Saturday, April 16, 2016

Sri Lanka - an island paradise

I am not going to apologize for silences because it is very clear to me that I am not sincere. If I was, I would follow an apology with action. I do feel sorry that I am silent but finding the time to actually post is tough. But I am going to try because I have a lot to post about.

We went to Sri Lanka in January. It is a gorgeous place. Beautiful, green and clean. Very agricultural. It was quite hot and humid. But we were lucky that it did not rain at all when we were there. If it had, it would have been quite inconvenient as we were outside all the time.

We arrived mid-morning in Colombo and set off immediately to visit Dambulla.

This is a view from the restaurant where we had lunch on the way to Dambulla. There is a white Buddha on the top of the hill in the distance. Many temples build these statues because we saw quite a few when we were there.

Dambulla is home to a set of Buddhist cave temples up on a hill. But there is a beautiful golden stupa at the bottom of the hill. Sri Lanka is full of stupas. They are all over the country.

As we set off up the hill, we saw this gorgeous Buddha statue at the foot of the steps. There is a plaza there with a temple set into the hill.
See the row of monk statues going up to the temple?

But this was not our destination....
We were headed up the hill. About 300+ steps up.
Here we are level with the base of the statue. There are a lot of monkeys in Sri Lanka and we met a few on our way up the hill.
The views from the steps were gorgeous. This is good because we had to take breaks to catch our breath.
Finally, at the top of the hill are the temples.
There are a number of little temples in this complex, with statues and paintings inside. Flash photography is not allowed so the photos are a bit dark. We took our footwear off and walked barefoot in the complex.
They are in remarkably good shape. I noticed some damage but most of them are intact.
As we left, the sun was starting to descend which made the photos easier to take. While we were climbing, the sun was high in the sky and everything was too bright and flat.
The temple was much easier to photograph also without the sun in my eyes.
We then headed out to our hotel, where we would be staying for the next 3 nights. It was a beautiful location. All the hotels we stayed at were gorgeous in themselves. But a few stood out and this was one of them. The hotel was reached by a long, unpaved road.
There will be more photos from the hotel in the upcoming days. We were quite tired and went to one of the restaurants to eat dinner and were joined by a local guest
A little gecko was on the light pillar adjacent to our table.

One of the issues with staying in beautiful locations outside of town is that we had to eat there. So our experience with the local cuisine was limited to what we could get there. Sri Lanka food is heavy in seafood, coconut and spices. We don't eat seafood so that limited our choices. But we loved the coconut and spices in the food and I took every opportunity to try local favorites that were vegetarian.

I am going to try and get the entire trip done in the next week. I've got my fingers crossed that I can do it. 

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