We checked into the hotel in Kandy, which was situated by the River? The view from my room was lovely, so I went out onto the balcony to look at the river and bird life. The balcony door closed and I heard a click. I realised with horror that the door was self locking and I was locked on the balcony. I reached into my pocket for my phone and it wasn’t there. I looked in the bedroom window and I saw my phone lying there on the bed next to the cup of tea, I had made for myself. I tried the door again and swore a few times when I realised it really was locked and I was stuck on the balcony. Nobody was around to help me out of this situation. It was 6pm – just the time that the mosquitos come out. I hoped somebody would miss me and come looking for me. i decided to start shouting for help and maybe someone would here. So I shouted “Help” a few times and luckily my clients in the next room heard me and called reception. I was very relieved.
Finished the day at one of Sri Lankas most beautiful temples. We should do this tomorrow but we have time today and then tomorrow we won’t have any temples so the clients can wear shorts. They had to be in temple dress code today – no shorts and no shoulders showing so we might as well get the temples out of the way.
Temple of the Tooth
On the way to Kandy we stopped at the spice garden. The spices are not only used for cooking, but also for Ayurvedic medicine. The tour of the gardens is quite enlightening and afterwards my group all sat down to see what was on sale in the shop. I went to the restroom and when a I returned more than half my group had shirts off, trousers rolled up and were being massaged by the team at this spice garden, They all seemed to enjoy it and even I had a neck and should massage. I came away from there with a rejuventated group.
Dambullah Cave Buddhas
Today we climbed the hill to see the amazing Dambullah Temple Caves. Five caves dating back almost 2,000 years, used as temples and the home of many beautiful Buddha statues.
Today is a highlight. Well for me it is but maybe not for my clients, because we have to climb 1200 steps. We are heading to Sigirya Rock. The ruins of a 2000 year old palace are on top of this huge rock, hence the climb.
I had a bet with kamal about how many of my group will make it to the top. I guessed 12 out of 24 and he guessed 10.
The climb is in 3 sections. In the coach park some young men are waiting for us. They are the “helpers” sponsored by the tourist office to help the tourists climb up and down Sigirys Rock. They will go up and down the rock with a tourist for 1000 rupees (about £6 or $10). They help by carrying bags, water and they do make adifference. I have a budget for these helpers as most of my clients are quite old and a little unsteady. I hire ten helpers. The first part of our walk is quite easy and all the group manage that. Then the steps get steeper and we have a chance to climb a spiral, iron staircase that leads to cave with 2000 year old frescoes. Some of my group miss this bit out but continue on to the place known as the Lion’s claws.
The final part is another iron staircase, clinging to a sheer rock face. 300 steps. 12 of my group make it with the aid of the “helpers”.
Today is full moon so a very auspiscious day for the Buddhists. We have a long drive to Anarhadapur, the ancient capital of the island. The main reasons for our visit are the temples and the ancient stupas. it took most of the day to drive here and we just had a couple of hours for our sightseeing. The main temple dates back to 200 BC and today is very busy due to the full moon. It was amazing to see all the locals going to the temples and enjoying this wonderful sight.
The Cinamon Lodge at Habarana will be our home for the next 3 nights – bliss 3 days in the same hotel. The clients are tired after our long journey. The hotel is lovely with bungalows dotted around the extensive grounds. Monkeys and monitor lizards roam around – in fact the monkeys sit in gangs loitering with their shoulders hunched up like hoodies. I have a local guide, Kama,l for the whole tour – I worked with him 3 years ago. He is very sweet and smiles all the time. Because today is full moon, no alcohol is available anywhere in Sri Lanka, though I have advised my group that they can get a drink from the mini bar in their rooms.
Kamal approached me in the restaurant and cheekily asked me if I wanted a drink. I wasn’t really bothered but he was very persuasive so we sneaked off and had a glass of arrack, the local drink made from coconut!!
I went to bed early as tomorrow we have a busy day!
I am very excited about returning to Sri lanka. I last visited this lovely country 3 years ago. Sri means Blessed and Lanka means paradise. Blessed Paradise. Landed at 2pm in Colombo and just had time to drive arround the city before checking into the hotel for 1 night. Early start and long day tomorrow.
Sri Lanka is an island in the Indian Ocean with the most Northern part of the island is just 20 miles South of India (the same distance between Dover and Calais).
Follow my tour around Sri Lanka.