Saturday 13th October 2018
A fabulous day of cricket today (get me)!! We sat ourselves in one of the lower stands amongst the local supporters – boy, they know how to have fun. England batted first so it was great to see our boys perform against the eager Sri Lankan team. Some great bowling from the home team, especially Malinga who the crowd seem to hero worship. A sweltering day so the shade was appreciated – had a few ice-creams and, in the absence of alcohol, a few chilled lemonades!
With hot dogs for lunch our total spend for the day on food and drinks was the equivalent of £5 – scandalous!! Just a little different to The Oval.
And, yes you guessed it, rain stopped play … we got to see the amazing performance of the ground staff pulling on the covers again – priceless. My goodness did it rain – so no further play … and England were declared the winners on the Duckworth-Lewis method (I could probably tell you all about that … but I won’t)!!
The owner of the hotel kindly came to our rescue, did a few bus trips to bring all his ‘cricket fan’ guests back to the safety and comfort of the hotel. They looked after us so well.
Chilled the rest of the day and had dinner at the hotel. Made two new friends in Richard and Judy (not likely to forget those names)! Planning to meet up again in Kandy.
Sunday 14th October 2018
Check-out day from Dambulla. Sad to be leaving this lovely hotel – they’ve become like family – funny how we always seem to get so attached to staff. It seems an age ago that we checked in and, to be honest, we weren’t sure at first … (1) it was pouring with rain and looked miserable (2) we were the only guests at the hotel (3) there was no wardrobe in the room and (4) Steve kept banging his head every time he walked through a door or down the stairs!! But we grew to love the place and the people, and by day 3 all the other cricket enthusiasts arrived – it’s been great fun. So we bid a fond farewell, promising to be back etc.
And so the hotel driver drove us, and another guest Paul, to our next stop in Kandy. An interesting journey, lots to see … and this driver was good, felt safe in his hands. We dropped Paul off first at his hotel and then we drove on and on and up and up and even further up till we got to our place – The Eagle Regency Boutique Hotel. It was on the steepest slope I think I have ever been driven on – how the brakes held the vehicle I don’t know! Such an amazing spot, nestled into a forest area – completely remote and almost in the clouds! Once again the staff were so welcoming … there were views to die for and the bedroom was fabulous … but, clearly these buildings are not designed for western heights, well particularly not Steve’s height – it was back to head-banging!
There really wasn’t a whole load to do locally – nothing in fact. We had a little chill time by the pool and then went down for dinner. The big question was – would they serve alcohol – ‘cus it was helluva trip down the hill to get a beer! We had a lovely young waiter who found the whole alcohol thing enlightening. We asked for a bottle of red wine and got a glass of wine. When I’d finished that we asked again for a bottle … “a bottle!!?” he questionably exclaimed “I will have to talk to the manager.” He shortly returned with a bottle of red Cinzano! So having educated him on the difference I asked for another glass of red wine … “another glass!!?” And when I asked for a third it nearly blew his mind. He didn’t bat an eyelid at Steve’s beer consumption however!
Dinner was delicious – once again we were the sole diners. The rain was lashing down by this point but it was all very atmospheric amongst the trees. The waiter kindly informed us that there are cheetahs and wild pigs in the surrounding forest. We were also joined by a jolly large spider … not my favourite but I was so brave!
We knew pretty soon though that we’d made a mistake – we were so incredibly far away from everything – as breathtaking as it was it just wasn’t going to be practical. So we secured another booking in the city and then explained to the Eagle hotel that we would have to check out tomorrow. They tried to talk us round offering us a tuk tuk to take us everywhere, even if Steve wanted to drive it himself! Now I like tuk tuks but I was not trundling up and down that mountain in one – whoever was driving!! They also offered us free wine tomorrow – clearly recognising that I was a lush! They were so lovely about it though – we felt terrible and made it clear that we were to blame.
Monday 15th October 2018
More farewells today … and even after only one night (and the fact that we were checking out early) the staff all gathered to help and say goodbyes. And so we left our second head-banging hotel.
The driver the hotel had arranged was a good man, a careful driver plus his English was pretty good. Looks like we may well have teamed up for the week (as you do)! On the way to the hotel he explained many of the sights (he is studying tourism) – we stopped off at the Kandy War Cemetery, a British military cemetery for soldiers of the British Empire who were killed during World War II. The age of some of these young men was so poignant.
Before driving us to the hotel, we stopped off at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium to pick up our tickets for later in the week. And what excitement, not only did we pass Malinga walking down the road, but we also got to watch our English lads training at the stadium – I’m becoming quite the groupie!
And after a few more viewing spots the driver took us to our hotel – The Queens Hotel, located in the centre of the city, overlooking Kandy Lake. It is a British Colonial 3 star hotel, one of the oldest hotels in the city with over 160 years of history. It has a great feel, SO grand yet so tired at the same time … but we love it. And get this … the doors are plenty tall enough for my giant of a husband! I think we’re going to love Kandy.
Finished off the day with a wander round the sites of Kandy and then walked by the lake till we found the ‘Slightly Chilled Lounge’ for something to eat. And who should we bump in to but a crowd of new friends from our previous hotel in Dambulla. Had a few drinks and catch up, exchanging our stories from the last couple of days. Hoping to meet up again.
Kandy is going to be a spectacular place to explore – really beautiful at night too when all lit up.