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Sri Lanka 2022

Sri Lanka Day 14 – Pollonaruwa and Sigiriya

Another reasonably early start and we drove to the ancient city of Pollonaruwa for a look around, starting in the museum. We had enjoyed our stay at the Giritale Hotel and would have welcomed a second night there, enjoying the settings and the views.

However we had work to do, once through the museum with the man washing himself very thoroughly in the nearby river which distracted some of the ladies in the party, we studied the artifacts on show from this royal kingdom dating back to the 10th century AD.

It is a world heritage site, one of six that we are seeing on our trip (seven of you include Sigiriya) and it was the second capital of Sri Lanka after the destruction of Anuradhapura in 993. It comprises, besides the Brahmanic monuments built by the Cholas, the monumental ruins of the garden-city created by Parakramabahu I in the 12th century.

We were challenged to find the ancient toilet and Matt duly demonstrated how to use it. Having lowered the tone somewhat we pressed on to look at the Royal Baths (the intricate connections to the nearby reservoirs which meant water flowing down gentle slopes of 1 ince per mile, sadly are no longer working. But one gets the sense of the incredible feats of engineering achieved in that time.

The monkeys posed for us regally. We went to see a large stupa and a set of large buddha statues carved from one piece of rock.

All the sightseeing made us hungry and we were taken to a small countryside restaurant for another enormous buffet with a selection of 20 or more dishes, all cooked on woodwork three in the small home kitchen. The pile of large smoke encrusted clay pots outside showed the scale of the operation. Many unusual main course rice and curry dishes were sampled and then finished off with fruit, curd and treacle and a choice of sweet desserts.

We elected not to take up the jeep safari in the afternoon and six of us were taken to the hotel which we got to at about 3.30pm or so, called the Sigiriya Jungles, not the one that was on the itinerary, which was going to be the Kassala Lions Rock Hotel. We didn’t mind at all, as the hotel was very good indeed, large spacious rooms and a good swimming pool which I enjoyed despite the small children having noisy fun – how dare they!

We had dinner in the hotel, along with a bottle of wine, and a very enjoyable evening – Heather flushed several frogs down the toilet, but when I got up in the night there were still a number in the bathroom, but they knew to hop off before Heather got up again in the morning.

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