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A last look at Lion Rock as we pulled out the next day to move on a little further before ditching the van for some bikes for several hours leisurely riding some back roads and stopping to help make curry for lunch at a home in a traditional village.
Next stop was Kandy for a couple of days. It’s a picturesque city surrounding a lake and is the location of the Temple of the Tooth, which houses Sri Lanka’s most important Buddhist relic (Temple of the Tooth - Wikipedia).
The stuffed remains of Rajah, the Maligawa tusker or main parade-leading elephant that died in 1988. This one was particularly large and revered.
Some rice production scenes during our morning drive to Kitulgala (Kitulgala - Wikipedia), one of the wettest places in Sri Lanka, and a walk in the hills followed by a white water rafting excursion near the location where the famous 1957 film ‘The Bridge on the River Kwai’ (The Bridge on the River Kwai - Wikipedia) was made.
We took the local ferry across the river for our walk in the hills.
And back across the suspension bridge upstream to come out near the rafting base. The rafting was a blast and we went past the remnants of the bridge foundations for the movie (the bridge was blown up in the film.)
The boys abandoned the raft after the fairly decent rapids and we drifted the last few hundred metres. Sue had a waterproof camera and got a couple of shots.
The hotel where the cast of the film stayed has some displays on the wall.
And a stop at a tea house in the tea-growing region for afternoon tea.
We continued driving higher into the tea country to stay at the old colonial hillstation of Nuwara Eliya. Wandered around in the morning and checked out the Grand Hotel. Returned that evening for billiards and dinner.
Then to the nearby station to take the train to our next overnight stop, and final destination in the highlands, at Bandarawela.
As it turned out, the train went through about two stations then inexplicably stopped at the third. There was apparently some incident further along the track. After a while, it was clear we were going nowhere, so our tour leader arranged for a local to take us the rest of the way in his - how shall we say - rural 4WD. We were travelling light as the van had gone on ahead with our luggage after dropping us at Horton Plains.
It ended up being a bit of fun as we ‘adopted’ a couple of German young women backpackers who were also on the train and crammed into the ‘commandeered’ 4WD for a slightly hair-raising drive on steep and wet back roads, only to come across a tree that fallen across the road. A group effort, some axe work by other travellers and a rope-haul by a small truck soon had it cleared.
Next day we descended from the central highlands to the southern coastal lowlands, stopping at a roadside stall to sample jackfruit.
The main road cut across the NW corner of Yala National Park and some of the big bull elephants act as bushrangers and hold up vehicles seeking treats. The truck driver yielded – both right of way and gave food.