01 Apr 2018
Day of Culture

Easter Sunday in Sri Lanka and a day of tourist activities. We left fairly early to travel to Sigiriya Rock, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the most visited site in Sri Lanka, especially loved by the Sci-Fi writer Arthur C. Clarke, who set his ‘Fountains of Paradise’ there. The site itself is thought to have been built by King Kassapa who usurped the throne in AD 477, and built himself an impregnable winter palace on the top of the natural rock, 200 metres above his summer palace and large formal gardens. Though only the outlines of the palace remain, the scale was impressive, and the views spectacular and well worth the strenuous climb of around 1,200 steps which raised Mr O’Brien’s heart rate to 150. Half way up the climb, a viewing platform enabled us to see the surviving rock paintings of nymphs from a series thought to date back to the fifth century.
After lunch back in the hotel and some pool time, we set off again for the elephant safari at Kawdulla National Park. Here we were able to see a small herd of water buffalo and from close quarters a herd of about 200 elephants, females and young males (only one bull elephant was seen). Perhaps as memorable as this wonderful view of nature was the ride in the jeeps. These are designed for the passengers to stand up to get the best view, and they certainly did that while also providing an entertainingly bumpy and dusty ride over the terrain as well as keeping our batting reflexes in shape as we had to sway or duck to avoid tree branches on the wooded roads.

From there back to the hotel, and for some an evening dip in the hotel pool, with view of distant lightning, and evening buffet in the hotel restaurant. And so to bed.