Wow, two weeks and 600 kilometers on the road with our scooter has passed by so quickly, yet it feels like months ago since we left our paradise in the South. I’ve thought about writing daily road-diaries but I really haven’t found the time to do it, as our days and nights have been filled with adventures. So I’ll just begin with the first week;
We left Kumbalgama and started our roadtrip in the afternoon of Valentines Day (ha! sounds so romantic but I swear it was a coincidence), through pouring rain and strong winds. But with raincoats on and big, happy smiles. What a feeling of freedom! It is just you and me and the road, and we can go anywhere we want, anytime, anyhow! We have brought just one small backpack with some clothes and necessities, our cameras and Bryan’s guitar is attached to a surf-rack on the side of the scooter. That’s it. No plans, no time. We’re just following the sun, and the universe.
We spent the first few days exploring Tangalle beach and surroundings. The beach was beautiful and literally miles long, but you can’t really enjoy the ocean with too much of relaxation as the waves breaking right on the beach are huuuge.. But we did meet a beautiful turtle one morning, and we enjoyed roaming through palm tree plantations a bit inland to find an ancient cave temple. A massive rock mountain with caves filled with colourful paintings and Buddhas in all kinds of sizes. After visiting all caves and climbing a little bit more steep steps than we’d expected, we were rewarded with the most breathtaking view, from a rock outside of the temple. We just stayed there for hours and enjoyed the view and the sunset, and the euphoria of being on the road again.
The bottom of the mountain and the first pagoda, and entrances to the first caves.
A big happy family of monkeys guarding the temple
Long exposures inside of the caves. It was naturally quite dark inside so it was hard to capture the beauty of the old artworks! It is so hard to understand how old it is. I really wonder what they used to paint..
The reward after all of those stairs with all of my camera equipment + the tripod
After two nights in Tangalle we continued east, stopped by in Hambantota town, but didn’t really feel the vibes we wanted. So we headed inland for Kataragama, a holy town on the edge of the national park of Yala. We arrived when it was getting dark, and got ourselves a room in a homestay. We were sitting outside at night and felt the national park atmosphere, the jungle actually started three meters from where we were sitting, and we got a strong desire to explore the park and especially it’s wildlife! So the next morning we woke up with only one goal: to find a safari jeep! Not that we really wanted to take a tour, it is something we both never does, but it’s the only way to enter the park.. But we found a nice driver who didn’t rip us off, and we set off with a lot of excitment!
But, we didn’t get to see the most beautiful parts of Yala. This is what it looked like most of the time. It is a shame you’re not allowed to enter the park without safari jeeps!
Only a few meters from the entrance of Yala our driver spotted this crocodile, who actually ran away from the buffalo!
Then we met these elephants. Together with like 20 other full safari jeeps. Kind of took away the feeling of seeing wild elephants I must say, but they were beautiful through my zoom!
Loads of cute deers..
..and ultra colourful birds!
Close to this little lake we saw a leopard for one second. Haha! It looked just like an orange line between to bushes, when he was running away cause another two jeeps arrived..
And then we met this huge male elephant. Who probably was hungry, or maybe just tired of being surrounded by all of these bloody jeeps all the time, so he actually started going inside of the jeeps!
He came in to ours as well, with all of his head and trunk, looking everywhere for food! He didn’t seem so happy though, and when he roared like one meter away from us I really thought he wanted to eat us, haha! Bryan, who was sitting closest to the entrance (which the elephant opened with his horns) got the elephants horn in his back! So he will have a little scar from an elephant, how cool is that. I think it’s a blessing! (It didn’t hurt too much)
So that ‘little’ adrenalin kick made the safari worth it. We got really close to a wild elephant, you can say, haha. Also the next day, when we drove to Ella, we had to drive through another part of the national park for a couple of kilometers, and we actually met another two wild elephants! A natural safari! Unfortunately it was raining like crazy also that day, so I didn’t get to capture it. But I swear I will always remember when I told Bryan; “oh, I think that’s another elephant” when I saw something big and dark far away on the road ahead of us, and it actually was!
So that was the first week of our roadtrip around the country. I’ll share the story and photos from the second week with you tomorrow, because now it is time to watch the stars before we’re going to sleep! 😉 Good night from Sri Lanka, the land of wonders <3