ahead of schedule.

It wad cold on the top but we waited until 6.00 and we were rewarded with a fabulous sunrise.

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We descended, all 5200 steps, went back to the gust house, had some breakfast and then got a bus in to the town to catch the train

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I just wondered how my legs would be the next day.

I was pleased when the young Norwegian guy said “You are pretty fit for someone your age” I guess this was a compliment

 

The train ride is one of the most spectacular train journeys in the World; we broke the journey and got off the train to visit the Lipton tea factory. The mist came down but it was a good tour and we were amazed that most of the tea gets processed (I assume put into tea bags) in Manchester

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We arrived at Ella in the dark, found somewhere to stay and then went for some food – curry with chicken and banana and rice all wrapped up in a banana leaf – delicious!

We didn’t have enough time to climb Ella rock so opted for Little Adams peak as, by setting off early we thought we might be able to see the women going to start tea picking.

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We wanted to head to the coast – perfectly possible by bus but we opted for a taxi which was much quicker. We arrived in Arguram Bay and found a place to stay- a cabana on the beach. I could lie in bed hear the sea and see it from 3 sides of our little hut. It was quite breezy so cool.

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The beach was beautiful and the small resort lovely.

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We took a tuk tuk to the next town and went out in the swamps in the lagoon to see the crocodiles and other wildlife. We didn’t see and crocodiles but it was very pleasant being paddled around the lagoon.

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I had a surf lesson – it made me realize just how hard it is to stand on a board but it was fun!

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We went on safari and were rewarded with the sight of a leopard, several crocodiles, a few elephants and many other animals. I loved the turquoise birds with the splash of gold.

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Every morning I would walk to watch the fishermen arrive with their fish. It was good to see the boats and see them using the new ones that have been donated by various groups following the tsunami.

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We caught the overnight bus to Colombo, arriving at 4.15am. We sat in a cafe until dawn, and then went to a posh hotel for breakfast.

I love markets early in the morning.

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I then caught a train to Galle. The train runs along the coast – beautiful coastline and I enjoyed seeing all the washing hanging out in the gardens along the way.

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In Galle I made another visit to Barefoot, bought a few things, and had a lovely afternoon wandering around the small Fort town, looking in the small antique shops and craft shops, eating ice cream and having mango with chili.

I got a tuk tuk to Uttawatuna to see more of the coast, I thought it might be quite touristy but it wasn’t and the sun was at its best and I wandered along he beach just enjoying the spectacular light at that time of the evening.

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My last day I set off on the local bus early, had breakfast on the beach at Merissa then caught buses to various places along the coast, just looking at the beaches, visiting the folk museum (no photos allowed) and trying to get a photo of the fishermen on sticks.

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The beaches were beautiful and it didn’t rain at all.

I took the train back to Colombo and a bus to the airport.

Sri Lanka was just beautiful – a cleaner greener India, easier to travel around and I just would love to go back again sometime.

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5 thoughts on “Sri Lanka and lots of photos

  1. Thank you Gillian for taking the time to share all that. Your photos are wonderful and really captured the spirit of the country. You could get a job working for the Sri Lankan Tourist Board! My daughter got married there 15 years ago, so we did see some of the country, but you seem to pack so many adventures into such a short time.

  2. Love the photos and again I am amazed at all the trips and sights that you manage to pack into a relatively short period of time! I am inspired and wonder if I have the courage to ‘take off’ myself.

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