A Travellerspoint blog

March 2018

Negombo - Pinawalla - Sigiriya - Saturday, 27 January 2018

Journey to the Cultural Triangle.

overcast 30 °C

Hotel - Vil Uyana, Sigiriya - Room No 115

We left Colombo this morning and everyone is excited at what lies ahead. We had about a two and a half hour, stop/start, bumpy ride and I soon realised that I should have taken a motion sickness tablet because this was no smooth modern highway. I put my wrist bands on, blew up my neck pillow to stabilise my head, took a tablet and then sat back and enjoyed the ride and passing scenery. A couple of others on the bus were feeling a bit "iffy" too because of the stop/start lurching through the traffic.

Anyway, we finally arrived at the elephant orphanage at Pinnawala. We hopped off the bus on a busy street and walked down a lane to the entrance of the hotel, up a flight of stairs and then we were met with the most amazing sight. Elephants everywhere having a bath. It was a wonderful sight. We all stood there for ages and ages just watching the antics of these huge but graceful animals.

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We then had a buffet lunch at the hotel which was nice but I didn't eat much as I was still feeling a bit queasy from the jerky bus ride. At the same time as we were at the hotel, there was a Sri Lankan wedding taking place upstairs, and during our lunch, ladies dressed in the most beautiful saris would descend the stairs to watch the elephants bathing. The children were very inquisitive of us and started chatting and we all shared photographs of each other.

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After lunch we headed off for the drive to our hotel, the Vil Uyana which is advertised as Sri Lanka's best eco luxury hotel.

On the way, the bus stopped for a photo opportunity of these poor men chopping the outer shell off coconuts. They get paid 25 cents per coconut. Very hard work.

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We arrived at our beautiful hotel, which is located in the middle of nowhere. That's a funny thing I have noticed about Sri Lanka (but it was also the same in India), you are driving along in the middle of nowhere, turn down a dusty dirt road and all of a sudden the most magnificent building pops up. These hotels are not obvious so if you were travelling on your own, you would have to do a lot of research to find these magnificent establishments. Lucky we have Scenic to do it for us!

The Vil Uyana is a series of huts spread through lagoons. It is stunning. The photos just don't do it justice but I am sure you'll get the idea.

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As soon as we checked in, those of us who were climbing Sigiriya "Lion Rock" met Didier at reception and we were off - adrenlian running high! Vyonne and Darryl from Melbourne, Viv and Bruce from Whyalla and me, accompanied by our guide Didier, who by the way, treks in Nepal!! When we arrived at the base of the rock, my heart sank. It was huge. Dudley purchased our tickets and we walked a very long way to commence the climb. Off we went and we climbed, and climbed, and climbed and climbed and climbed some more. We had little rests along the way. It was quite tough going in some places as the stone steps were worn and uneven and there was no hand rail to hold on to. There were approximately 1200 steps. The weather was overcast which was great for us but we still perspired a lot. Didier said we would sweat a lot and we might like to take a fresh tee shirt to change into when we reached the top. I told Didiyer that women "glow", they don't "sweat"!

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Viv was scared of heights and Bruce has a phobia about wasps as he was badly stung by them when he was a child. There were two sections during the climb when people were asked to be quiet so as not to disturb the wasps. In both of these areas, people were yelling and shouting making a terrible noise. We just couldn't believe it.

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About half way up, all of us except Viv, climbed up a spiral stair case inside a cage to view the frescos on the walls and then climbed back down to the path. This was the scariest part for me as there was nothing between me and the ground a long way away, so I tried to focus on climbing and not look down.

Finally we made the top, "glowing" and puffing but feeling so proud of ourselves.

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It certainly was a magnificent feat and something all of us will never forget. We took 47 minutes to get to the top, which was pretty good as we took our time and had little rests along the way. After the victory photo, we wandered around the top for a while and then started the descent. It was not long until sunset and we certainly wanted to get down before it started to get dark. About two sets of steps from the ground, I fell and grazed my shin. It looks worse than it is, but I got a huge fright. I really don't know what happened. One minute I was descending, next minute I was on the ground. Thank goodness nothing was broken. Didier washed it thoroughly for me and when we got back to reception, they gave me some Betadine to paint on it because in this weather, it is very important to keep it dry.

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Didier took these great photos of the monkeys that crawl all over the rock. Sometimes they were sitting on the rail that we were trying to hold onto to keep our balance.

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Sharon and John were having a drink with Phil when I arrived back from the climb and I only had a short time to freshen up and get ready for dinner. Everyone wanted to hear about the climb and were very sympathetic about my war wound. We had a lovely dinner upstairs and then into bed for a very well earned sleep.

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Posted by gaddingabout 04:58 Archived in Sri Lanka Comments (0)

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