A big rock and a town in the mountains

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Sunday started early. We had breakfast at 6.30 am to be off to Sigiryas Rock palast before the biggest heat which was a good idea because we started to make our way towards the rock before the biggest crowds appeared. Saying this, one hint: Contrary to the information in all our guide books the ticket booth seems to open already at 7 am and not 8.30 am. So you can have a proper early start and pay the super high entry fee of 3,900 Rupees or 30$. I can’t remember having paid so much for an entry before. But I admit, what you get for it is impressive.

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First you walk through a lush water garden. Anyway everything is super green in Sri Lanka. And hot and damp. Lonely planet says you should climb the hill first and don’t go roaming around the gardens to avoid climbing in the midday heat. But what it doesn’t say is that there is a second parking, supposed to be the pick up place and therefore exit of the area which when walking there doesn’t really lead you back through the gardens anymore. So if you come by bus/with a group, keep that in mind. You can leave the (unmarked) way to the exit to roam the gardens further but make sure which exit you want to end up.
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Even though we entered the area at 7.59 am and left by 10.30 am it was already super hot when we climbed the rock. The first part is conquered via normal stone steps. Then there is a part when going for the murials or frescoes where you need to climb a metal see through spiral staircase clinging to the rock somewhere up on the rock. This was already a “Katha slightly starts to panic” moment for me. But when on the last bigger plateau before the summit I saw a huge metal staircase hanging from the rock I was absolutely happy with the view I had from there. I knew that I would absolutely die on the way up already and wouldn’t be able to enjoy the view from the summit knowing I would need to get down again. Only thinking about having to go down again made me panic. So I decided to be reasonable and live with pictures and the stories from the summit.
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I waited until the first one from our group was going down again and followed her. She was luckily very understanding and I made it back down without problems or panic. The only leftover I am still nursing since then are sore thighs. And very sore they are. The others say either that they have no problems at all or have sore calves. I really don’t understand this. I don’t do much sports but it’s not that I don’t do any and yet I can hardly walk down stairs and don’t really walk properly right now.
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We then drove on to Kandy in the middle of Sri Lanka. This time it was only a 3 hours drive which was divided in two parts by a long and relaxing lunch break and a walk through a spice garden. The walk was semi interesting. Of course it was nice to know how many of the spices grow that we use yet it was more of a warm up to a selling show which we then happily skipped. Still we arrived in Kandy by half past three and like this had time to go for a walk in the city by daylight.
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Kandy is built around an artificial lake and home of the temple of the tooth (one of Buddha, if you were wondering). We walked past the temple as we were planning to visit it the next day and then it started to rain. So we just had some cake and tea, went shopping in a supermarket and after having found out where to buy beer there we went to our hotel. By the way, beer or alcohol in general is quite a taboo in Sri Lanka. Alcohol is only sold in licensed places and asking for where to find some caused about the same reactions as asking for a whore and some cocaine in a western supermarket…

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