Climbing Sigiriya

Today we are going to conquer Sigiriya, the ancient rock we can see from our hotel.

We left at 6.30 to avoid the heat and the crowds and breakfast was provided in a beautiful white bag with the hotel’s signature elephant on the front.

Hema did his best with a sound system that sounds like an echo chamber. Between his lovely Sri Lankan accent, the echo microphone and his waving it around, we really couldn’t understand every word. Mike was heard saying I need a translator or I’ll be hiding his microphone.

Our guide, Hema led us into the park. It costs $US30 to climb. We walked in and saw the gardens and the water gardens.

Then the climb began. We were told 1200 steps but Hema said more like 800.

The history of the rock and it’s cave shelters date back nearly 5,500 years ago. There is evidence of human settlements from 9-10th centuries and use by Buddhist monks. Then there was the construction of the palace by King Kasyapa

After a long introduction we started the climb. Fortunately we stopped regularly which made it easier.

At one point we climbed a spiral staircase to view the mirror wall of art and script / ancient graffiti.

Reaching the top was wonderful. The view, the remains of the palace, the water system, the throne – and it was hard to imagine getting everything to the top of this strange beautiful place.

Coming down was almost harder than going up. Fortunately, Kathy kindly offered her shoulder as a crutch to help as I stepped down the steep stairs. We all made it and felt so pleased with ourselves.

Back to the hotel for refreshing swims and a wonderful relaxing massage.

Massage is different in every place you go. This wa nothing like the Hamam in Turkey. No bubbles! No cold shower at the end.

It wasn’t like India with the oil dripping off. This was gentle but quite good for my poor knee.

Drinks on the terrace had started by the time I’d finished my massage so I joined them in my dressing gown!

Mike is the bar tender and he has everything organised – the gin flowed.

This set us up for dinner. Once again a lovely buffet.

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