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February 27th 2020
Published: February 27th 2020
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Tuesday, 25 February, 2020 cont'd

After a quiet afternoon we went for a walk at 6.30 pm to get something to eat and drink.

Pat hadn't had an alcoholic drink for days. We had spotted a hotel on our travels, that included a sign - “Stags head pub”, so we thought to try for a sundowner this evening. It was actually already dark, but you get the point.

The hotel Casamara was near to the lake, we went in and asked about drinks and were taken to a table poolside. A lion beer and a coke. Pat was happy.

Not sure about the pub, but Pat got a drink, so who cares.

Our next stop was a Pizza Hut, spotted above other shops, vary near to the lake. From a distance it looked busy. We found our way up and in.

Pat wasn't too hungry so we ordered a medium pizza and shared, along with a coke zero and a sprite. Their medium is smaller than Domino's and more expensive.

Food was ok, the place was in need of a refurbishment, pretty knocked about. Then walked back to the hotel. In the room for 8.30 pm. Lights out 9.55 pm.

Wednesday 26 February, 2020

Visit to Dambulla and Sirigiya today.

Alarm set for 6.15 am. Then up and showered. We had readied most of our stuff last night, so down for breakfast just before 7.00 am, with all the usual plus a yoghurt.

Back to the room and then down to wait in reception for 7.30 am pick up. We had told the man on duty we were expecting a car, so he started checking up on it for us. The driver was stuck in traffic but on his way. He wasn't long and we were off. Traffic was busy leaving Kandy.

It seems the driver would like us to stop at every tinpot thing he can think of. We declined, he did stop at a Spice place, because he needed breakfast! We were given a free tour and turned down everything that was offered and managed to not spend money, on things we didn't want.

Sadly, experiences over the years as tourists have perhaps made us overly cynical on these visits to tourist traps, where often they seem to just want your money.

Back on our way now to Dambulla, to see the Rock temples. Paid our entrance fee LKR 3000 (GBP 12.82) for two. It is quite a climb and we took our time. At the top we were made hatless and barefoot. The caves contain wall paintings and statues of Buddha, everywhere.

Then down and off to find our driver. As we left the area we declined the village safari, which showed local village life and declined the fishing trip.

Onwards to Sirigiya to see the Lion Rock fortress. This is perched on top of a rock, with a monumental climb, so we didn't bother with this. Our driver took us along the road and we took pictures from afar.

We now declined going near the chained elephant and taking a ride. Then we turned down looking at the Batik printing places and he took us to a restaurant for lunch. Sri Lankan food in a Buffett. The Hungry Lion restaurant.

After lunch then headed back to the hotel arriving 3.00 pm. The fee for the car and the driver was LKR 8500 (GBP 36.32) for the day.

The car had multiple cracks in the windscreen. At times his driving was not the best, he was probably trying to give us a good tourist experience, but the side trips and other day trips he wanted to take us on became very tedious. Also, his English was not easily understood, so sadly we didn't really take to the guy.

We had a quiet afternoon and later didn't fancy an expedition out for our dinner, so I popped out and got us a simply cheese pizza and a chocolate lava cake for dessert from Domino's which we ate in the room.

Lights out 10.00 pm.

Thursday 27 February, 2020.

Plan is to try and visit a tea plantation.

A reasonable night's sleep. Awake at 7.00 am, down to breakfast 7.50 am. All the usual. Arranged for our tuktuk transport to pick us up at 11.00 am. Back to the room to shower and get ready.

Went down to reception just before 11.00 am and our tuktuk arrived on time. He did try to interest us in various things, as we drove along, but we stuck to our request to visit the Geragama Tea factory. I had imagined going deep into the countryside with fields of tea bushes, stretching off into the distance. But the factory is not far from the town.

Our driver led the way and arranged for someone to tell us about the tea growing and picking. She led us a short way up a track with tea bushes left and right and gave her speech.

Then back into the factory itself and she explained the whole process as we moved around the building. It was very informative and all this at no cost.

What I now know, for example is that companies like Lipton's, simply buy the tea at auction and do not actually grow any themselves.

At the end you get a cup of tea and a piece of cake. You can purchase their tea here, but there was no hard sell. Pat did actually buy some Orange Pekoe, to try once she got home.

Then back into the school finishing time traffic and a slow journey back.

It was a very pleasant morning for us, which we both enjoyed.

We arrived back at the hotel at 1.10 pm and paid our agreed fee of LKR 1500 (GBP 6.41).

Just down the road was a restaurant called Global Kitchen where we had some lunch.

Pat had wok style noodles with chicken (no spice) and I had wok style rice wth chicken (spicy) and drinks. All good.

Then picked up some shopping next door to the hotel and back to the room for 2.35 pm.

Our transfer was not yet in place for tomorrow, so we went to talk to the man on reception. After some discussions and research, we chose to go to Polinawara on the way to Nilaveli our next destination, near Trincomalee.



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