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.
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.