We had one last delicious breakfast at our hostel and checked out. We arranged for a tuk-tuk to take us to the bus station. Our first bus had air conditioning, which was nice but not really necessary. Unfortunately, when it came time to pay, they wanted to charge us extra for our backpacks. We had read online that this was just another trick, so we politely said no and acted like we were getting off the bus, and suddenly they didn’t ask for extra payment anymore. It’s amazing how often they try to take advantage of you here.
Arriving in Dambulla, we were overwhelmed by the crowd. Of course, there were tuk-tuk drivers hounding us as soon as we got off. You’re still getting off and awkwardly putting on your big backpack, and everyone is already shouting, “Tuk-tuk, madam?” Terrible! I had read online that we could take another bus from Dambulla to Sigiriya, our final destination. The tuk-tuk drivers told us all sorts of lies and excuses. They said there were no buses or we would have to wait a long time. It was all nonsense because five minutes later, our next bus arrived.
This time we booked a homestay at the local Airbnb. We were greeted warmly, although communication was a bit challenging. We were offered a delicious King Coconut and had a chance to relax on the terrace. Lovely! Our room was okay, especially by Sri Lankan standards, but there was a lot of humidity in the room. We decided to make the best of it. What can you expect for 4 euros per person per night?! We took the bus back to Dambulla and had to wait at the bus stop, which also had a fish shop. There were three polystyrene boxes from which you could choose your fish. Next to the counter, the vendor set his table up to chop the fish into pieces. It wasn’t particularly hygienic. The work surface was covered in blood and flies, and a stray dog was nearby hoping for a piece of fish.
While waiting, the mobile bakery passed by. You could hear it from afar playing the tune of ‘Für Elise’; apparently, the pastries are delicious. We hope to come across the bakery at the right time to buy something. Cows can be seen along and on the road here, seemingly randomly. This animal is considered sacred in Sri Lanka (in Hinduism).
The bus ride was incredibly crowded but fortunately not very long. I urgently needed to use the bathroom and decided to enter the first place I saw. I was directed to the back and saw the toilet. As quickly as I arrived, I left again and joined Ely outside. I’m not easily disgusted and can squat to pee if necessary, but this was beyond my imagination. Across the street, I suddenly noticed a ‘Pizza Hut’ sign shining. A brief pit stop to use the restroom. We also ordered garlic bread because it was already 3 o’clock, and we hadn’t eaten anything. Delicious!
We took a tuk-tuk to the caves. There, we saw various beautiful Buddha statues. I found the walk to the caves a bit less enjoyable. So many monkeys! 😀 Fortunately, we could still appreciate the beautiful views. From the bus station, we took a very old bus back. It was so old that the bus struggled to move forward. We continued at a snail’s pace until we reached our guesthouse. There, we were offered a very extensive but especially delicious meal. For the first time, we could taste the authentic local cuisine here. We enjoyed some time outside on our terrace and crawled into bed, tired but satisfied.
X Inez & Ely