Thursday, June 02, 2011

Honeymoon Part 1 – 6 nights in Sri Lanka

After a night at the airport, and a couple of hours in the VIP lounge, we boarded our first flight at lunchtime on Monday. The first leg was on an Airbus A380 – the Super-Jumbo. It’s a great plane, even in cattle class we had a good amount of space. We were flying with Emirates, so all the in flight food and entertainment was good. I enjoyed having a choice of food! We changed at Dubai in the middle of the night, and so we tried to sleep for much of the next leg. We were on a Boeing 777 for that leg, which doesn’t really compare! Still, we arrived in Colombo, Sri Lanka, at about 8am local time, and once we’d picked up our bags we headed out to meet our Kuoni rep and our Driver.

Day 1
Once we’d met Monroe, our driver, he took us away from Colombo and we got on the road to Kandy. One thing to say about Sri Lanka is that the transit system isn’t exactly the autobahn. However, before we really knew it we were at our first stop. A small museum dedicated to the Asian Elephant. We found out some interesting facts, such as that the Asian Elephant’s ear is shaped like India. (Okay, we knew that too) or that only 3% of male Asian Elephants have tusks (we didn’t know that) and that they’re used in Sri Lanka in much the same way as horses were (and sometimes still are) used in the UK.

We visited a suspension bridge where part of Indiana Jones was filmed, which was pretty cool. It was amazingly humid!

We had a massage to round off the day (the rest was travel! Kandy is a long way from Colombo!) and a lovely evening in our first hotel, the Chaaya Citadel. It was a really nice hotel!

Day 2
Our second day we headed off to an ancient monument in Sri Lanka, known as Lion Rock (Sigiriya).

We climbed up to the frescoes and saw those, it’s a shame how much has been lost over the centuries, but it was well worth seeing. These frescoes were centuries old!

Then we climbed up the last scary set of steps to the very top of the rock. The top part would have been the summer palace, we were told, with the gardens on the way up being part of the winter palace. I think that the main difference between summer and winter is the amount of rain that they have.

It took us a long time to get all the way up, and about half that time to get back down again.
It looks cloudy, and it was a bit cloudy, but it was so hot you wouldn't believe! 

I bought some lovely carved elephants there too! On the way back we stopped off at a giant golden Buddha. I’m pretty sure it’s painted gold as opposed to being actual gold.

Day 3
We packed up our stuff, as we were moving hotels, and headed off to the Temple of the Tooth during the time when the tooth is “visible” – by which I mean that you can see it from three rooms away, and it’s in its own container, so no actual tooth seeing.

 It's the white thing back three rooms in that picture. See?

Still, the temple itself is amazing, and there is lots to see there. Our driver conducted a personal tour for us, which was great because there wasn’t a lot of signage.

Our next stop was Nuwara Eliya, in the tea district. I loved this part of the trip.

The weather was a little cooler, and much less humid. There were rose trees everywhere! And it smelled of tea. Everywhere you looked there were tea plants. It was amazing. We drank tea there too, and brought some home. Tea in this country is a shadow in comparison to proper Sri Lankan tea!

Day 4
We had a nice relaxed day. I spent some time in the morning reading in the gardens (it was a nice temperature to sit out in) and pottering around. (Hubby was feeling ill, so stayed in bed).

In the afternoon, when he was feeling better, we went to the botanical gardens nearby.

It was beautiful, and I really enjoyed the quiet pace of the day. (It set us up well for the next day which was to be hectic.) On the way back to the hotel we stopped at the post office in Nuwara Eliya itself, where they had a King George VI post box!

We had another night at the hotel there, the Tea Factory. The service there was amazing, and the staff were all so helpful when I asked them not to disturb hubby as he wasn't feeling well - they even offered to call the doctor if we needed him!

Day 5
Most of the morning of day 5 was travelling, though we stopped off at a nice waterfall on the way, and saw some wildlife.

But that was just on the way to the highlight of the day: Safari!

 Well, the pictures speak for themselves, don't they?

We even saw more elephants on the way to our final hotel in Colombo... This was on the elephant highway, so they are behind an electric fence.

Where we bid farewell to our guide, and checked in for one last night.

The hotel was amazing, it had its own beach too. There were at least three weddings going on while we were there! I loved the traditional saris, and there was a girl in a very European looking gown too, but different somehow - more sparkly I think!

It was an amazing 7 days, and then we had the pleasure of jetting off to the Maldives for the second half of our honeymoon. I'll post about that later.

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