On the day of the long climb to Nuwara Eliya, we passed through such dramatically beautiful scenery that it was almost too much to handle! And then the long climb to the top was a real challenge but so worth it for the feeling once we got to the top. All the time we were cheered on and encouraged by the friendly locals smiling and waving. Such a rich experience encompassing awe, determination, pride, hilarity, exhaustion, camaraderie, satisfaction, relief and feeling overwhelmed and humble.
There was a very special moment at Gal Vihara at Polonnaruwa where there were hundreds of pilgrims including many families laying offerings at the shrines of the massive Buddhas carved into the rock. The whole atmosphere was very special. Peaceful, respectful, relaxed and warm with a real sense of importance. A little girl was talking to me and we were having a conversation, practising her English. Her uncle gave me some flowers to lay at the shrine which I then did. It was a very moving experience to receive such warmth from a local family and to have the oportunity to be part of such a special place.
I didn't mention the elephants, kingfishers, eagles, lizards, monkeys and peacocks.
Or the colourful tuk tuks and buses, musical bakery vans, 'ice chock' sellers, cycle-by fish sellers and families on mopeds.
Or the beach cricket, slow bike races, pass the hat and coconut bowling.
Or the kids playing volleyball, riding their bikes, flying kites and running alongside us making friends.
Or the coconut sambal, mango chutney, curd and treacle, banana fritters, lentil fritters and ginger beer.
Or the temples, markets and shrines.
Or the wonderful support crew of Upali, Kasun and Amila. Big thanks to you guys, you are amazing.
Or the wonderful group of people I had the pleasure of spending an amazing two weeks with. Thank you for all the fun and friendship.