For weeks I had been saying that I wanted to spoil myself for a night, I was growing travel weary, tired of dorm rooms, long buses and constantly moving. When in Galle I had talked with another traveler who had hear if you wanted to splurge for a night, the Sigirya Hotel was worth it, mostly in part for the pool and view of Sigirya Rock. I knew I was going to spend at least one night in the city so I considered doing so at this hotel, but a little research persuaded me otherwise, and for good reason.
Entrance to Sigiriya opens at 7 am, wanting to avoid the crowds and heat I made sure to be one of the first to arrive the following morning. As I approached the park I passed an older man who offered a friendly “Good Morning” and told me to enjoy, we parted as he entered at the side (locals don’t require a ticket) and I continued towards the entrance. After entering the park and making my way through the water gardens we met again, the same big smile plastered across his face as minutes before. He told me to take my time, “Slowly, slowly climb the rock” and offered a parting handshake as I continued on my way. I did as he said and continued along slowing, taking time to appreciate where I was, take a few photos and catch my breath (there’s a ton of stairs). About halfway up the rock, there he was again, my smile friend and I soon realized he’d be with me the rest of the way...
The first two weeks of my visit to Sri Lanka were spent without hitting many of the “must see” destinations, I saved all the history for the tail end, but almost missed it. Friends, new and old, nearly persuaded me to head back to Ella, a place that I didn’t really want to leave in the first place. Eventually though I realized it’d be silly to come and not conquer the rock, Lion’s rock, in Sigiriya, so despite the heat and unappealing bus ride I made my way north.
A Google search for "Sri Lanka" will most definiltey return at least one result for the must do, "Epic" train ride from Ella to Kandy (or vice versa). I read countless blogs which equated this to the highlight of their trip, a once in a lifetime ride, and breathtaking views, all in all it was something to not be missed during my visit to Sri Lanka. After a few days in Ella I was due to leave, meeting an old friend in Kandy my time in the sleepy yet enchanting town was coming to an end. Due to some of those blogs I read and a fellow traveler I talked to, I decided to book my train ticket ahead of time. This was another learning experience, neither was it necessary or beneficial to pay the extra price and be prepared, but you live and learn. The price difference was small so I decided to book a first class ticket, but that was a mistake.
To be quite honest I have no idea where my desire to travel to this country originated, but it festered and grew for nearly 3 years. In a sense it's a cleaner, safer, smaller India and having always had that country on my radar it seemed like the perfect test drive.