Seven months have gone by since our holiday in Sri Lanka, and here I am, still blogging about it. All of it is still fresh in my mind though, perhaps because of all the pictures.
From Colombo to Nuwara Eliya to Kandy to Dambulla to Habarana to Anuradhapura and back to Habarana and then off to our very last destination on the itinerary….Trincomalee, situated in the northeast.
Though I enjoyed getting to see so much of Sri Lanka from a car window, I do confess I was by now a tad weary of the long drives and sightseeing expeditions, and sitting in a van for hours made me simultaneously fidgety and sleepy. Unable to nap comfortably, my eyes simply grew unfocused and hence I cannot remember much about the landscape we traversed on our way from Habarana to Trincomalee, except that it felt hotter and drier and way less green. Moreover, spoilt by the hotels we had stayed in so far, the relief I felt at reaching the resort at Nilaveli beach was dampened by the very basic look of the place. I felt like I had been transported into the 80’s.
The young man who led us to our room mentioned that the entire resort had to be restored and renovated after the tsunami of 2004. That melted my heart and I looked around with a less critical eye. By the end of our stay, the old-fashioned-ness of the decor was part of its charm, and though we had been sad to leave every place we had been on this trip, Amu and I were saddest at leaving here. It had been a peaceful stay, lots of relaxation and delicious buffet breakfasts and dinners.
I befriended a lot of squirrels.
And a ginger kitty.
A strange drumming sound on the roof was discovered to be packs of monkeys bounding around, picking edible buds from the trees. There were a couple of bright-eyed frogs, quite a few geckos and at least one big brown toad outside our beach hut. No pictures, alas.
We checked out after breakfast and got back into our van. The drive back to Colombo was supposed to take seven hours, but we made it in six.
We emerged from the largest of the five caves to be greeted by a downpour.
It was a surreal setting to be in….torrential rain high up on a rock, surrounded by a green expanse bang in the centre of sacred Buddhist land.
We sat there, sheltered, yet soaking it all in. It was beautiful and the air was suddenly cool.
After a few minutes of contemplation by the falls it was time we continued along our way. Climbing back up to the main trail felt like quite the accomplishment as my legs protested going against gravity.
Amu and Huz were now keen to get to the end, whereas I would have been happy to dawdle my way slowly back, one step at a time. It was a long walk, and saying we were tired out would have been the understatement of the year.
I do think we left a piece of our souls there, or perhaps the place seeped into our souls. It seemed we had already experienced the highlight of our trip on day 2….and nothing henceforth could beat this.
(All pictures have been taken using Huz’s phone camera as I was too tired to mess around with the Nikon. I think the results aren’t half bad!)
The terrain hitherto was largely open and expansive. The wind was a consistent part of the hike, with varying intensity depending on the topography. Feeling like Frodo, I climbed a rocky, muddy incline, buffeted, until we entered a sheltered green tunnel. Soon, we reached a divergent path that led down to Bakers Falls.
It was a steep hop, skip, and several jumps for Huz and Amu, slower for trepidatious me, who proceeded with caution, for as you can see, the path was not only steep, it was quite wet and full of obstacles and puddles. As a result, they saw the Falls before I did. And Amu captured my slightly exaggerated reaction 🙂
It was considerably damper and cooler way down at the Fall level. We spent some time absorbing the scene, with the sound of gushing, splashing, roaring water filling our ears. After hours of listening to wind through trees and grass, this was a different auditory experience altogether.
Soaked and quite achy now, my poor legs quaked at the thought of climbing back up to the main trail. In the course of 9 kilometres, this part tired me out the most. So the home stretch, although it continued to be breathtaking, had us all counting the steps till we had come full circle
(Credit for half the pictures (and a lot of the best ones) on this hike go to my better half, Amu. As mentioned earlier, we fought over the camera a lot, and I (being wise and mature) allowed her to be the official photographer 😉 Some of the pictures (like closeups of foliage and the interesting roots and tree structures) have been taken using Huz’s phone camera (by me) and of course, all the pix that feature Amu mean I did sometimes manage to wrangle the Nikon from her hands)
1st August; Day 1 in Sri Lanka; Location: Lake Lodge, Colombo. A small pond at the entrance.
Not in the mood to swim, but just sit outdoors and study my new camera, I found my way to the hotel pool, there to potter about taking pictures of things and peruse the manual. No one there except me, blue sky and gorgeous East African clouds…
(click on image to enlarge)
It was fun setting the timer and dashing back and forth several times to get a ‘reasonably good’ shot of myself. I just hope no one was watching from their windows…..