Weekend away in sunny Sigiriya

Finally, the weekend. A chance to actually get out there and explore. No more Green Lion co-ordinators showing us around. No more 8.30 curfew. It was the weekend and we finally had some free time. To be perfectly honest I didn’t do too much research about Sri Lanka prior to my trip, therefore didn’t really know about must-see attractions, however luckily some of the people who I had befriended were very prepared. As a group we decided to head to Sigiriya for the weekend and with the help of the Green Lion manager we had booked an extremely cheap place to stay for the night (worked out £16 for a room which which 4 of us shared – bargain!) and a taxi to drive us around ALL weekend.

Saturday:

Wake up call: 5am. Taxi arrival 6am to commence our 3 hour journey to our first stop in Polonnaruwa, the Ancient City of Sri Lanka. Now you can pay to see the Ancient ruins of Sri Lanka, however most of us girls (10 of us in total, including me) were cheap skates on a budget therefore we decided to see just the free areas. We were actually told there was a lot of more free stuff to see but this wasn’t the case. Despite this we had a really nice time even though we were only there for about an hour or two. On this trip we came across a beautiful lake that made me want to swim so badly and some beautiful looking ruins. We even treated ourselves to breakfast. Pancakes to be exact. I have never been so excited to eat pancakes in my entire life and it was the best thing ever. The poor cook was so overwhelmed, they probably never had such a big pancake order as they had that day nor probably ever will.

At the Lake
At the Lake

Ancient ruins in Polonnaruwa
Ancient ruins in Polonnaruwa
On from Polonnaruwa we set off to our next stop of the day. Minneriya National Park. Now this was the thing I was looking forward to the most. The girls had told me how roughly 250 wild elephants gather to this location in just September every year and it met my expectations and beyond. Seeing wild elephants compared to the domestic ones earlier this week was… out of this world. There is a clear difference. You can see the happiness, and you can feel the happiness just watching the elephants being able to run around freely and being with their families, with their herds. It was so overwhelmingly beautiful, and the best thing I’ll probably experience in my entire life. We were even lucky enough to see elephants mating which our jeep driver despite his lack of speaking the english language conveyed to us that it was very rare. This was definitely the highlight of the trip, and a highlight of my life. Leaving the park, I was on a high and I wanted to remain this way forever.

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After our trip to the National Park concluded we were taken to our guesthouse in Sigiriya. It was basic, but a step up from our current accommodation. And at £4 per person I don’t think you can really go wrong. I even got wifi for the first time properly since I arrived so finally got to speak to my friends and my Mum. Today was literally the best day ever.

Sunday:

Today’s plan, to climb Lion’s Rock. At 660ft high and 2,000 steps up I was not looking forward to this. I am not an active person. I do not like exercise. But I challenged myself. On this trip I forced myself to keep an open mind and try new things. Lion’s Rock was definitely this considering never in a million years would I optionally do this. It took 40 minutes to walk up, and it was tiring. It was hot. There were a lot of stairs. But I got to the top and I felt so proud of myself, the view from the top was breathtaking. A view I really deserved. It was so beautiful looking over Sri Lanka, and the top of Lion’s Rock is really cool too. You can walk around quite a lot and get a lot of different views. It’s funny as although I found this quite difficult it was actually far easier then the Big B on the hill (which was coincidentally the same height up) and as long as you take some breaks on the way I think anyone could do it. That being said on the way down my legs felt like jelly and I couldn’t walk properly, thankfully it only took 15 minutes. Lion’s Rock definitely looks worse than it is. With the climbing out of the way (my greatest achievement to date, no-one can kill this vibe) we made our journey back to Kandy, but first stopping off at a Western restaurant who actually served pasta. Really, really good pasta.

Note to self: Never, ever, ever order Curd and Treacle again. It is not Crème Brûlée like I was secretly wishing. It is sour and tart and if you like Buffalo curd milk then this is right up your street.

Before the climb (Lion's Rock in the background)
Before the climb (Lion’s Rock in the background)

Half way up Lion's Rock
Half way up Lion’s Rock

View from the top of Lion's Rock
View from the top of Lion’s Rock

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