Sri Lanka 2013

So I’m just getting my blog off the ground so this is about an adventure I had a few years ago!

Sri Lanka is a place I grew up hearing stories about as it was one of my Grandparents favourite holiday destinations when they were younger. I remember hearing stories about rocks that rose from the ground like giants, stories of cheeky monkeys helping themselves to items from my Grandma’s handbags and rides on elephants through the jungle. So when my Grandpa sadly passed we knew what we needed to do, have a family holiday to the place he and my Grandma loved so much.

In the summer if 2014, my mother, brother and I boarded our flights excited to finally put context to all of these stories we grew up hearing about. In all honesty we hadn’t really travelled this far out of Europe before and when we touched down it was a by of a culture shock to begin with. We travelled to the hotel past lush forests, stunning beaches and through settlement’s unlike ones we had seen before. We arrived at our beautiful hotel, that we would highly recommend. The service was amazing, along with the views and accommodating staff.

Whilst in Sri Lanka we had a few days relaxing by the pool and on the beach in our door step.

We also spent lots of time exploring the sights and sounds that Sri Lanka has to offer.

The first thing we did has been on my bucket list since I was tiny. Elephants have always been my very favourite animal so we went to the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage. We saw elephants roaming in the grounds, elephants working moving trees, elephants being bathed and elephants meeting people.

At lunchtime, the elephants left the orphanage and walked down the road and through the middle of town toward the river where the animals went to play and frolic in the river.

We also visited a turtle orphanage that got destroyed in the 2004 tsunami and was still being rebuilt. We learnt that more recently people are taking turtle eggs from beaches to sell as hey are seen as a luxury. We saw day old turtles,huge adult turtles and an albino turtle. They release as many of the turtles as possible.

After this trip, we saw a local harvesting coconuts and coconut water as we were driving past. So we hopped out of the car and he harvested us some fresh coconut. Delicious!

We then stayed in Kandy which is absolutely beautiful and there were monkeys everywhere! I absolutely loved taking pictures of all the wildlife etc but these guys were among some of my favourite!

Before leaving Kandy, we stopped at the big daddy of all Sri Lankan temples, theTemple of the Tooth, said to contain a tooth belonging to none other than the Buddha himself.

From Kandy, we traveled into the Central Province of Sri Lanka. Sigiriya, or Lion Rock, is an ancient rock fortress. The name refers to a site of historical and archaeological significance that is dominated by a massive column of rock nearly 200 metres (660 ft) high. We hiked all the way to the top, it was hard as the heat was sweltering and there are so many steps to climb! According to the ancient Sri Lankan chronicle the site was selected the King for his new capital. He built his palace on the top of this rock and decorated its sides with colourful frescoes. On a small plateau about halfway up the side of this rock he built a gateway in the form of an enormous lion.

Unfortunately, only the lion’s feet remain yet they give an idea of the scale of the lion, it must have been huge! The name of this place is derived from this structure —Sīhāgiri, the Lion Rock. Yet, Sigiriya refuses to reveal its secrets easily, and you’ll have to climb a series of staircases attached to sheer walls to reach the top. If you have a fear of heights you may struggle but I promise that the views from the top and the remain palace structures make it all worth while!. The surrounding landscape – lily-pad-covered moats, water gardens and cave shrines – only add to Sigiriya’s rock-star appeal. Sigiriya today is a UNESCO listed World Heritage Site.

After this we went to visit a small buddhist temple in the Madu River. On our way, we saw lots more wildlife!

The locals use the structures below to capture fish and then they collect the fish throughout the day. The bird above is trying to catch himself an easy dinner from the fish traps.

This is a buddhist shrine is in the middle of the Madu River.

We were very lucky that on our way back we came across a traditional Sri Lankan carnival. There were so many people lining the streets as the procession went past with music, dancing, elephants, street food and the most friendly people. It was a real unplanned treat 🙂

Have you ever been to Sri Lanka? What is your favourite memory?

Would you like to travel to Sri Lanka?

–  Happy travelling x


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