My Trusty Pleasure Machine Awaits! (SL pt. 3)

November 6, 2013 by Nick

No that isn't some dodgy line I've picked up from somewhere, that was the first thing James said every morning before getting on his bike. And today, leaving Kandy, riding the bike was definitely not going to be a pleasure! For him at least. Today was what had been termed up until now 'the hill climb day' – about 80km in distance but climbing 1600m to the highest point on the island. I'd dipped out because I was worried about doing further damage to my already dodgy neck and opted for the scenic train journey (along with eight others from our tour). Part of me was disappointed not to be trying it but I loved train journeys and couldn't wait.

Here is something that was written on the top of the stem of my bike. Something to remember – especially for James on the hill climb!

James with the other hill climbers from our tour.

(Photo courtesy of Doug Thorpe)


Ah the look of accomplishment: James at the top. Well done Jimmy!

(Photo courtesy of Doug Thorpe)

Meanwhile, back on the train…

(photo courtesy of Gillian Pastuch)



It was a stand up affair at the start and progressively most of us got seats. Mo found a seat next to someone who was catching flies!

The view from the train was just stunning

(photo courtesy of Gillian Pastuch)


Arriving at the station, we had a three way tuktuk race to the hotel (no photos due to the fact I was holding on!)

At the hotel, they were stating the obvious…

We took a photo of the ladies…

Then someone suggested a wedding type photo with the roles reversed. I had no idea what they were talking about until…

The scenery was lovely the next day…

Ice cream anyone?

Jimmy finally got his wish to play cricket with the locals, not even stopping to take off his helmet!

One thing I love doing is to get out and look around the town where we are staying

These guys were waiting for the bus. After taking their photo, one of the young guys asked me to sit with them. It turns out the three of them were collecting donations to challenge a ruling by their university to suspend 67 students for protesting against a proposed change to free education.

Coming back, I found two monks walking along the road.

The next day, after a late night, we took photos at the lookout point before setting off.

The scenery on the way down…

Buddha Statues at Buduruvagala

In the afternoon, we went to Udawalawe National Park and were lucky enough to see a wild elephant giving itself a bath.

Breakfast the next morning was happy to see me!

One of the many tea stops along the way…

A chameleon in a bush at the hotel

I wondered how good the chameleon was with camouflage. So, always one to set a challenge, I decided to get him out of his tree and give him a test… As you can see, he didn't turn blue though!

That evening, we went to a temple for a ceremony. This was the fruit basket that was made as the offering.

While we were at the temple, James went on an adventure of his own. I'll let him tell it in his own words:

“I sure was templed out, so decided to go shopping for kids tshirts, my 3rd attempt at trying to find tshirts mind you.

Started walking, the wrong way to town, only to be approached by a student on a motorbike, he offered ride to town, but as I didn't have a helmet he was worried re police pulling us over so took the back roads, needless to say I got disorientated.

He was keen to practice his English & offered a tour of surrounds next day, so gave me his number, my saving grace!

Having lost track of time it was dark, I had started walking back along the wrong road, when I decided to catch a tuk tuk.

It was about this time I realised I didn't know the name of the hotel, well the tuk tuk driver didn't speak a word of English so started driving around to find someone that did.

We stopped at a bottle shop, I started draw a map of the area on the back of a coaster, which didn't seem to ring any bells with anyone, but got a few laughs.

I found the bike riders number in my pocket & asked the shop keeper to ring.

At this point I should have got on the phone, however they seemed to reach an understanding.

We headed off, big sigh of relief, as the english speaking shop owner came along.

Only to find the bike rider just guessed where I was staying & gave a hotel name on the other side of the lake.

So it was at this stage, I thought I better ring the bike rider myself & ask him to tell them to take me where he picked me up & bingo, home at last, 1 hr tuk tuk ride later

Another tea stop…
On the last day of riding, it was time for party hats as per the tradition of the tour!
Scenes from the last ride…
And another crazy photo to finish up!
Pole fishing is a tradition in some parts of Sri Lanka… And one we had to try albeit without the fishing rods!
There was dancing on the second last night…
And a visit to Galle the next day on the way back to Colombo.
On the last night, a few of us went out for drinks on a rooftop bar in Colombo.

And that concluded the tour part of the trip. Thank you to Intrepid Travel / Exodus and our 14 new friends for the great times we had. I would definitely recommend this 14 day cycling tour of the backroads of Sri Lanka.


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