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Published: February 29th 2020
Thursday 27 February, 2020 cont'd
During the afternoon we started our packing and sorting things out for our departure tomorrow.
We had a quiet evening and lights out was 9.20 pm.
Friday 28 February, 2020
Today is our transfer from Kandy to Nilaveli near Trincomalee via Polonnaruwa.
Woke at 6.20 am after a good nights sleep. Down for breakfast at 8.00 am. Nice hotel guy said the taxi driver would like an earlier start than 10.00 am as he felt there was a lot to do in the day. We comprimised on 9.15 am.
Back to the room, showered and speeded up our final packing. I went down and paid our hotel bill. He had given us a slightly cheaper rate for the further two nights.
The staff collected our luggage from the room and the taxi driver was parked nearby, so he then came to the hotel. Loaded up, we thanked the hotel staff again and we were off.
The traffic was lighter getting out of the city this time. The taxi driver had limited English, but seemed alright and the car was a much newer saloon car.
The driving distances are not enormous, but the overall speed achieved is low. The roads are mainly single carriageway, full of motorbikes, tuktuk's, numerous buses all dodging over the road, then with trucks and cars on top of that. Sometimes traffic manages to be three abreast in a single lane.
We stopped for petrol and Pat saw the price at LKR 167 (GBP 0.73) per litre.
Our first proper stop was at a place called Fresheez. It was part of an agricultural centre. It sold only juice drinks, so I had a pineapple juice. We used the facilities and moved on.
We arrived at the world heritage site at 12.00 pm. Entry fee was USD 25 each, for three locations. The site is the ancient Royal Kingdom of Polonnaruwa. It has many remains of temples and palaces.
There are options to get around the overall site, including bicycle and tuktuk, as it is a very large place. We chose to stay with the car.
The museum was the starting point, it was interesting, but unimpressive and in poor condition.
He then took us a to the first of the temples. There are remnants of buildings and temples all over the place, with monks and people undertaking devotions at the sacred sites. The site of the former residence of the sacred tooth is here dated 11th & 12th century.
We moved from place to place and gradually became templed out and weary.
The final place was a rock cut temple of Buddha.
Our driver asked if we wanted lunch which we thought was a good idea. We went to a place called Ariya, arriving at 3.00 pm and had a Sri Lankan Buffett lunch again.
Loads of choices of dishes, Pat kept to the steamed rice. I tried all sorts of things as usual.
During our drives, we came across several security check points. Most we were waved through. At an Army check point, we were stopped and had a conversation. He asked the usual “which country you from?” was pleasant with me and talked to the driver, about us I guess. Shook my hand and off we drove.
Back on the road and we eventually arrived at the hotel at 6.00 pm. This after we guided him to the hotel with our phones. The usual welcome drink and then we were shown to our room.
The sun was due to set soon, so we went straight downstairs to have a look and shared a sandwich, with a beer and a Pepsi. Finally settled in the room at 8.00 pm.
Lights out 9.20 pm. A very full day.
Saturday 29 February, 2020.
A quiet day planned. Other than the sound of the sea and occasional chitchit
(nighttime lizard) noises all was very peaceful during the night and a good night's sleep.
Woke at 6.30 am and went down to breakfast at 8.00 am.
Sliced fruits, omelettes, fruit juice, bacon, chicken sausages, French toast, pancakes and toast, with tea and coffee. It took a while, but we weren't in a hurry today.
After breakfast we took a tour of the immediate vicinity. Our location is at the end of a long dirt road, leading to the hotel, which is on the beach.
We went back to the room and changed into beach stuff. I am currently sitting on a sun lounger under palm trees, on a yellow sandy beach, metres from the blue sea under a cloudless blue sky, typing the blog.
Pat went into the sea, but didn't like the waves, so went into the pool.
We sat until 1.00 pm, then headed out into the world. The track down to the hotel is long and dusty, so we cheated and got a tuktuk for LKR 100 (GBP 0.43) to the top and had a look in the supermarket. Then crossed the road for a bus. As usual not long and one came along. Bus fare to Trincomalee (known as Trinco locally) LKR 100 (GBP 0.43). Dropped us at the bus terminal.
We had a wander round the streets and didn't see much that interested us. They are mainly small local shops selling all manner of things. We went back to the bus station and found the right bus straight away. It went through the town and stopped everywhere, so got quite full. We eventually got off near to our road and cheated and got a tuktuk down the track again.
Back in the room for 4.00 pm.
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