Kandy to Ella...via Sigiriya
05.12.2010 - 08.12.2010 25 °C
Ok so I know I have a lot to catch up on, and I will cover it all eventually! The internet situation in Sri Lanka wasn't that great so over the next while you will probably see a lot of photos and posts appear while we go into rancho relaxo mode for Christmas and New Year.
As previously mentioned on our way to Kandy we stopped at Sigiriya, a rather large rock that was historically used as a monastery and has some nice samples of rock paintings and half way up to the top you can see huge lion paws carved out of the rock either side of the steps to the top. It was incredibly impressive despite getting completely drenched and despite the acquisition by Will of a rather nasty large bruise on his backside after slipping on a wet step on the way back down (I refrained from taking a photo of it for you).
Kandy was a bit of a nicer town that Anuradhapura with a large lake in the centre of it. The standard of accommodation isn't great, hot water is considered a luxury, and since we weren't able to book ahead we drove around the town looking at different guest houses until we found a suitable one. Even Sampath admits that you pay more in Sri Lanka for accommodation yet you don't receive the same standards. We ended up in quite a nice place but there was improvisation required with regard to an open window in our room....after all the mosquitos here are huge and plentiful!
We visited the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic where we were ushered very quickly past a monk guarding a small shiny gold shrine that apparently holds a tooth of the Buddha. Beautiful large temple though with traditional Kandyan drummers playing in one of the central rooms.
We paid a visit to the botanic gardens in the town which, while the weather was nice for once, made for a pleasant, if not immensely exciting, walk. That evening we went to a traditional Kandyan dance show. It included a lot of drums, some mask dances - apparently some still used for psychiatric treatment to "rid people of evil spirits" - and some fire walking.
After Kandy we made our way through the windy mountain roads to a tiny village called Ella. Really it's one junction and a shop. We went with the recommendation from Sampath and stayed in Ella View Point Villas which was expensive (which is why we only stayed one night) but we had a stunning view from our little cabin.
There hasn't been an awful lot to do in these places so we're moving through the country a bit quicker than we thought. Next stop is Tissamaharama where we'll be doing a safari in Yala National Park.