When I think about Sri Lanka, I literally feel warm inside. It’s a beautiful country with amazing people! Not big but has a variety of attractions and activities to offer. It’s a good idea to read about it before coming here and make a plan. Not too abundant because the heat and some other conditions may verify it somehow. Well, at least that was in my case. 😉
– blue line – by car,
– red line – by bus,
– green line – by train,
– stars – places worth seeing,
– people 🙂 – hiking trails,
– a tree – Yala National Park,
– waves – a beach, what else it can be? 😀
I planned to sightsee the inland for about 2 weeks and spend the last week on the beach somewhere south. Before my travel I wrote down what I want to see to collect money and to save some time on the transport around island. I wanted my plan to be sensible.
I arrived on Wednesday morning. First days I spent in Colombo: had a rest after long journey (after all it took me about 30 hours…), got used to the weather and chaos and saw a little bit of the city. I stayed in Mount Lavinia with my friend from Poland who came to Sri Lanka to work for six months.
On Friday evening we (me, Martyna, her hosts and Vara, a friend from Russia) went to the Adam’s Peak and later slept in Nuwara Eliya. We were really exhausted, because we didn’t manage to climb at night as we planned earlier, but we spent the night on some bizarre adventures and climbed in the morning and afternoon…
After Sunday breakfast in Nuwara Eliya we split. Martyna and her friends got back to Colombo and I took a bus to Dambulla in the north. I spent here 3 days, the only time when I was totally alone.
I have to admit it: it was the real hardiness test for me. On Sunday evening I got food poisoning that in morning turned out to be very strong (frankly, I started to panick for a moment: yesterday we ate eggs for breakfast, what if it’s salmonella?!). What’s more, I had also sore muscles after climbing to Adam’s Peak (the climb is 5 km one way… and the path is all with stairs!). And my muscles ached me so much that to the toilet I literally had to crawl…
On Monday morning I was lying lin bed and I felt that I was shaking, although it was really hot. Dehydration? Oh, that’s really bad! If there was anybody else with me, he or she would probably take care of me and give me water and some crackers… But I was alone and I knew that I really have to force myself to drink, even though my stomach mutinied against eating and muscles ached by every move. I asked the owners of my guesthouse to get me a tuck-tuck and I rode to pharmacy and bought some loperamide (and this is this wild Sri Lanka that I was warned against?) and I got back to bed and took few pills at once and fell asleep for couple of hours.
In the afternoon I felt better so I visited cave temples in Dambulla. Still with sore muscles but I knew that I have to get them moving if I want to get rid of this pain. Luckily, I was alone so nobody rushed me and I could rest as much as I wanted (and climbing just 100 metres of stairs took me… 1 hour :D).
The following day I felt much better with my stomach but I decided to eat crackers all day long just to be sure that I’ll be fine. My muscles still ached me but not so much as the previous day so I went to Polonnaruwa to see the ruins of medieval city. Because they are spread on a vast area I decided to rent a bike for few hours (which was the best cure for my legs). That day I met Chaminda, whom I’ll tell you about another time, and I took a risk and ate with him a watermelon. 🙂
On Wednesday I went to Sigiriya. I still felt pain in my legs but there another activity waited for me. To the palace complex, which is on the top of a huge rock, you have to climb up the stairs, just about 300 meters. Luckily Alik, my guide, was very patient and he didn’t rush me at all. I risked here again because I drunk a fresh fruit juice, although the whole day I was eating crackers only. 😉 In the late afternoon I took the bus to Kandy.
In Kandy I stayed in a simple but very nice hotel in the centre. Because I really liked this place, I decided to stay there until Saturday. I was tired of the heat, sightseeing and fighting my own body so I wanted just slow down.
I visited here the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic, went to a local dance show, strolled around the town but the best thing was to meet all those amazing people. One evening I played dice with Germans, another one had a conversation with some crazy Danish woman, who soon was going to a meditation centre, wherever it was, once I shared my room with a Lebanese girl, who told me so amazing things about Lebanon that now I want to visit this country, and with Americans, who were travelling around South-East Asia for 6 months already, and some other people we went to a great Indian restaurant. I met here also two Australian girls: Robyn and Kj, and after some chatting we decided to continue our journey together because we had the same plans. 🙂
On Friday girls took a train to Ella and I joined them on Saturday. I can fairly recommend this route to everybody, because the railway goes through mountains covered with jungle, tea estates and rice terraces near Ella. On Sunday morning we went with Robyn for a walk in the area and later we cought a bus to Kataragama.
In Katagarama we stayed in Sandun’s guesthouse (we were the first guests! :)), where we had the best, because homemade, rice and curry ever! On Monday we visited Yala National Park and in the afternoon we headed to the beaches on south coast.
We got to Weligama but, frankly, it was a mistake. Beaches are nice, I admit it: long, shallow, perfect for surfing but not for sunbathing. There are no beach bars, guesthouses are quite far from the sea and it doesn’t look like a touristy place. [Note: I don’t like touristy places but when I am about resting and spending time in bikini, it’s better to stay in a touristy place where blonde, almost naked women is nothing special.] Weligama wasn’t a paradise for us and one tuck-tuck driver, who stuck to us, asked all the time if we want marihuana. It was too late though to find another place so we had to stay in one of guesthouses (the only one with cockroaches during my whole trip). Early in the morning we jumped up to the bus to the next town.
Here we found our paradise at last! Remember, it’s called Unawatuna. Wonderful beach, cheap sea food, turtles swimming nearby when you are lying on a sunbed and drinking lime juice. Moreover our guesthouse was just by the beach and its owners were one of the nicest Sri Lankans I’ve met! And Unawatuna lies not so far from Galle, which is also a nice place to visit (and the only one in the area with ATM’s). The last week went by so fast that we decided to spend there one more night instead of going to Colombo.
In the last Tuesday morning we took a bus to Colombo, got angry with the chaos that rules in this city and took a taxi to the airport. Because we had even the same flight to Dubai. 😉
I don’t know if I’ve seen a lot. I could have more for sure. But on the other hand, why to bother? I mean, this is beautiful in travelling solo. Nobody tells you what to do. You can sightsee if you want or you can spend a whole day in the terrace reading a book and drinking sweetened tea. This is this feeling of freedom that I just love when I travel: I do what I want to do. And if I want to do nothing, I do nothing. 🙂
I’m really satisfied with this trip. Even though I didn’t rest physilcally (ok, a little bit during last week), I did mentally. I came back with fresh mind, head full of ideas and energy to act. I saw what I wanted, was lazy on the beach, met amazing people but mainly I learnt about my limits with a backpack far away from home. And I am proud of myself! I have so much positive energy now that I can move the mountains! 🙂
So, who is coming back with me to Sri Lanka? 🙂