Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Travels In Trincomalee, Sri Lanka

Between the old Honda Motorbike and a fairly battered Toyota van we managed to cover a lot of ground here in Sri Lanka.  We never did get to one of the nearby wild life parks, but that didn't prevent us from sharing the roads and tracks with wild elephants, mongoose, peacocks, lizards, squirrels, deer, water buffalo, monkeys of many kinds etc etc.  That's not to mention the thousands of cattle and goats that roam free here and do really own the roads, though the local bus drivers would disagree.

Ancient City of Polonnaruva ruins
Traveling without a local guide is kind of unusual here, and the various historic sites make it a challenge, but Google Maps and an almost infallible 3G network made the navigation simple.

We spent a lot of time on back roads and tracks, and were never without a phone signal.  Even better, we were never without smiles and welcomes from the local people.

In one local town we waded into the river to watch the elephants being scrubbed, ate great local food and generally felt that we were very welcome everywhere.

The historic sites here are plentiful and spectacular, if a little expensive for foreigners to enter. But do pay the money and walk on to see some amazing sights.

Sigiriya - Water Gardens Leading To The Lions Claws
At Sigiriya we climbed the 830 steps (sure I counted them all) to get to the site of the palace.  Having proved to ourselves that we are definitely "getting older", we spent 30 minutes recovering before exploring the palace site.

Perched on top of a monumental chunk of rock, this was certainly a defendable site for a palace.  An amazing perspective on the countryside from up there, a forest of green punctuated with lakes as far as the eye could see.The next 830 steps (down) were very much easier.

From  our base in Trincomalee we were able to travel widely and return to the boat each evening.  Some of the island's attractions, including the national parks, do really require overnight travels, but we were keen to get moving again. 

A collection of our Sri Lankan images can be viewed here.

Sigiriya - Cave Frescoes
So we have refueled and provisioned for the next stage of our journey.  We cleared with customs and immigration yesterday evening, the Navy inspection boat has just departed and the dinghy is in davits ready for the passage.

We'll depart here in an hour or so and sail to Male in the Maldives.  Our transit time should be four to five days.
Sigiriya - fabulous views from the palace on top of the rock.

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