Picture this, India and I sat on a bus to Hikkaduwa, torrential rain and she poses the question “Alice did you research this trip? October is the rainiest month of the year you know”. My response, “ummm I knew it was cross over for the seasons?”. Lesson number 1 when planning your destination check rainfall in the tropics otherwise that image of you lazing on the beach, blue sky, sun beating down will actually be you and your friend sat under a veranda drinking a bottle of questionable wine to pass a soggy eve.
Nonetheless I had fallen in love with Sri Lanka and it’s laid back style. One of the simplest pleasures for me is travelling by bus or train which both run along the coastline so I can gaze at the turquoise sea and dream of potential surf spots.
In Sri Lanka rice and curry is the national dish. Each curry we tried offered a new culinary delight and a whole host of spices and flavours. India and I were particularly fond of this curry with the red rice and pumpkin!
We were surprised to discover that food was served not only on ceramic but also metal. This vegan restaurant in Unawatuna served delicious healthy food on a giant steel plate! I would soon discover in India the array of metal plates to eat from.
Our quest for yoga was achieved in Unawatuna with private classes with Asiri (there are benefits in coming to Sri Lanka in low season!). Here was the studio set in the leafy garden.
India and I took a beautiful walk to the temple on the hill in Unawatuna to watch the sunset, a great moment with a great girl.
After Unawatuna we cruised on down to Mirissa. We spent five days lazing on the beach, I surfed, India sunbathed, we drank some gin and met some hilarious characters.
One evening we took a little walk up to the temple, again atop a hill. India and I sat and breathed in the beauty, adding a little meditation to our time we sat until the sun no longer lit up the sky.
After being truly spoilt with all the beaches it was time to head in land to Ella. Ella was magical, the vast green landscapes, cooler air and quiet was breath taking.
When you’re in Ella you walk, and walk we did. We took a little trek up to Ella’s rock and boy was it pretty. This tested my vertigo. My biggest phobia is heights, it makes my feet tingle and I feel nauseous. With India’s gentle coercion I braved it onto the rocks.
After Ella and a small bout of food poisoning from Kottu rotty we took the seven hour train up to the city of Kandy. The train ride was peaceful and the undulating hills were mesmerizing.
Whilst in Kandy we took a little trip to the Botanical gardens. These used to only be open to Kandyan royals but it was decided they should be made open to the public, lucky us! We spent a good two hours walking around the acres of land marveling at the array of palm trees that exist and the bounty of flowers this planet offers.
After the gardens it was time to visit a tea factory and meet some of the ladies who work incredibly hard to pick the tea leaves. I believe these women earn around £30 a month, £1 a day to work all day, everyday. It’s certainly something to think about when you drink your tea and appreciate those who are part of the process. We were told off by their boss for distracting them so we had to retreat leaving notes of rupiah in their tiny hands.
The month in Sri Lanka with India passed by in a flash. It felt truly special to be with such a special friend in such a special country. Yes we came when it was quiet but actually it allowed us to truly unwind. We were so healthy, daily fresh fruit, daily yoga, no alcohol and just veggie food left us feeling refreshed and renewed.
When we parted ways in November I cried as I drove off in the tuk tuk. The month was so lovely and I didn’t want to leave her. My darling badger, my best badger.