It is such an embarrassing late update of the blog, I can not believe that on the day of Old New Year I am only writing about our special Christmas celebration. Oh well, we are too busy to LIVE every minute of our lives. 🙂
Despite heavy and continuous rain across the island, we packed a small luggage and set off to the Central Sri Lankan province – now or never. As usually a lot of places to visit are on the list and thanks to the recommendations of our Prague friend Jana, we do not have to do much of a research. Still being quite new to Sri Lankan buses system, we took an express bus (we thought) to the second largest city Kandy. We were promised the bus would take 2 hours, but after 4 exhausting hours we just were approaching the city. By the time we were out of the bus, it started pouring cats and dogs again – an exceptional luck. Good that our Couchsurfing host Benjamin organized us a tuk-tuk ride to his place. We were very lucky to get hosted by a Christian Sri Lankan family during Christmas celebration. Once we were inside the house we felt a bit lost. Many people, everyone is busy with preparation for the Christmas Eve – the place is being decorated, a tropical version of Christmas tree is being mounted, the mom, who apparently is very famous among the neighbors for the exceptional cooking, is preparing food for cca. 50 people. All for people in need and all on charity bases.
On the day of Christmas Eve we woke up early to go to a local church. We have been to many churches on this trip, and this one probably the liveliest one. Full of people in beautiful dresses, saris, suits, many colors. Everyone is smiling, greeting each other and congratulating. And cheerful gospel band of young girls and boys just rocked the church with their music and singing. I almost started applauding and whistling in the end but in the last moment realized that I am in a holy place 😀
We left the church and spent a day wandering and enjoying the tropical suburbs of Kandy. We left the city in the evening and continued to north to the elephant area where we were agreed to meet with our Polish and Slovak friends from Dubai. This world is so small!
We stayed in a guest house recommended by Jana in Dambulla village and we managed to negotiate cheaper the price – we are getting better and better at it! The village is nice, despite constant rain we enjoyed it – beautiful surroundings, super friendly locals with their sincere smiles and greetings. The big plan for the day was to climb Pidurangala rock in Sigiriya – quite a challenging task – the rock is off the beaten track, so it does not have a staircase all the way up unlike the Sigiriya one, just big stones and after the rain everything is extremely slippery. And we are wearing flip flops, cause we do not want to get our shoes get wet :D. It was such a test to my height phobia – Sascha had to suffer a lot from my screaming. What a rewarding stunning view though after making it all the way up barefoot 🙂
Here is another highlight of Sigiriya trip. We wanted to see elephants, in the wild and without paying extremely high tourist price to enter a national park. Dambulla and Sigiriya are surrounded by jungles, so there are many elephants. Many locals warned us to be careful as this cute looking animals can be very dangerous when wild. Jana from Prague gave us and idea about where to see the elephants and after taking to our guest house owner, we got organized a tuk tuk ride to the… city dumpster. Apparently, elephants have learned that dumpsters are an easy source of food and they started coming there daily to have their lunch. Unfortunately, it is a very sad scenery to watch this majestic animals swallowing all this plastic that we love to use so much. They come out of the jungle to eat there, many of them, we saw about 12 of them, according to local 40 and more are coming at a time. 😦
For the next day we had no plan and we were just looking forward to meet Igi and Marta. Rain just would not stop for a week already – perfect weather to celebrate reunion and catch up with news while being under a roof among the palm trees 🙂