Delightful Sri Lanka and it’s….Drivers, Safaris, Buddhist Monks, Vegetable buns and Arrack……Part 4
I wake on what is technically my second morning in Sri Lanka, however my body clock is registering that yesterday was just an extraordinarily long day from leaving the UK to arriving at Kandy Mount Villa and so today is my first morning waking up in this beautiful country. I had a very restful night’s sleep and wake feeling refreshed at just after 8.30am. Sri Lanka time is currently five and a half hours in front of the UK, so I am pleased that my internal clock appears to have reset itself without any problems and I am hungry !
I climb from my bed and open the doors from my bedroom onto the small balcony that I sat on last night and immediately feel the heat of the morning sun which is already hot. Although it was dark when I arrived here last night I could still make out the abundance of trees and tropical greenery that the villa overlooks and in the morning sunshine the views are fantastic. I shower and repack what I had unpacked last night then make my way back to the reception area.
Nisha is already in reception chatting to the hotel manager and I am welcomed with a ‘Good Morning Madam’ from the two of them. The hotel Manager informs me that breakfast is served on the rooftop terrace and points me in the direction of the stairs that I have just descended. I climb up to the top of the Villa which again has stunning open views and there are several tables set up over the terrace, I spot the ‘table for one’ and I take my seat. Breakfast is served, which consists of fresh juice, fruit, omelette and toast along with numerous cups of coffee, which are all good and I eat heartily although I don’t quite finish off what is put in front of me. (Those of you who know me, will know that this is no mean feat, as I have a particularly good appetite.)
I flick through the ‘Rough Guide’ and try to remember what todays itinerary consists of, I am pretty sure there is a visit to the Botanical Garden, along with an opportunity to peruse some shops, as Kandy is the bigger of the towns/cities in the area. I will then head to Dalhousie which is where Adam’s Peak is situated and if I like I can wake up tomorrow morning at 2am to climb the 2,243m mountain in time to watch the sun rise………….lets see how today goes.
I spend some time looking in shops and weighing up what ‘gifts’ I can take back to the UK for the offspring and make a decision to purchase some ‘gems’ for the females of the group and a sarong for the male. I am confident that they will be happy. I also potter around general stores and purchase a selection of elephants and other goodies that catch my eye. After a couple of hours perusing and having my first attempt at Sinhalese ‘Istuti’ (thank you), the people I attempt this will all react positively with smiles and a ‘You’re welcome’ I catch back up with Nisha and we begin the drive over to Dalhousie, stopping off to visit the Botanical Gardens which are beautiful and it is nice to be able to stretch my legs.
As we head back to the car I notice ENORMOUS BATS ! flying overhead, I have had numerous encounters with Bats as a keen Lake District Camper but these bad boys are something else…………cruising around up above with no fear of the sunlight……behaving like they’re not nocturnal ?? I was not expecting this in Sri Lanka.
The heat of the day is already taking its toll and I am pleased to get back to the car and am grateful for the air con that doesn’t take long to kick in. The drive takes us through some excellent scenery and we stop at what looks like an ice cream van, which is parked up at the side of the road and is selling bread. I buy vegetable buns for lunch which are delicious, very similar to a bread roll filled with a mix of delicious seasoning definitely containing fenugreek.
We continue on our way weaving through bending roads and stopping off several times to ‘take in the views’. It feels like a long time since I left the UK and I have no idea at all what time it is, which I like. We arrive at our destination and I guess it must be late afternoon, early evening because once again I am hungry. I check into the hotel and am shown my room which is at the very top of a hillside but once again has fantastic views and I am grateful for the young man who carries my luggage on his shoulder taking to the long climbing stairs like a mountain goat to a Cliffside.
I have notice that the people I have met during my short time in Sri Lanka all have a really open and likeable manner, much more so than in some of the European countries that I have visited as a tourist and I get the sense that they genuinely want to make sure that your stay here in Sri Lanka is a wonderful time. I unpack again !! shower and change then take a walk around this small town, whose only attraction, from what I can see, is Adam’s Peak.
I take dinner in a restaurant further along the road, Wasthala Inn and have a plate of Devilled chicken which is good and a bottle of beer, whilst sitting out on a veranda overlooking the river. The location of this place is fab and the views from the restaurant are once again a treat for the eyes. I am conscious of the noise that comes with Sri Lanka which is a mix of very fast conversational chatter, chaotic traffic, moped exhausts and lots of interesting bird song, the likes I have never heard before.
As I sit soaking up the early evening atmosphere I am aware that buses are arriving in high numbers and wonder what their occupants have come to see, in this place where there appears to be nothing but a small amount of Hotels and Restaurants and a mountain ?