Early morning, the plane lands on the runway, still is darkness. The lights at the airport go into my eyes, trying to wake up, waiting in the line. I draw eyes and saw the beautiful stewardesses in turquoise and green saris. The low build, small, with long black hair, beautiful wide smile and white teeth. Welcome to Sri Lanka.
Going out with airport, dawn sun, we sat in the van that takes us to Negombo, a small fishing village on the west coast of the ocean. Of the capital Colombo, in which we landed, it is about 60 km away, thinking that I continue to sleep in the van, but we are curious to meet as soon as possible with this country, its streets, people, culture without peace and I try looking at the left and right to remember every picture that we are showing the way.
We are located right on the beach and after a little break, and when normal people get up and move around the town. Buddhist New Year, everyone on the streets, family walk, go to the temples, the crowd is. Most people were dressed nicely, women in saris different colors, men in trousers and shirts … And yes, it’s all just like everywhere else in the world, but they all go barefoot! April is warm, roller grills, but they do not mind. Relaxed, with big smiles, around the temples enjoy socializing.
We go round the group and go further in sightseeing. On the beach and the fish market. Huge chunks of material they are made bags are strewn along the beach, and on them the fish that is dried and prepared for sale.
The village is outdo with canals, see the great influence of the Dutch who were here as the colonists.
We go out to the beach, huge, beautiful, the waves are great, not many people enjoy. At one point we see that something is on our right going on and we are heading towards the city, and there: a lot of people, music, delicacies toothpaste … Adults stand or sit on the beach, while children enjoy splashing and swimming … Another ritual New Year’s party .
Swimming here can not be reduced below what we expect. On the island, the waves are crazy big, but are trying to maneuver all the time that you do not fall and to stay on your feet … Swimming here is only for the brave.
In Sri Lanka for the New Year no alcohol, so you are with a very tasty snack drink tea with ginger and went to sleep.
In the morning we go to Kandy, the second largest city on the island. City in the center of the island surrounded by jungle. Driving local van is a special experience. Full line, no passing, and all other rules do not apply here. Overtaking other drivers are hints grip on the siren. For a while we tried to look at this mess, but we realize that we do not have the stomach for it, and it’s better to mind our own business.
Kandy is a nice little town, colonial style. It is surrounded by hills, and in the center of town is lake. Kandy in the coming days will be a refuge, where we will go on a tour of all the important points around the island.
We are located on a hill above the town, offering a view of the entire Kandy.
Thanks to the monsoon rains, the island is so rich water to vegetation is still incredibly green and luxuriant. Everywhere are palm trees, various plants, bamboo trees …
Peradeniya the botanical garden is located in the city. One of the most beautiful that I have visited. It stretches over 60 hectares and has about 4 000 different plant species. A beautiful avenue of palm trees, the forest bats that sleep in the branches of trees, here and there some flies above our heads, bamboo forest, monkeys freely walk in the park. After a hot day’s grace to walk.
In April, when we be in Sri Lanka, the monsoons are on the eastern side of the island, which is why we visit the central and western part. However, we did not know to easily and quickly move us one day in Kandy caught such a cloud monsoon rains that we could not believe it for one hour only so much water can fall from the sky.
Luckily, it has not rained for more than an hour, but the time we spent in closed local market. We stopped near the stall with unusual fruits, we have never seen and tasted , very kind seller made a small presentation and tasting. Each type we chop, served with the story and how it is grown, with any part of the island, which is eaten … Once again confirmed its intent to the people of Sri Lanka a very cordial and friendly. We bought some fruit and, as the rain had stopped, went further afield.
Otherwise, prices on the island for us more than affordable.
In the city center there is a Buddhist tooth temple, which is still kept Buddha’s tooth. And it not only keeps, but from time to time walk around the city.
The temple is magnificent and a lot of people in it. For entry and exit, there are mandatory procedures, or rapidly perform is keeping a minimum. Women must cover shoulders and legs, and all must be no shoes.
Tradition has it that the Buddha worship, that is, bring the lotus flower, and to worship relic. We did that, and then some more to enjoy in the temple, his garden and admired the honest and committed relationship of Buddhist believer.
At the end of the day we ended up at in Kandy Cultural Centar, located on the lake to watch the performance of traditional dancers. The first fifteen minutes I was interesting, and then I was overcome tiredness and I slept through half of the show.
Otherwise, the entire island, as night falls, the city was virtually empty. Life on the streets stop, all retreat into their homes. Night life is almost no exist.
Early in the morning, and awakens us a crash. We woke up the drowsy as we do not know what has happened to us, what is happening. The monkeys on the balcony trying to rob us. We chased them, ate the fruit of the week for breakfast and headed to the expedition planned for the day.
Our first destination is the spices garden, plantation and garden were a wonderful experience. We learned how to look and see many species of plants. What surprised me, and I did not know is that almost pineapple grows out of the ground. Do not ask me why, but I thought it was harvested from trees. I learned something.
Moving on to the north, but at one point the van stops. Middle of the road held games without frontiers. All involved, from the youngest to the oldest. For some time the reserve until the game is not finished and the time it is released while we continue to Dambulla. It is a complex of five temples in the cave, the most famous and best-preserved cave temple complex in.
The next is the Golden Temple, and then comes the Sigiriya (Lion’s rock). Two hundred meters high cubic rocks on the plain where long ago one of their kings made himself a palace. The frescoes, which you can see here are among the most valuable works of art of Asia.
To the top of the climb steel stairs that go around the walls, and then from the top moving horizontally to the top. The stairs are narrow, crowded on them, it is not wise to look left or right, to me at least he was afraid, but because after two hours, when you reach the top pompous wonders of nature, pat yourself on the back you have succeeded and then enjoy the view . One of the charms of traveling to see live these places and enjoy their magic.
Our skin is flushed, we were dead tired, weak at the knees, but we continue.
Next stop – elephant orphanage Pinnawala. Reserve who has accepted all the elephants who were killed during the war with the Tamils. There are hundreds of them, but here at last this noble animal found peace and freedom. Visitors villages often have the opportunity to feed them, cuddle and enjoy their swimming in a nearby river. And we have moved into the restaurant on the river to eat and have a drink and strengthen after a busy day.
We leave Kandy and go further to Nuwara Eliya. It is a town in the hills at about 2000 m above sea level in the central part of the island. It is also called Little England because there are tea plantations that are majority owned by Englishmen. Look at the plantation is fantastic, every now and then we stood to make even the occasional photo. On plantations mostly women picking tea leaves. They explained and showed us from any part of the plant produced green, from which black, from which white tea – which is also the most expensive.
We go in one of the factory to show us the whole process of making tea.
It all starts on the plantations where we were a while ago and watched the tea bushes are harvested. Harvested only young leaves. For one kilogram of tea you need to pick about six kilograms of leaves. The washed leaves are put in the sun to dry and oxidize and thus gets black tea. The leaves that are not drought but go further in processing transactions are becoming green tea. From the resulting white tea buds. Of course there is classification by strength in each of teas and they are in the business of selling vary in price.
After touring the factory we sit to taste. I’m not a fan of tea, for me is so strong, but we market several types to bring home as gifts. The taste and smell of these teas is not nearly the same as the one offered in our stores.
We arrive in the evening in Nuwara Eliya. Here is a lot fresher. We walked a bit through the city, drinking, buy coconut brandy and sat down to eat. The food is very spicy, you need to stress to be more moderate in the seasoning. Rice, of course, the basis of most meals, we dinner rice with curry.
In the morning we decide to split up from our friend and his girlfriend and another that will be the day to climb Adam’s Peak. Buddha left the imprint of his foot and Buddhists at least once in their lives have to climb to this holy place.
To the top you need to travel more than 5 000 steps, so my boyfriend and I decide that we do not have the power, the will or desire to follow the two of them to the hiking.
We take that day the driver and rent a tuk-tuk to take us on a tour to the falls which are among the most beautiful in the world. Waterfalls, rivers and lush greenery from which these eyes hurt. People here are very curious but have a million questions. So we are in conversation with our driver and we learn through the story a lot of interesting data.
My boyfriend was not clear that the Tamils have managed to be both powerful and resourceful to run here so long war against the nation. While they led men’s conversations, I played with the children, offering them candy and enjoyed. Buy spices that we take home, day passes slowly, and we are lounging on the terrace and we are waiting for friends to return from hiking. When they returned visibly exhausted and told us everything, showed us pictures of what they saw and experienced, we were very proud of them. For them we cut the durian, a fruit that we buy that day at the market.
Otherwise, the hotel or any public place, you will see a picture durian a warning that he was not allowed to eat. When you cut away feeling strong odors, not at all pleasant. However, when you put in your mouth that’s the sweetest thing you’ve ever tasted in my life.
We go to Hikkaduwa. Along the way, we find a Hindu temple and stopping to see him. So far on the island we visited by Buddhist temple, so we were surprised and intrigued by this. Everything is colorful, statues, statue … as if we were in an amusement temple. One kind man devoted own time and explained to us and told all about the temple, their religion and gods.
The path takes us through beautiful landscapes and villages. The tsunami was here a few years ago that damaged part of the island and brought great misery to the people who live here. Today, the majority of all repaired and there is no trace of a huge wave made.
Hikkaduwa. When I think of happiness, I think of this place when we smile stretched and eyes shine. Little piece of paradise!
The seven day’s we spend located on the beach. We made here ourselves small rituals.
We get up in the morning, eat breakfast, sweet juicy pineapple, and then spend the day on the white sand, dabble too deep in the Indian Ocean, sip squeezed juices from mango and papaya or sip a cold Lion beer.
The waves of the strongest and biggest I have ever seen and experienced. They break free, and if you and encourage you jump in, you draw immense power in yourself, so it’s sometimes difficult to get back to the surface.
Surfers and surf boards on all sides. Endless space, walking along the beach, a reflection of the sky, sea shells, wind, sea that stretches to the horizon forever. I do not have the right words to describe and convey the sunset that can be seen here every day.
The main street along the beach is filled with shops, souvenir shops and small restaurants. In one of the street restaurants we ate the best vegetarian kottu roti corner of the real. Kottu roti is a traditional dish in Sri Lanka. You can also enjoy the beach, which will serve the fish they caught that day, tiger shrimps, prawns, crabs. Barefoot, your feet in the sand, with the glow of candles, watching the sea, eat its fruit and drink wine with your loved: enjoying to the maximum .
Here it is simple, easy pace, calmly. The interesting thing is that there is only one lodging in the tap, cold. Water is not heated, there is no need, is so hot outside that the water that comes from the waterworks pleasant temperature and does not need the heat.
Not far from Hikkaduwa is a Dutch village Galle. We go to the city by bus. People usually pop up when you need to come out, but if you must, or if the driver sees that you are a tourist who can not cope with this turning, the driver will be happy to stop the bus.
Two hours walking and we visited the whole village. With tuk-tuk we continue toward a little cove where the jungle beach, tucked away, hidden from civilization, where the ocean is calm and where we enjoy swimming in a long time.
The next day we drive to the Mirissa and Unawatuna, the most beautiful beach on the island. On the beach, we encountered a lot of small turtles that are trying to get their hands across the sand ocean. Only here and only here you can see fishermen standing on sticks and fishing in the ocean. We tried me, is not easy.
What is also worth mentioning the Green lagoon Madu river. We drove the boat through it, toured the temple which is located on an island in the lagoon, went to the place where they showed us how to make cinnamon twigs, we play ourselves, but we were not successful. On one part of the lagoon we stopped and went to a pedicure. Fishes have done their job while we drank coconut milk.
Ajuveda massage for the end of the day. Monsoons are coming to this part of the island and it’s time to go home.
Sri Lanka the former Ceylon is one of the few country that can boast so many natural riches and beauty. The island, which is also called tear India is no ordinary island, this is a special place with a unique nature, varied and delicious food and smiling and cheerful people. To me it is paradise on earth. We’ll see you again, expect us.
By: Ivana Kovačević