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Rafal's Travel log

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Life is a journey - enjoy it

Log entries 31 - 40 of 197 Page: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Mar 08, 2013 10:00 PM Mission almost impossible

Mission almost impossible I rented a bicycle for entire day. Although I was not that sure about this idea it was great and I survived crazy Lanka drivers. The ruins of ancient capital of Polonnaruwa are very spread so the best way to see them is with a bicycle. After paying the entrance fee (25 usd) I had a half of the day to sightsee the area. A tip for the one who will plan to visit Polonnaruwa. It is better in the morning, as in the afternoon sun shine behind the temples and it is very difficult to take a good picture.
Polonnaruwa was built almost 1.000 years ago, by the King Vijayabahu I. Until today many splendid ruins of the buildings survived. The greatest are Quadrangle, Lankatilaka temple and the statues at Gal Vihariya (huge images of Buddha carved in the rock). After I spend the evening having long bike ride next to the artificial lake. I found out that people here to protect against mosquitoes use special lemon liquid. I don't know is it work that well but I must admit that I like my lemon perfumes :)

Mar 07, 2013 10:00 PM Rain on the rock

Rain on the rock Sigiriya is a small village located on Sri Lanka plains. A huge rock located in the middle of the village make its center. It is a place chosen by the King Kassapa to built here its capital. The entrance fee is same high as the rock - 30 usd. From the early morning weather was not the best. It was very cloudy. Then after an hour of sightseeing a huge tropical rain came. It was heavy raining for more than 20 minutes and I got almost completely wet although some local guy shared with me his umbrella (thank you very much Sir!). Then I could hike again. It takes around two hours to get on top of the rock (depending on how many school students is there). From the top is wonderful view over the area. Lush forest and with mountains in the background. I could also see the frescoes in one of the walls. In one of the niche is a series of paintings of buxom, wasp - waisted women, popularly believed to represent either apsaras or King Kassapa's concubines. Another magnificent reminiscent of King Kassala are the brick made 5 th century Lion's Paws (the only thing that survived from huge Lion statue). On my way back another storm came to Sigiriya.

Mar 06, 2013 10:00 PM The Mammal bath

The Mammal bath As I missed the Uda Walewe National Park, the next best place to see the Elephant is in Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage. It used to be a place to save the elephants but now is more like zoo. I paid 2.000 rupias for the entrance and I had a chance to see a huge group elephants having bath. They were lovely. Small elephants were playing and having fun and the older ones were looking after the youth. But I could also see the chains on some elephants legs and if tourist want they can have a ride on an elephant. So I truly don't know what to think about the place. If it is still a place to save this big mammals or it is a place to earn money. After I took a bus to Dambulla. There are magnificent cave temples with many Buddha statues and figures (entrance fee 1.500 rupias). The biggest effort was to climb up.
There is one interesting thing here. In every tourist attraction, every time I see many school students. There are hundreds of them. On one hand is good to know the history of a country, but it is impossible to sightseeing anything in calm. And the students are always more interested in foreigners than in the place they are in that moment.

Mar 05, 2013 10:00 PM Candy Kandy

Candy Kandy Kandy is a first of historical sites in Sri Lanka that I wanted to visit. Everywhere it is said that it is the most pleasant city in the country. The city has a huge lake in the middle and famous Temple of the Tooth. The Tamil tigers tried to blow it up in 1998, they didn't succeed and after big destruction the temple received a huge face lift (admission 1.000 rupias, legs and shoulders should be covered). After visiting the temple I walked around the city. It has everything - very lively, many historical buildings and other religious places (Hindu and Christian temples). After seeing that I decided to have a look on two temples located in Kandy's vicinity. I took a bus to Empakka (I never seen such crowded bus) and there as the temple is around 1.5 kilometers I took a tuk tuk. Unfortunately the temple was full of school students and it was impossible to see something there. Moreover some greedy monk demanded from me 200 rupias for admission, although entrance should be for free. Then I went to see Lankatilake Temple. It was simply stunning. Two temples in one located on a high hill over the village.

Mar 04, 2013 10:00 PM We have only bluer trains

We have only bluer trains I was little bit worry about the weather after yesterday rains, but from the early morning it very sunny. I had a great, easy hike to Little Adam's Peak from where are the great views over the Ella's Rock, Rawana waterfalls and Ella's gap. Marvelous. Then I took a short bus ride to the Rawana waterfalls, which are also very nice. But I was already in a short of time - so I packed quickly, I took tuk tuk to the train station, to embark the train to Kandy. There are few classes of journey, but as yesterday 2nd class was very comfortable I decided to take the same ticket (250 rupias = 2usd). I asked the station manager, if it will be the same type (blue) of train and he confirmed. But when the train arrived it figured out that it was very old type of train. So instead of having comfortable journey I had an adventure. The journey was marvelous. Small stations (surprisingly very well maintained), slow train many local people inside. The route leads through stunning areas. Views were breathtaking. High mountains, deep valleys, tea plantations..... When I got to Kandy it was already dark (journey took 6,5 hours).

Mar 03, 2013 10:00 PM World's End postopned

World's End postopned It should be a wonderful day, but unfortunately weather destroyed everything. I woke up at 4 am to be ready to see World's End (natural wonder in the Horton Plains). From the early morning it was raining heavily. Our rented bus was not in a best condition and the breaks got hot after 30 minutes (the driver stop few times to cool them down with the cold water from the stream :) . When we got to the gates of the park it strated to rain even more heavy so the walk was simply impossible and we came back to Hatupale. It only means that the World's End is postponed for me ;). Our driver was very funny because he was in panic about the breaks on the way up, but on the way down he was very relaxed :). As the rain stopped for a while I went to see the tea plantation founded by Sir Thomas Lipton (ticket 250 rupias = 2 USD). It was nice, but nicer was to see the fields of tea bushes. I noticed also hard work conditions of plantation workers. As I have no timer to try again World's End I took a scenic train journey to Ella in the evening.

Mar 02, 2013 10:00 PM Small dream come true

Small dream come true That was an exhausting day. In the morning I left Galle and took a bus to Matara, From there I found the bus to Wellawaya (200 rupias) and there after 30 minutes waiting I found the bus to Haputale(100 rupias). In that way I found in the Hill Country next to many Sri Lanka's attractions. Although between Galle and Haputale in only 220 kilometers I was travelling for 8-9 hours. The last part to Haputale was the most scenic with high mountains, waterfalls and stunning scenery. Haputale is located 1450 m above the sea level so is very chilly here. The town itself is rather ugly but is the best place to see the Horton Plains and tea plantations.
Because in every bus in Sri Lanka radio is crucial I am already an expert about their music. But after 5 hours of local "pop" music I was extremely happy when the radio in the bus broke. It was exactly the thing I was dreaming about:)

Mar 01, 2013 10:00 PM Lanka Ashok Leyland

Lanka Ashok Leyland Lanka Ashok Leyland is a king of Sri Lanka's roads. This buses are everywhere. They are colorful, old, loud and their drivers are crazy. Some of them have the Buddha images inside. Maybe it is for luck when they are driving like a crazy :). One of the surprises here is that not that many people speak English. If they don't understand what I am saying they still confirm. That cause many problems like when I tried to find out about buses timetable. On Galle's bus station three people (all of them bus station staff) gave me different information. So I don't truly know what time my bus leave tomorrow. :(.
After this adventure I had a chance to admire wonderful Sri Lanka beaches. They are stunning. White (or golden) sand, crystal blue water, palm trees... like a paradise. Even the nearby located national road is not disturbing that much.
Sri Lanka changes quickly. When I wanted to make a picture to the fisherman (they are fishing when sitting on a pole - like a storks) one of them came and demanded 1 usd per person for pictures... So dear Globies what would you do on my place?.....

Feb 28, 2013 10:00 PM Tsunami was here

Tsunami was here Today I came to Galle, an old town south of Colombo. Although the distance is not that huge it took me four hours by bus. Our driver was crazy, completely. Sometimes I opened my eyes very wide when I saw what he was doing. The main attraction of Galle is its an old fort. Built by the Portuguese and upgraded by the Dutch. Its massive walls were able to defend itself against huge tsunami wave and thanks to it not that many buildings were destroyed within the fort walls. The new part of Galle was less lucky and tsunami hit it whit devastating power. Many people was killed here. Today there are not that many scratches after tsunami, some buildings are still abandoned and destroyed but most of them are already rebuilt. It is very pleasant place to spend some time. With old houses, restaurants, cafeterias and art galleries.

Feb 27, 2013 10:00 PM Do you want to marry me?

Do you want to marry me? Finally I reached Colombo. The city is noisy and nice. As my hotel is quite far from the center I had a long walk along Galle Road and then in Galle Face. Galle Face is a pedestrian area just next to the ocean. In the evening thousands of locals come here to admire the sunset (they say that is spectacular). I wasn't dissapointed either overwhelmed by it. It was simply nice. But I liked very much to observe the local people enjoying the time. Entire families, group of friends - laughing, chatting, having fun outside. Those are the things that is more and more difficult to see in the western societies. When I was trying to make some pictures a group of girls came to me and started to investigate me; How old I am, Why I came here? Did I came alone? Why? Am I married etc etc. And finally one of them asked me: Do you want to marry me? It was so funny. Then I spent some time in Colombo downtown. I wanted to finish my evening with the glass of beer. But it was so difficult to find, that when I found it I paid European price 5 eur!!!!

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