Anaradhapura to Sigiriya

August 14

I awoke the next morning and Lal was knocking at my door. He had my suitcase!! They delivered it five (5!!) hours away from the airport at 3 am! I was utterly impressed. What service! I dressed, had breakfast (including fresh mangoes from trees on the property). Then we headed out to visit some of the temple ruins in Anaradhapura. (Had I realized how often I would be taking my shoes off and on, I would have worn flip-flops and worked to toughen the soles of my feet before going.) Sri Lanka is a predominantly Buddhist country and this area especially had vast ruins of a large and bustling priest population. Here’s what his itinerary said about the ruins of Anuradhapura: the sprawling complex contains a rich collection of archaeological and architectural wonders: enormous dagobas, soaring brick towers, ancient pools and crumbling temples, built during Anuradhapura’s thousand years of rule over Sri Lanka.

By about 11 am we were heading toward Sigiriya. On the way I had an appointment for an Ayurvedic Medical Treatment (full body massage and steam bath). A broad variety of natural herbs form the main ingredients of Ayurvedic medicines, which make it absolutely free of side effects. This practice has been perfected over centuries and claims to have remedies even for those ailments that defy time and modern understanding. I was totally oily, including my hair upon leaving, so I was happy to go to the hotel and get a shower (cold to luke warm).

At 4:00 we headed for Sigiriya Lion Rock. This rock fortress is regarded as the eighth wonder of the ancient world. It is supposed to have been built by King Kassapa in the 5th century AD and was a royal citadel for more than a year. It is a complex of buildings, part-royal palace, part fortified town, and water gardens on par with the best in the ancient world. This is a magnificent and unique architectural feat on the part of the ancient Sinhalese. Fitbit said it was 63 flights of stairs and my feet said it was at least 100! I didn’t want to descend in the dark so I started down just before the sun reached the horizon. It was dusk when I got back to the parking lot and we headed back to the hotel and dinner.

I was really ready for an early night, but am glad I pushed myself to do it.