Jenni took us to Heathrow where we boarded the plane to Colombo, a ten and a half hour flight with strong following winds. We arrived at about mid-day local time, where we were met by the Rep who was surprised to see us arrive early. The Sri Lankan airways flight code (UL) means Usually Late!
The bus journey took nearly 4 hours, a bit of a long way after a long flight, but an interesting journey, seeing many villages on the way.
The journey was well worth it when we arrived at Amaya Lake Hotel in Dambulla.
Our room at Amaya Lake Hotel, Dambulla
Sunrise at Amaya Lake, showing the head of the "Sleeping Warrior"
The next morning we woke to birdsong and that lovely smell found only in the tropics.
After breakfast we set off on the bus to Sigiriya Rock, an amazing piece of geography, with 1200 steps to the top!
Di at Sigiriya Rock. Cave paintings painted over 2000 years ago.
View from half way up the rock.
Di taking in the views from the top.
After a good night's sleep, we were up for early start to the Dumbulla Cave Temples.
Here there was a steady climb to the top, with plenty of monkeys to keep us amused along the way, where we found three magnificent temples with statues and cave paintings.
Staues of The Buddha in the Dambulla Cave Temples
From the Cave Temples we drove towards Kandy, stopping at a Spice garden en-route. Here we saw spices growing and was treated to a massage!
From here we made our way to Kandy and our next hotel, The Amaya Hills, set ine hills overlooking Kandy. We arrived in time for a dip in the pool where we watched monkeys entering a room via the balcony and emerging with a pack of Polos stolen from the mini bar!!
Our room and the Pool
View from our room
Today we visited the beautiful Botanical Gardens in Kandy, many trees planted by famous people including royalty and US Presidents.
One of the residents in the botanical gardens, a Rat Snake showing interest in a bird's nest.
There were other residents too.... many Giant Fruit Bats!
Our guide, and friend, Gamini.
From the Botanical Gardens, we moved on to a Tea Plantation and Factory, a site not famed for its Health & Safety! How refreshing!
Some examples of transport in Sri Lanka
In Kandy, we visit the Temple of the Sacred Tooth
Sunset at Kandy
We left Kandy and headed to the Peacock Hotel in Yala, but not before stopping off at the Elephant Orphanage at Pinnawala, where we saw a lot of elephants in all shapes and sizes!
Highlight of the visit was early on, a Leopard with her cub
A fantastic day spent in Yala, the highlight being the Leopards, but we also saw Mongoose, Elephants, Buffalo, Monitors, and many different birds with the Beeeater probably the prettiest, but eagles were impressive.
Later that day I walked along the beach and met a fisherman who had sadly lost his wife and two sons to the Tsunami. We spoke about cricket and he offered me a trip on his boat the next day, sadly I had to decline as we were to leave early in the morning.
Next day we left for Mount Lavinia. On the way we saw the famous Stilt Fishermen:
Just along the road from seeing the Stilt Fishermen, we called in on a Turtle Hatchery, here volunteers monitor the beach for turtles laying eggs. When spotted the eggs are carefully moved to a secure part of the beach where they are re-buried. Once hatched, the young turtles are kept safely for about a week, when they will grow and lose the "tasty" umbilical cord before they are released in to the ocean. Whilst there we saw some newly hatched turtles, as well as some adults that had been injured by propellers, and were being cared for before release to the ocean.
We ended our tour at Mount Lavinia Hotel, the former Governor's residence, a wonderful traditional building.
That following morning there was a wedding party in the hotel.
Earlier in the day we visited Galle where we saw the Test Ground, and stumbled upon a friendly Rat Snake
We had elected to spend an extra few days at a beach resort, Kalutara.
Here we relaxed at a lovely hotel, The Sands, right on the beach.
A fantasic holiday!