A bit damp from that tremendous cloudburst at Dambulla, we got back into our van and continued on our way to the base camp from where all exploratory expeditions in the Cultural Triangle head out.
The landscape had flattened out considerably and I noticed that these parts weren’t as lush and green as the ones we left behind that morning. Fewer people too.
Day 4 in Sri Lanka. A famous botanical garden in Kandy, where all kinds of things seem to flourish 😉
And these are just the ones I photographed!! Maya Khan would have had a field day here 😛
(this post is dedicated to Harsha, who loves all things hibiscus)
Our 11 days in Sri Lanka were essentially a road trip. We criss-crossed the island, winding up the hills, then down the hills, and onwards to flatter landscapes. It was lush and green all the way. We clicked hundreds of pictures, the camera passing from hand to hand, silently watching the landscape unfold, exchanging awed smiles.
I got a taste of how Huz must have felt on his way up to Nuwara Eliya. Realized no matter how breathtaking the landscape, you can’t enjoy it if you’re car sick. Winding mountainous roads unfortunately go hand in hand with amazing beauty 😐
I’m so glad I have these panoramic pictures to enjoy now with none of the queasiness 🙂
Day 2 in Sri Lanka.
It was arranged that a man with a jeep would pick us up reeeaaalllyyy early the next morning, and take us to Horton Plains, a plateau 2100-2300 metres above sea level.
It was cold, drizzly and foggy, and I began to get doubts about how warm our flimsy cotton hoodies would keep us…
The driver stopped at a bend in the road, where he thought we might spot white-bearded monkeys in the misty trees.
And we did 🙂
It was a longish drive, but our gazes were riveted to the landscape we were passing through, forests, rivers, lakes and farms with Fresian cows grazing on the slopes, all enveloped in cloud. The driver was friendly and eager to educate, so he shared titbits of information as he pointed out various noteworthy sights, some left behind by the British, like this forest of Australian eucalyptus, a non-endemic species, not to mention a thirsty bunch of trees.
And a sulky monkey.
I was amazed that the driver’s eyes were sharp enough to spot this poor badly injured female (whose name I forget, a species of lizard endemic to Sri Lanka as I was informed).
How did we know it was a female? Take a look at that egg…
Nothing much could be done, but to pick her up and deposit her in the foliage on the side of the road.
We drove on, and soon….
We ate our packed breakfasts huddled in the relative warmth of a bare basic restaurant, where we drank some horrible but warming coffee before setting off on our hike, umbrellas in hand. I had half a mind to skip the whole thing altogether, as my hoodie and three t-shirts were doing nothing to keep the wind from chilling me to the bone. But then I figured walking would warm me up…..and it did.
I’m sure glad I didn’t chicken out, as what followed turned out to be a dream-like hike through surreal landscape, the undisputed highlight of our SrliLankan experience 🙂
After a 6 hour, winding drive up hilly terrain, we finally reach Nuwara Eliya, once called Little England. Huz had been pretty car sick, so it is a relief to get out. It is cold here, compared to Colombo, and a waiter (at The Grand, where we are staying) brings us hot cinnamon tea, to be sipped through pieces of jaggery. It is deliciously warming.
We don light hoodies and set off for an exploratory walk around the hotel.
Went up on the roof to see if I could take some nice night shots. On one end was a waning moon….
On the other, a bedecked Mazaar, all dressed up for the 12th of Rabi ul Awwal……