all together, with feeling now, photografii, travel

Lanka lovin’, chapter 1.

Hello!

Two days after Sri Lanka, it was off to Phuket for a family holiday (M’s side). We stayed in the loveliest 4-bedroom villa, and aside from the blazing-hot weather, it was a pretty good time. And now I’m a little sad all that traveling is over. Oh well :-)

I promised more photos of Sri Lanka – these are a mixture of shots from me and Jem.

We touched down in Colombo airport at the godforsaken time of 2am…

Bleary eyed, we met our driver and had one of the most hair-raising drives of our lives across country to get to Dambulla, our first stop. 4.5 hours of white-knuckled, silent prayer, as the driver darted impatiently into the opposite lane, dodging giant trucks, vans, and motorcyclists in pitch dark. (No photos of this – too scared!) Quote of the day : “Today might be the day…”

But finally, we got to the Heritance Kandalama in one piece, and were treated with this pre-dawn view.

The view from our room was gorgeous. Our balcony became a regular monkey hang-out, by the way.

Although we were ready to crash, we decided the wise thing would be to fill our stomachs first. So off to breakfast we went. The view as we headed to the restaurant was stunning –

Almost pre-historic, don’t you think?

It always amazes me how majestic and beautiful and scary elephants are in person. This poor one was chained up.

Unsated by breakfast, we had a huge lunch. Again at the restaurant.

We headed out in the afternoon to the Dambulla cave temples. What we didn’t know was the cave temples are located at the top of a really steep climb… and we had a huge lunch just before. Needless to say, we struggled.

But finally, we reached the top and were rewarded with the gorgeous view.

The cave temples were really old, and yet the paintings and statues were kept fairly intact – testament to the skill of the craftsmen at the time, I think. It was all very sacred and a lovely experience for a Buddhist like me.

The next day, we woke up bright and early to head out to Sigiriya, an hour’s drive away. Sigiriya is a huge sprawling fortress built by a cowardly king who killed his father in lust for the throne. He built this fortress around one of the tallest rocks around Sri Lanka and hardly ever left as he was in fear of the skeletons in his closet, I suppose.

To climb to the top was a huge struggle for me – first, the fear of heights. Then there were the uneven stone steps and rickety metal steps through which you could see the drop below. Yikes!

Plus the huge winds really threatened to knock me off balance a few times.

By the way, the side of the rock harboured wasp and hornet nests… apparently someone got stung just last week!

But thanks to the boys’ encouragement and assistance, I made it to the top :-)

(Excuse the nutty hair – that was how strong the winds were)

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