Friday 19th October 2018
Steve was feeling a shade better today so we headed out early to find an alternative breakfast venue – local options were egg & onion or fish rolls so we headed back to the hotel for the more palatable option of eggs on toast (so English)!
We had decided on a trip to the Botanical Gardens this morning … thinking it was a 10 minute trip we bagged ourselves a tuk tuk. It turned out to be more like 25 minutes and a fairly crazy 25 minutes at that … it’s like high-speed dodgems, how it all works I just don’t know. I clung on to Steve most of the time with my eyes closed – but it got us to the most beautiful of places, definitely the best Botanical Gardens we have ever visited (and we’ve been to a few)! First opened in the 1820s it’s so impressive, with the tallest of trees, stunning palm avenues, a section of pretty flowering trees, an orchid house with magnificent scents – and all kept in immaculate condition – full credit to the team of smiley gardeners. Highly recommend a visit if ever you’re in Kandy.
And then another mad tuk tuk ride back to the hotel – another lung full of fumes! I love tuk tuks in other areas of the country but in a busy city it’s not the most pleasurable of experiences. Am I losing my sense of adventure – I hope not – I just prefer more chilled places.
The morning had pretty much washed Steve out as he was still not back to full strength. So we had a little pool time and then he crashed out for most of the afternoon and evening while I caught up on blogging. The internet in the hotel is painfully slow so it took great effort and patience – but at least it killed the time while Steve continued his recovery.
Saturday 20th October 2018
Steve definitely on the mend – funny how it coincides with cricket day! An early breakfast and then Sheik came to collect us to drive us to the stadium. We met up with Richard and Judy in the ground and sat with them for the day. It was perfect because Steve and Richard were able to sit together and talk all things cricket, and Judy and I got to sit together and talk all things not cricket (although we did concentrate on the game too)!
We saw a decent amount of cricket today, from 9.45am – 4.00pm – and then the heavens opened, so all was abandoned. England won though on ‘Duckworth Lewis method.’ It’s all about the winning!
The drive home was torturous – heavy traffic from the cricket added to heavy rain – it took us over 2 hours to get back to the hotel, and our clothes were drenched. Being a dark miserable evening we didn’t fancy venturing far … and Steve was still not ready for a return to spice so I’m embarrassed to admit that we crossed the road to eat in Pizza Hut. As we tucked into our Margherita and coleslaw however, we had a great view of Sri Lankan city life from the window – passengers getting on and off buses while the buses were moving, pedestrians taking life in their hands crossing the zebra crossing, tuk tuks grinding to a halt to pick up fares with cars having to emergency stop behind them, dustbin men in flip flops clinging on precariously to the back of the lorry whizzing around the busy streets … there’s always so much life to observe in a city, just nice from the safety of an upstairs window.
Sunday 21st October 2018
So today we leave Kandy. We had just left ourselves time to visit the Temple of the Tooth … and as the entrance was directly opposite our hotel it was a fairly simple task. The temple houses the relic of the tooth of Buddha making it a significant temple – all Sri Lankan buddhists are required to visit once in their lifetime. There has been some comings and goings with the tooth over the years and there is some debate as to ‘the tooth or not the tooth!’
It was a beautiful and serene experience however. Once we got through the militant clothes check, we joined the throng of visitors, predominantly ladies in white cotton and broderie anglaise dresses, and walked along the path leading up to the temple, bearing our lotus flower offerings. Once inside we mingled with the devotees as they prayed and laid their offerings – the interior elaborately carved and painted.
After the temple visit we managed to get checked out of the hotel, after a line up of smiley staff all waiting for their tip. And so we set off on the long journey to Colombo.
Kandy’s been brilliant – we didn’t get to see as much as we possibly could have done due to ‘loose motion’ problems (as they like to call it here)! I couldn’t help but think of the Burl Ives song …. Big Rock Candy Mountain … “oh, the buzzin’ of the bees and the cigarette trees, the soda water fountain, where the lemonade springs and the bluebird sings in that Big Rock Candy Mountain.” We saw plenty of trees but not quite of the cigarette variety!
Colombo … here we come.