Blogs from Central Province, Sri Lanka, Asia

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Asia » Sri Lanka » Central Province » Ella March 12th 2019

The train arrived in Ella, and we pushed our way through the disembarking passengers to the entrance of the station. The platform was very busy, all tourists, and it certainly gave us an idea of what Ella would be like. I’m sure the train would have been nearly empty when it left the station to continue it’s journey. With no sign of Saman and the car we walked into town, passing only tourist cafes and guest houses. Ella is surrounded by tea plantations and now is a town that has been taken over by tourism. Tourists come here to walk amidst the tea plantations, hike the surrounding hills and admire the pretty scenery. Saman rang to say he would see us shortly and we waited outside a cafe in the Main Street, which was also the ... read more
The top of Little Adam's Peak
Hilly countryside near Ella
Nine Arch bridge

Asia » Sri Lanka » Central Province » Nuwara Eliya March 10th 2019

We left Kandy on Sunday morning and the traffic wasn’t too bad thankfully. We were driving to Nuwara Eliya (set at an altitude of 1900 meters) which is in the centre of Sri Lank’s renowned tea plantations. Once referred to as ‘Little England’ it was the favoured cool weather destination of the early British settlers. The road twisted and turned through very pretty countryside and we were soon surrounded by vibrant green tea plantations rising above us. Through the plantations were narrow stone steps used by the tea pickers. Lots of stops to admire the view and a great tour of the Blue Leaf Tea Factory. We’ve visited tea plantations in other parts of the world but the young man we had as guide on this tour was great - very enthusiastic and informative. Unfortunately there ... read more
Cooking hopper in the women’s kitchen
Egg hoppers
Eggs, cinnamon and coconut for sale at local market in Nuwara Eliya

Asia » Sri Lanka » Central Province » Kandy March 8th 2019

We had a very stressful journey to Kandy from Sigiriya - the road was very busy and we came close to having a couple of accidents. In Dambulla there is a very large wholesale produce market and the road to Kandy was clogged with trucks overloaded with sacks of vegetables, plus the usual tuk tuks heedlessly weaving around the traffic and the buses which had absolutely no regard for fellow road users. We were very thankful when Saman stopped at a big Hindu temple in Matale, halfway to Kandy. We needed a coffee desperately.... The Sri Muthumariamman Thevasthanam (try pronouncing that.. ) was a very colourful Hindu temple. The large interior had a central altar and the area surrounding the altar was full of ceremonial objects and small chariots used in an annual festival. As with ... read more
Ceiling art, Arulmihu Sri Muthumariamman Thevasthanram (Hindu temple, Matale)
The colourful exterior of Arulmihu Sri Muthumariamman Thevasthanan
Drummers at the cultural show

Asia » Sri Lanka » Central Province » Sigiriya March 5th 2019

Our short visit to Jaffna over, we headed back down south. Saman relaxed immediately, but continued to stay well under the speed limit. We stopped for a buffet lunch at a resort hotel. It was relatively cheap, with a great range of food, and a pleasant break beside the resort pool. We were to spend the next three nights in the area around Sigiriya, one of the prime tourism destinations in Sri Lanka. After lunch we stopped in Habarana and booked a safari into one of the parks, hoping to see some elephants in the wild. We enjoyed the safari but wouldn’t do it again as there were too many jeeps. We did see elephants, four or five groups of them, including cute baby elephants. The jeeps must stress the animals and one elephant did charge ... read more
Jerry and I on the top of Pidurangula
Unplastered reclining Buddha on Pidurangula
Buddha feet, Pidurangula (Little Lion Rock)

Asia » Sri Lanka » Central Province » Hatton March 2nd 2019

Today was a huge 14 hr day, somewhat unplanned. We started in high spirits in anticipation of the iconic slow train journey to Hatton in the highlands. Rising early we departed Kandy railway station not in a wooden carriage but in a rocking & rolling old diesel. Initial views were typical city businesses leading to smaller villages between dense vegetation & introduced pine & gum trees. Halfway through the trip, at a small village, the train made an emergency stop & we were soon to learn that 2 of 4 teenagers had been on the line & were caught unawares & were tragically struck & killed. We were preparing to abandon our plans for the day expecting a lengthy investigation but after 45 minutes the train started again but with passengers in a more sombre mood. ... read more
Entrance
Rest Stop

Asia » Sri Lanka » Central Province » Kandy March 1st 2019

Today was a welcome cycle free day starting with a guided tour of a tea factory at Giragama just outside Kandy finishing with a nice cuppa to sample. We then returned to Kandy by tuk tuk to wander in and around the city which is very clean by Asian standards. Kandy’s roads are very narrow & twisting roads & surrounded by hills so traffic is constantly busy & chaotic. Before dinner we attended a traditional Kandyan cultural performance of song, dance, drumming finishing with a fire walking performance. Dinner was at a private residence where the host demonstrated the versatility of both rice & coconut in Sri Lankan cooking.... read more
Tea varieties
Kandy street vendor
Kandy man made lake

Asia » Sri Lanka » Central Province » Sigiriya February 28th 2019

Today was another long & hugely memorable day starting with a 6 am 15 km cycle to Sigiriya, an ancient rock fortress with a royal palace perched atop. The early start was essential to beat the normal rush of tourists & pilgrims on a virtual single lane staircase. Arriving at the site is a stunning visual of a massive granite outcrop that emerges from lush greenery at lower levels to a citadel that dominates the whole surrounding skyline. The once impregnable fortress firstly passes a series water gardens before 1200 stairs needed to reach the top. Half way we passed some incredibly beautiful rock wall frescoes that somehow have survived centuries of neglect while undiscovered. The entrance to the almost vertical final 200 mtr hike to the top was once guarded by an enormous rock carved ... read more
The only entrance
Climb towards the frescoes
Spiral staircases up & down

Asia » Sri Lanka » Central Province » Dambulla February 27th 2019

Today we were privileged to experience a very special place, the ruin of the ancient city of Polonnaruwa being the second oldest of Sri Lanka’s kingdoms. Wandering through the main ruins it had an almost living feel & it was easy to visualize how huge & spectacular the kingdom must have been at its zenith. The key ruins included the Quadrangle, Royal Palace, Council Chambers, Vihara temple, Parakrama statue and the Siva temple. The city had all the facilities of a modern city, waste recycling, hospital etc. water was essential & the king had the foresight to build a huge dam that runs for 16 kms in length. Even by current standards it’s an engineering marvel as the surrounding land is a flat valley requiring high walls to hold back the water yet it is still ... read more
Circular Tooth Relic House
Relic House
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Asia » Sri Lanka » Central Province » Ella December 22nd 2018

Nachdem ich eine Woche lang mit meinem Freund Eddy den Norden Sri Lankas erkundet hatte bin ich wieder zurück nach Sigiriya, zum Fresco Lion Villa Hostel von Roy gefahren um dort ein paar Tage zu chillen und um nette Leute kennenzulernen die auch Richtung Süden wollten (von meinem letzten Aufenthalt wusste ich bereits dass viele Leute von dort aus in den Süden fahren). Roy war ziemlich überrascht und auch froh mich wiederzusehen und ich war froh wieder dort zu sein. :-) Und tatsächlich habe ich sofort an meinem ersten Abend zurück dort tolle Leute kennengelernt! :-D Ich habe Daniella aus Italien und ihren Freund Josh aus Neuseeland kennengelernt, Arielle aus Frankreich und ihre Freundin Hannah aus England. Diesen ersten Abend war ich sehr müde denn Eddy und hatten den ganzen Morgen lang mit dem Fahrrad die ... read more
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Asia » Sri Lanka » Central Province » Ella December 22nd 2018

After exploring the North of Sri Lanka for a week with my friend Eddy, I went back to Roy's, the Fresco Lion Villa Hostel in Sigiriya. I just wanted to chill for a couple of days and wait until I'd meet some nice people who were also going South (from my last time here I knew that there were always nice people and that many of them went South after visiting Sigiriya ; almost nobody wanted to go North). Roy was surprised - and happy - to see me again and so was I ; it was good to be back there! :-) And indeed, right the first night back, I met incredible people! :-D I met Daniella from Italy and her boyfriend Josh from Scotland, Arielle from France and Hannah from the UK. The first ... read more
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