Getting to Sigiriya

Getting to Sigiriya

MONKEY

Kandy for Breakfast

Waking up in Sri Lanka is easy, the sun is up early and adventure looms at the door waiting for you to chase after it.

We jumped up and checked out the window to see if the view was as stunning as we had remembered, we were humbled to find it even more beautiful than before with the bright new sun bursting up from behind the mountains and gently infusing life into the valley below.

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Our eyes stayed glued to the view through windows that covered nearly the entire backside of the hotel as we headed downstairs for breakfast. We chose the table closest to the window, again keeping eye contact as if it would disappear if we looked away. I think we cherished it so because we knew that in just a few hours time, we would have to say goodbye to Kandy.

The owner himself kindly interrupted our concentration by offering us the two breakfast options: the Sri Lankan or the Classic (aka the foreigner). Of course we chose the Sri Lankan (when in Rome, right?) but then when he described what it included (fish curry with rice) we had to bow out and go for the classic. #fail

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The Classic breakfast started with a fresh fruit smoothie followed by jam and bread. Next came eggs, sausage and a fruit plate. All of it was followed by coffee and tea (don’t even get me started on how good fresh Ceylon tea is).

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Kandy Central Market

After breakfast, we grabbed our bags and hopped in a Tuk Tuk (or Sri Lankan taxi) to take our final ride down the long dirt road towards central Kandy. We asked for the driver to not take us to the bus stop just yet, but instead drop us nearby, at the Central Market.

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The market was not what I had expected, I even had to double check with the driver that he had understood our desired destination before he side-nodded (which is the Sri Lankan version of a regular nod) to assure us that this was it.

A white, open-air building stood before us filled with vendors of all sorts.

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So many vendors that the stands led right out from one side of the market building into an open lot. Clearly, it was a locals market.

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We met a friend who delighted in showing us around and brought us to different stands selling each of our desired items.

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We bought souvenirs, some local fruit and even a box of Sri Lankan cigars. DSC_0509 DSC_0508

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At about the time we had finished walking down the last isle, it began sprinkling outside so we rushed off to the bus stop before we, as well as our new treasures, got soaked.

03 Dambulla Bus – 00 Snavelys’

Finding a bus was a bit of a chore. I was certain that it would be best to get on the biggest one, convinced that it would be the nicest and most comfortable. Zach was convinced that we should get on the smallest one with closed little windows convinced it would be best.

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He was right. His pick had AC. AC always wins. Lol

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Our “luxury”bus cost $2.64

Now although this bus was the best choice, it proved to be full of misadventures for us. I don’t want to spend too much time going through these things but we went in 100% and came out with one less pair of sunglasses, one less phone and one bloody head. Just so that you don’t worry, the bloody head was unfortunately Zach’s and the reason as you can imagine is that this world is just not built for 6’6 basketball giants. You would think that after getting whacked by light fixtures, door ways and most hilariously ceiling fans his whole life he would have developed Matrix like reflexes for dodging the stuff (and he has) but this time, in a rush to catch our stop, they failed him and a railing made its mark on the very top of his sweet head.

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Here you can see the killer rail that did him in. You can also see a vendor– these vendors can be found selling all sorts of snacks on almost every mode of transportation. Each stop, they will pop on offer the treats and then hop off and let the bus continue on its way. Even more interesting is the way that they serve up the treats. Always in a piece of paper … used paper. Lol Not used as in ew gross but used as in you literally get a sheet of paper that their kids did their math homework on. I can see how this can weird some people out but I found it quite neat to see. 🙂

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We grabbed lunch in Dambulla and decided to skip the “Dambulla Caves”. The caves are basically an underground Buddhist shrines but after spending a few hours in the Temple of Tooth the previous day, we were ready to get into nature so we pressed forward towards Sigiriya.

Riding God’s Hand to Sigiriya

Outside of the restaurant we found a tuk tuk, hopped inside and informed the driver of our destination. It wasn’t until we were a little ways down the road that we realized that he was no real “tuk tuk driver” but just a random guy and his brother who happen to have a tuk tuk. …. 04 Dombulla 00 Snavelys

FORTUNATELY, Sri Lanka is full of the most kind people in the entire world and the two drove us the whole 30 min to our Homestay in Sigiriya.. not to mention stopping to talk with locals along the way to assure they were going the right direction. (Don’t worry, we paid them well!!) WOW DID WE GET LUCKY. It is moments like this that remind me just how much God must want us to be alive because we could have been signing our own death sentence hopping in with random people! God is having to work overtime to make up for our folly– how good it is to be a child of the one true king.

Did you catch the part where I said Homestay? …yeah I was kind of hoping that Booking.com just listed the place as a “Homestay” to be cute and nod towards how cozy it was but we realized how true to their words they are when we pulled up to “The Saman Homestay” and saw Saman himself standing outside waving to us alongside his entire family.

AWKWARD. I thought– but immediately Saman and his family calmed that by welcoming us in and bringing out fresh watermelon juice paired with questions about our time so far in Sri Lanka. After chatting we ventured out to explore the small villiage of Sigiriya. the home of the country’s most popular attraction, the Lion Rock.

Cycling Sigiriya

After making our acquaintance with Saman and family we took a walk down his dirt driveway to explore the small village and spy on an elephant we spotted on our drive in. The town is made up of just one main road sprinkled with small, family run restaurants and a few fruit stands. It is completely engulfed with trees and to us, felt more like adventure than any place we had been so far.

Along the road we found a restaurant owner who knew just what wandering travelers, like us, wanted. Bicycles for rent! What a perfect way to see the little village!! We paid the steep price of $2.14 for two bikes and promised to have them back before night fall.

Now everyone pause and take a moment to check out my handsome hubby 😉

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IT WAS SO MUCH FUN! We first went down the main strip, then back and straight on through towards the Lion Rock. We figured this could be the perfect way to scout out the route from our homestay to the rock so that when we went in the morning we would know exactly where to go.

BUT OMG WE GOT SO MUCH MORE THAN THAT.

 

So we are riding down this dirt road right? We see the rock so we are just laughing and having fun riding towards it then I stop for a sec to take a quick photo and my sweet husband slows to let me.

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I was just reading a sign that read “Do not swim. Beware of crocodiles” when I saw something dart by in the corner of my eye. I spun around and saw nothing.

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So I started wandering back towards the bike to get the heck outta there when I saw Zach staring wide eyed at something behind me.

Could you even believe it, there was a precious little MONKEY!!!!

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We squealed with glee as we watched him run past us, straight up a tree where he started rocking the whole thing back and fourth. It was so funny!

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We snapped shots and enjoyed when we heard something else behind us. …

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MORE MONKEYS! TONS OF THEM!

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Big ones, baby ones, silly ones and still ones. They blend so well into the trees and the brush that riding by, we could have just missed the whole herd. Once you see one though, you start to be able to stop them everywhere.

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We scooted the bikes off of the road– we knew we wouldn’t be needing to leave anytime soon. It was not even just fun to watch them play, but just looking at them in the wild from so close up felt like fiction. We have seen our fair share of monkeys in cages at the Zoo but here they were all together, right in front of us. It was incredible. They look as though they each just got a little hair cut and were hanging out just as one big family.

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We stayed until the sky turned from blue to a brilliant orange and we knew our time was running out with the bikes so we said goodbye to the cuties and finished our trek to the gate of the rock.

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We took a few last spins through the little village as it lit up soaking up every last moment riding around then we turned the bikes back in.

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Sigiriya After Dark

This night, Zach chose our dinner destination. While riding, he had spotted a big BBQ sign and like most men, couldn’t just pass it by.

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The place played loud music, had lights strung all through the trees and featured at least 8 hammocks. We found a table and were served by a Bob Marley-esque Sri Lankan. The “Secret Secret”menu consisted of every kind of drink you could imagine but not a single bit of food.

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Our waiter then guided us over to the grill where we got to choose between chicken, sausage and fish.

Zach tried ordering sausage but after going back and forth a few times with the waiter Him: “Sausage.” Waiter: “Chicken?” “No, I’ll have SAUSAGE.” “Chicken?” “Sau–nevermind I’ll just have your chicken” Waiter:”Great, two chicken plates!” 

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They were awesome.

We stayed for a few hours and relaxed then we wandered back to Saman’s house to rest up for our climb up Lions Rock the next day!

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