A country to feel goodMarch 19, 2017 in Sri Lanka
German version and more photos: www.cyclinfornepal.com
Before I report about my experiences in Sri Lanka, I would like to tell you, why I continued my cycling trip in Sri Lanka. Anyone who has followed the project from the start, knows that I have started with the goal of cycling the complete 12000 km from Munich to Nepal.
After I decided in Turkey to fly back to Munich, this plan had disappeared.
(In the blog entry: Turkey - Among the same, I reported on the reason for my return to Munich)
During my time in Munich, I had to think about how I would go on with the trip, but also make a decision on what my future career depends on.
For the last two years, I studied a second school subject, to become a full teacher. Before I left, I had final examinations. Unfortuneately I had not passed one exam.
I was really down, because it was my goal to leave Munich without any time pressure and obligations. For a long time I displaced the decision, if I make a second attempt. In December, however, I had to make a decision: Either to repeat the exam in June 2017 or to study two years for free and to travel without time pressure. It won the reason, so I will be back in Munich in April 2017. This meant that I have a time window of 3.5 months to arrive in Kagate / Nepal.
I opted for a completely new route. Visit my friend Adi in Dubai and spend one month each in Sri Lanka, India and Nepal. I still wanted to continue to travel by bike, but also experience other things.
The journey is thus no longer a continuous cycling trip from Munich to Nepal. Its more experiencing countries by bike with the final destination: Kagate in Nepal. The 12000 km mark I will no longer crack. How much distance I ultimately traveled, I will tell in my last blog entry.
In Sri Lanka, also called as the Pearl of the Indian Ocean, I landed with the plane 6 o'clock in the morning. In the beginning I had booked a hostel near the airport. Actually I wanted to spend another night there, but I could hardly wait to go to Hikkaduwa, which is 130 km away. It was my first destination right on the coast. I put the bike together and took only the most necessary. Camping is in Sri Lanka is good as impossible and cooking utensils I did not need to drag along, since the food in restaurants is extremely cheap (2 € to 3 € for a dish). So I could leave a lot of my equipment behind.
My path led south along the coast. Right at the beginning I made the acquaintance with the Sri Lankan traffic. Especially the truck drivers and bus drivers driving without regard for losses, so I made several times a stop in the road trench.
Having arrived in Hikkaduwa, I was looking for a hostel and immediately met other travelers. The first days I spent surfing and snorkeling. One of the main attractions on the beach are three large turtles swimming at the seaside during the day.
Among the hostelmates was Alex from Germany. The chemistry was right. He also wanted to go further south. Next we met in the village of Merissa. Alex took a bus, I continued cycling.
Merissa has a beautiful beach known for its beach shacks. A surfspot is also just around the corner and there were just ideal conditions. We liked it so much that we stayed 5 days. I was on the water every day and was regularly infected with surfing.
On my arrival I had heard of a festival, which takes place in Arugam Bay, in the east of the country. The Internet did not reveal how much a ticket costs and what music direction is played. Alex and I thought it was worth a try. I left my bike in the hostel and finally I was able to enjoy a bus ride.
Before us lay 280 km for which we will need more than 8 hours. Astonishingly, time passed by in flight. We were literally overwhelmed with impressions.
The bus drivers drive like mad. In overtaking maneuvers they making from a two-lane road, a three-lane. Partially, the bus was so crowded, that I sat on the top over the engine. Or I stood in the front door, and the wind blew through my face. It was my most adventurous bus trip so far.
Not far from the festival grounds we had booked our accommodation. On the bus we met Domingo from Chile, who spontaneously joined us.
In the evening we went to the festival ground. From a distance we already heard the music: trance. I'm not a fan of trance, because the music is too monotonous. There was only a 5-day ticket to buy, which cost 120 €. Since we had taken the long way, we still wanted to enjoy the festival. Without problems we sneaked along the beach on the festival ground. Most visitors were pumped up with drugs and danced in trance. It was an interesting experience, but one evening was enough.
The next day we relaxed on the beach. Then our paths separated again. Alex went on to the highlands. Domingo stayed for another day, but we met a few days later in Weligama. For me, I went by bus back to Merissa, and from there one town further to Weligama.
I checked into the hostel Weligama, which had opened only a month ago. It was immediately a family co-operation. I liked it here so much, that it was difficult for me to continue riding.
But I wanted to see more of Sri Lanka, so I took the off again. I cycled along the coast to the southernmost point, Tangalle. From there I went on towards the highlands. My next goal was Ella, where I would need three to four days. On the way to Ella I met incredibly nice and open-minded people. They were always given a smile.
Unexpectedly, I passed a national park known for its wild safaris. The next day, I sat with a Norwegian couple, and three friends from Austria in a jeep, and we set off for an 5-hour safari. We got to see many animals. Especially the elephants posed perfectly for our cameras.
The next day I was back on the bike and reached Ella in the evening. The small village is surrounded by a diverse mountain landscape. A famous peak is the "Liddle Adams Peak", which is reached within an hour and guarantees a great view.
After two days of stay, my next destination was "Adams Peak", one of the main attractions in Sri Lanka. The mountain is near the city of Hatton and is best reached by train. It is not just a train ride, its one of the most beautiful train journeys you can do in the world. The special feature is that you can sit directly at the door.
Actually, Steph from Australia (I met her at the hostel) and I wanted to go on the same train, but I had to take a train later because of the bike. We met later in the village at Adams Peak.
From Hatton it was again 40 km with the bike to Adams Peak. On the way I got invited to a volleyball game, which I could not refuse.
The Adams Peak is a "Must Do" for both, tourists and locals alike. Before you are on top of the 2243 m high summit, 5400 steps must be conquered. Locals of all ages go to the mountain to pray at the summit.
In our accommodation we met Weston from China. At three o'clock in the morning, we three of us started to see the sunrise at 6.30 a.m. on the peak. Unfortunately it was cloudy on this day, that couldnt shot the sunrise photo.
Adams Peak was my last major destination in Sri Lanka. On the same day I made my way back to Negombo. The last 130 km were hard but scenic. Two days later I went on to India.
I liked Sri Lanka so much, that I have to come back. The beaches, the mountains, the people ... I felt like home.