Kandy and the ancient cities

I spend the first week of the New Year traveling with Itay and Aviv. We take a train to Kandy on the 1st. We have a good time with Benjamin from CS who shows us around. We have a drink at “Helga’s Folly”, this place is a must see in Kandy, a mix of British culture or maybe the “Family Adams” house!

The day after is supposed to be a smooth drive (we hired a car) to Sigiriya via Polannaruwa. The driver proposes us many further stops (Matale, Dambule and a lovely spice garden) so that we reach Sigiriya in the evening.

The motivation of sight seeing is quite different when you come on 3 weeks holidays from your daily work or when you travel for many months. On such a rhythm, you see so many sites that sometimes you simply don’t need yet another temple or fort. On many sites, I enjoyed more exploring around than following the crow in the “highlights”. I can also hardly refrain from comparing the sites.

Like Bagan in Myanmar, Pollonaruwa is a site you best visit with a bicycle, enjoying the ride around. But the sights are quite far from what I saw in Bagan, at least from the few we could see: there are only ruins remaining from the royal palace; the Quadrangle contains 4-5 main temples nice to see, but nothing exceptional.

Sigiriya plays in another league and might well be the most impressive archeological site in Sri Lanka. The walk all the way up is amazing, even under the rain. It starts with the plain gardens, then the stairs up to the magnificent frescos depicting voluptuous women and still further up until the platform on the top of the 370m rock. It used to be a city or at least a temple on the top, from which not much remains. It does not rival with Macchu Picchu on the same kind, but it is still impressive, particularly because of the geology: the cliffs around the rock are so straight! You see some carving in the rock for the stairs of that time, some almost on vertical rocks. Aviv, Itai and I have a lot of fun taking photographs!

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