Be curious and follow your instincts!

Text read by Mary Peters

Carolina, from Wissembourg, continues her story
about learning in Sri Lanka

The next morning, I took the bus to Polonnaruwa. It was a seven-hour drive, but time flew by! The trip by bus was in itself an adventure. I was the only tourist, so I could not go unnoticed. I was surrounded by locals only. The first minutes were uncomfortable, but soon they began to talk to me, just out of curiosity.

There was so much to see along the way that I could not get bored. One local explained many things to me, (where we passed, history of Sri Lanka, sights not to be missed, “look, look, an elephant!) At the same time the only traffic rule seemed to be “don’t die”.

What was different? I had a book, my travel diary, movies on my mobile phone, something to eat. I expected I would have too much time and wanted to use it and not be bored. But that did not happen. My fellow travellers shared their delicious food with me, and there was always plenty to see and talk about, so I did not have the time nor the inclination to do anything else.

Welcome to Polonnaruwa, an ancient city in the Northern Central Province! My plan was, just check-in, leave my backpack in the “hut”, rent a bike and ride to the centre to see the town. My accommodation was a lakeside hut surrounded by jungle. On the right side, only 5 meters from the balcony was a large group of water buffalos, trees full of monkeys and all kinds of birds. If you looked to the left you could see the lake, also with water buffalos and the locals fishing in small boats. It looked extraordinary. I forgot about my plan and followed my heart. It wanted me to stay in that special mood. I spent hours watching animals and drinking fresh pineapple juice.

The next morning, I visited Sigiriya, probably the most visited destination in Sri Lanka. The Sigiriya Rock is an old palace and fortress complex. I arrived early, but the place was already crowded. I visited the museum to learn about its history.

There were many mosquitoes, so I took a few seconds to apply mosquito repellent. Meanwhile, I was robbed!!! I was sitting on a bench when a monkey came towards me. I thought, “oh how cute, I’ll take a picture”. He snatched my phone. At the same time his accomplices, one from behind and one from above, took my rucksack. I put up resistance, however, the monkeys, (small but incredibly strong), bared their teeth and I gave in. A local helped me, and after a few stones and some patience, my bag fell from the tree. I had my water, sunscreen, mobile phone, documents, and my cash back with me. But not my lunch! We laughed and I started to become more careful. I learned, you never have to be afraid, but you have to be careful. The monkeys followed their instinct and just wanted to eat. Wild animals are not pets.    

Afterwards, I went to a temple nearby and then hiked to Pidurangala Rock. The trail is very wild, just for the fit and adventurous. But it is absolutely worth it, and the view is fascinating. Then I returned to my jungle hut, watched the animals and ate fish from the lake accompanied by vegetables and finished off with some ice cream for dinner.

The next day I rented a bike and discovered the historic town of Polonnaruwa. I saw many ruins and impressive archaeological structures and monuments.

I was impressed that people constructed buildings so well back then (5000 years ago). Today we build more, yet the quality of the buildings is lower. Why, I ask myself?

The area is enormous, it is visitor friendly with information boards. Riding a bike there was simply perfect. A little tip: if you visit religious sites, you have to cover your shoulders and go barefoot.

To be continued.

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Wisdom can also be found by whilst travelling.

Text read by Mary Peters

Just before the lockdown in France, Carolina from Wissembourg took a big leap.

A few months ago, I decided to travel to Sri Lanka for 3 weeks, on my own. After some reading about the “jewel of the Indian Ocean,” it captivated my attention, and I felt the urge to visit it as soon as possible. It was February, cold and rainy in northern Europe, so going on an adventure and simultaneously escaping the winter blues? It seemed like a great idea! If not now, then when?

Normally I would take time to prepare, but this time I did not feel the need for planning or rethinking the idea. I decided to simply go and enjoy. And so, it was. At the end of that same month, me and my 11 kg backpack arrived at Colombo Airport, Sri Lanka.

As soon as I arrived, I exchanged Euros into Sri Lankan Rupees, bought a mobile SIM-Card, and got a Tuk-Tuk to the first hotel in Negombo. I was doing just fine! It was very warm and extremely humid. It felt like a dream, not real at all, I was alone in a completely unknown and unfamiliar place and that was exciting and scary at the same time. Everything was different. The landscape, the people, the energy, the traffic, the noises, the smells and of course the weather. All seemed a little disorganized however people were very friendly and helpful.

I arrived in Negombo, a fishing town only 30 minutes’ drive by tuk-tuk from the airport. It was stunning. By this time, I still could not really believe where I was, what I was doing and why. I felt so out of place yet relaxed, amazed by everything around and so grateful for this opportunity.

For two days, I explored Negombo, visiting the fish market, a Buddhist temple, the medicinal botanical garden, had an ayurvedic massage, tried many delicious fruits and seafood and drank King Coconuts! Negombo is a very easy-going town, just the perfect start for a Sri Lankan trip.

En cliquant sur "Send", vous acceptez le fait que vos données inscrites ci-dessus seront utilisées par Frank Peters, Peters-Langues dans le but pour lequel ce formulaire a été mis en place. Aucune donnée ne sera utilisée dans un autre but, sans votre consentement éclairé, ni ne sera communiquée à un tiers. Vous pouvez à chaque instant demander l'accès, la modification ou la suppression de ces données en nous écrivant. /// Ich bin damit einverstanden, dass diese Website meine übermittelten Informationen speichert, damit sie auf meine Mitteilung antworten kann. /// I consent to having this website store my submitted information so they can respond to the exercise.