HouseAtDusk

houseatdusk

HouseAtDusk

For the first time in my life I have the means and desire to get out there. When I'm not travelling, I'm planning the next one. I am discovering that I like going off on my own and finding things out for myself. My profile photo sums me up.

Favourite places so far - Morocco, Turkey and Mexico. This year I'm going to Portugal, Jordan and I've just started planning a trip to Argentina later in the year. Any advice welcome!



Asia » Sri Lanka » Southern Province » Galle December 14th 2013

Last full day and another opportunity to take an amazing train. The famous line from Galle to Colombo takes you along the coast - pretty much on the beach along some of it. This train was a lot more crowded than the one up in the hills so I planted myself by an open door on the coast side. One of the happiest travel moments of my life! Again I was too nervous to do the hanging out of the door thing, but I got a great view of this stunning coast line and chatted to the locals. This area was devastated by the 2004 tsunami. I heard one story that on the morning it happened the tide was unusually low. This led lots of people - families, children, everybody to go out on the beach ... read more

Asia » Sri Lanka » Southern Province » Galle December 13th 2013

Went to Galle today - a place I couldn't wait to go to. I was not disappointed, it is so beautiful. Galle Fort is a grid of streets consisting of beautiful old buildings. The Dutch, the Portuguese and the British were all here and the influence is very apparent. The huge walls around the town protected it when the tsunami hit. Lots of Art Deco buildings - most of which have faded and are almost derelict. I like it the way it is, but I doubt it will stay this way. I spent a happy afternoon here taking photos of the buildings and chatting to the people. One old lady insisted I took her photo and send it to her, then scuttled off without giving me her details. Another old guy seemed to be the local ... read more
Galle
Galle
Galle

Asia » Sri Lanka » Southern Province » Weligama December 12th 2013

A couple of days of lazing on Mirissa beach and it's the first time I've experienced proper heat since I've been here. It's very nice but it could be anywhere. I should have just chilled for my time here and read my book, but instead I made the huge mistake of going on a whale spotting tour you see advertised all over. Six hours on a little boat chasing after a whale, left and right, round and round, up and down - I was so sick! Eventually they gave me a mattress to lie down on and I slept through most of it. They did wake me up when the blue whale was spotted and I managed to force myself to the side of the boat to see its nose and a great spurt of water ... read more
Mirissa
Weligama Beach
Weligama Beach

Asia » Sri Lanka » Uva Province » Bandarawela December 10th 2013

Joined a group and trekked over the hills and tea plantations around this area. Interesting but also slightly unsettling experience because of my inexperience in dealing with the visible poverty. Took another train from Bandarawela to Idalgashinna and started the trek from there. The coutryside is really very beautiful - Sri Lanka is so lush. As we got higher you could see a mist creeping in and by the time we were walking through the plantations proper it was low visibility. You didn't know what you were going to run into next. The tea bushes are planted in neat rows on such steep slopes, you wonder how on earth the women have the nerve to pick them so high up. And it is the women who do all the picking - apparently they focus more on ... read more
Horton Plains
Tea Plantation
Tea Plantation

Asia » Sri Lanka » Central Province » Kandy December 8th 2013

I love trains. To me it's the best way to travel. No traffic, beautiful views, colourful people. So civilised! I have yet to go to India and experience the trains there - I have been warned I might not hold such a romantic view afterwards but today's journey from Kandy to Bandarawela was one of the best I have been on so far. It takes six hours of climbing and circumnavigating the highland region until you come out above the valleys and can see miles of tea plantations, mountains and sweet little villages. The train itself was reasonably comfortable and the carriage next to me was full of one big happy family laughing and singing the whole way. We seem to have lost our ability to stay close to our families in the west, and I ... read more
Kandy
Kandy
Kandy

Asia » Sri Lanka » Central Province » Kandy December 7th 2013

Kandy overwhelms me. I am not much of a city person anyway but I hadn't expected it to be quite so full on. I am sure there are loads of great places to see here, but I took refuge by the lake which is beautiful with a low white wall all the way around, a lovely old bath house to one side and a little island in the middle. At one 'corner' of the lake was a little jetty where I saw a monitor lizard lazing about in the sun (it isn't raining in Kandy!). I spent the rest of the afternoon slowly walking up the hill to the place where I am staying and there was plenty to see including a giant snake that appeared from nowhere and disappeared in to someone's garden. I have ... read more
Kandy
Kandy
Kandy

Asia » Sri Lanka » Central Province » Sigiriya December 6th 2013

Today a trip to the most iconic place in Sri Lanka, and the image that made me want to go there the most, Sigiriya Rock. It's odd appearance is down to it being a volcanic plug of hardened lava, the rest of the volcano having long ago eroded away. That's how old it is! What it actually represents seems to be slightly disputed. I had a young guide who told me it always was a royal palace, but apparently there are new archaeological discoveries which suggest it was a monastery, and some of the palatial features were added much later. Who knows? Who cares - it's beautiful anyway. I also like that there is still so much to be discovered here by future generations, and there are places in the world where we don't have all ... read more
Sigiriya
Sigiriya
Sigiriya

Asia » Sri Lanka » Central Province » Dambulla December 5th 2013

Another bus journey today to Dambulla so stocked up at one of the local bakeries for breakfast/brunch/lunch. One of the best discoveries I've made so far in Sri Lanka is how good the bakeries are. You can live quite cheaply and quite happily on roti and samosas and the little pies. I have gone completely vegetarian - the meat and fish I've tried so far haven't really impressed me and the vegetables are so good. Every breakfast I've had dahl - I can't get too much of that! And I love the coconut sambal you add on top of your food - like a chilli garnish. It's all good. To drink the best thing are the king coconuts or thambili which are sold everywhere - they hack off the top, stick in a straw and charge ... read more
Dambulla Market
Dambulla Market
Dambulla Market

Asia » Sri Lanka » North Central Province » Polonnaruwa December 4th 2013

Took the bus to Polonnaruwa - another of the ancient cities. I was a bit daunted but it actually was great fun. Everyone uses the local buses here - families, school kids, little old ladies, labourers, businessmen and even monks. You just jump on - sometimes as the bus has started moving! There is incense burning constantly which I love, colourful garlands everywhere and they showed a Sri Lankan movie which seemed to be a dramatisation about the arrival of Buddhism here, and felt very like a Sinhalese 'Game of Thrones'. An old lady sat next to me and suddenly picked up my wrist and tied a Buddhist thread around it. I am blessed! The journey was a bum-numbing three and a half hours but I totally enjoyed it. Arriving in a wet Polonnaruwa early afternoon ... read more
Polonnaruwa
Polonnaruwa
Polonnaruwa

Asia » Sri Lanka » North Central Province » Anuradhapura December 3rd 2013

The best way to get around the huge ancient capital city that is Anuradhapura is to rent a bike. The bike has no gears and no cushioning but it's great fun. I was a bit nervous about cycling through the traffic of the town, but in spite of the appearance of chaos, it all seems to work. Like yesterday it's raining pretty much the whole time. Unlike yesterday there are lots of people here - it seems to be a day out for many Sri Lankans, plus a place of pilgrimage for all buddhists. There is so much to see here - giant stupas said to contain holy relics including one huge sky blue one, the beautiful 'moonstone' slabs at the foot of temple steps, and the sacred Bo tree that apparently dates back over 2000 ... read more
Anuradhapura
Anuradhapura
Anuradhapura




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