Colombon kautta kotiin / Back home via Colombo


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Vajaan parin kuukauden reissun jälkeen oli jäljellä enää yksi etappi – Colombo. Sinne huristeltiin meidän Kandyn isäntämme tutulla pakulla ja jopa Colombon keskustassa suunnistus meni uskomattoman helposti. Yksi ilta ja yksi koko päivä ei ehkä ole riittävä näkemään Colombosta kaikkea, mutta ehdittiin nähdä kuitenkin jotain ja nauttia vielä olosta Sri Lankalla.

At the end of the two-month-trip, we had a brief 1.5-day stay in Colombo. Not enough time to see it all, but we did got to do some shopping, swimming, playing in the park and walking around. And, in general, enjoying Sri Lanka while we still had the chance.

All our things ready to be taken to the van for the final Sri Lankan leg. It does not look that much actually.

All our things ready to be taken to the van for the final Sri Lankan leg. It does not look that much actually.

Our room. Small and cozy. I guess all the rooms try to have some kind uniqueness in them, like the painting on the back wall. We also had a sofa bed, but didn't use it at all since the bed was huge.

Our room at the Cinnamon Red. Small and cozy. I guess all the rooms try to have some kind uniqueness in them, like the painting on the back wall. We also had a sofa bed, but didn’t use it at all since the bed was huge.

The view from our room. The tall buildings at the back are in the Colombo Fort area. On the right you can see the Colombo Lotus Tower being built. When ready it should be 350m high.

The view from our room. The tall buildings at the back are in the Colombo Fort area. On the right you can see the Colombo Lotus Tower being built. When ready it should be 350m high.

Our hotel had an infinity pool at the top. Never been in one before.

Our hotel had an infinity pool at the top. Never been in one before.

A tunnel! Very close to our hotel there was a big park, which had quite a few activities for kids. There were naturally pretty many vendors too who sold anything from crap plastic toys to boiled corn cobs. Around the park there was also a running track which was popular later in the evening when it got cooler.

A tunnel! Very close to our hotel there was a big park, which had quite a few activities for kids. There were naturally pretty many vendors too who sold anything from crap plastic toys to boiled corn cobs. Around the park there was also a running track which was popular later in the evening when it got cooler.

Swinging. Something you could do all day, every day, right?

Swinging. Something you could do all day, every day, right?

There was a small and depressing aquarium in the middle of the park. The boys visited it and Eero probably didn't know better to mind how small tanks the fishes were in. Eero is helpfully pointing one of the fishes out for you.

There was a small and depressing aquarium in the middle of the park. The boys visited it and Eero probably didn’t know better to mind how small tanks the fishes were in. Eero is helpfully pointing one of the fishes out for you.

Sunset as seen from our hotel roof top. We didn't see too many sunsets during the whole trip and almost missed this one too as we made an extra stop for ice cream when coming back to the hotel. But hey, priorities, priorities!

Sunset as seen from our hotel roof top. We didn’t see too many sunsets during the whole trip and almost missed this one too as we made an extra stop for ice cream when coming back to the hotel. But hey, priorities, priorities!

For the first evening we did not get to the restaurant we had planned, since it had been shut down :) In the end it was very lucky, since the takeaway meal we took from a close-by restaurant was one of the best we've had on the whole trip. That chana dal was just out of this world and even the rice with shrimps was quite exceptional. It is utterly unbelievable how someone can make plain rice taste so good.

For the first evening we did not get to the restaurant we had planned, since it had been shut down 🙂 In the end it was very lucky, since the takeaway meal we took from a close-by restaurant was one of the best we’ve had on the whole trip. That chana dal was just out of this world and even the rice with shrimps was quite exceptional. It is utterly unbelievable how someone can make plain rice taste so good.

First evening's dessert - chocolate cheese cake and strawberries. Not very Sri Lankan, but nevertheless it was all gone a short while later.

First evening’s dessert – chocolate cheese cake and strawberries. Not very Sri Lankan, but nevertheless it was all gone a short while later.

This is my monkey. Towards the end of the trip Eero got a bit more friendly with this monkey neck-pillow. Still, it didn't become something you NEEDED to have with you all the time, which is a good thing I guess.

This is my monkey. Towards the end of the trip Eero got a bit more friendly with this monkey neck-pillow. Still, it didn’t become something you NEEDED to have with you all the time, which is a good thing I guess.

Dutch Hospital in Colombo Fort is probably the oldest building in the district. Once a hospital caring for Dutch East India Company officers, now a shopping mall.

Dutch Hospital in Colombo Fort is probably the oldest building in the district. Once a hospital caring for Dutch East India Company officers, now a shopping mall.

This is not just any clock tower. It is the only lighthouse clock in the world and it is also THE place where all the distances throughout the country are measured from. It has been standing here since 1857.

This is not just any clock tower. It is the only lighthouse clock in the world and it is also THE place where all the distances throughout the country are measured from. It has been standing here since 1857.

Birds don't  even spare the great men.

Birds don’t even spare the great men.

They were constructing all over the city. In the background they are building the new Colombo Lotus Tower, which should become a new landmark for the city.

They were constructing all over the city. In the background they are building the new Colombo Lotus Tower, which should become a new landmark for the city.

WARINNG, WARINNG! Don't go bathing in the sea.

WARINNG, WARINNG! Don’t go bathing in the sea.

The Pope was coming to Sri Lanka just a few days after we were left and they were constructing this HUGE venue for his visit on the Galle Face Green. Here you see only half of the area, so you can imagine how many people they were expecting. On the left you can see the Galle Face Hotel and on the right the speaker platform being built.

The Pope was coming to Sri Lanka just a few days after we were left and they were constructing this HUGE venue for his visit on the Galle Face Green. Here you see only half of the area, so you can imagine how many people they were expecting. On the left you can see the Galle Face Hotel and on the right the speaker platform being built.

Maiju sipping a drink at the Galle Face Hotel waterfront bar. This was one option for us to stay, but it was currently under a major renovation process. If the renovations would have been over already, it certainly would have been a superb (although pricey) option.

Maiju sipping a drink at the Galle Face Hotel waterfront bar. This was one option for us to stay, but it was currently under a major renovation process. If the renovations would have been over already, it certainly would have been a superb (although pricey) option.

While Maju was happy with her drink, us boys had other games to play. Mikko had his phone and Eero a spoon and bowl full of crackers.

While Maju was happy with her drink, us boys had other games to play. Mikko had his phone and Eero a spoon and bowl full of crackers.

A collection of street side snacks we bought. From top left clockwise: ok, ok, good, bad.

A collection of street side snacks we bought. From top left clockwise: ok, ok, good, bad.

The kids pool section was divided from the main pool with these steps. Naturally the steps were more interesting than the pool.

The kids pool section was divided from the main pool with these steps. Naturally the steps were more interesting than the pool.

Eero had a great time there too, once he got comfortable being in the water. Then the problem was getting him out of water.

Eero had a great time there too, once he got comfortable being in the water. Then the problem was getting him out of water.

Our last Sri Lankan dinner: some kottu roti and jackfruit curry. Not the best one's we'd had but perfectly satisfactory.

Our last Sri Lankan dinner: some kottu roti and jackfruit curry. Not the best one’s we’d had but perfectly satisfactory.

Little did he know that this was the last night in Sri Lanka. Poor thing.

Little did he know that this was the last night in Sri Lanka. Poor thing.

Ready to take off? I think all of us would have wanted to take a ride with this toy plane instead of the one taking us back to the cold, cold Finland.

Ready to take off? I think all of us would have wanted to take a ride with this toy plane instead of the one taking us back to the cold, cold Finland.

It was a long way home but the flights were relatively easy. During the trip, Eero had picked up the (bad) habit of watching cartoons. So you just needed to take care that there wasn't anything too scary there. For some reason, there actually was in quite many of the shows they had on the console.

It was a long way home but the flights were relatively easy. During the trip, Eero had picked up the (bad) habit of watching cartoons. So you just needed to take care that there wasn’t anything too scary there. For some reason, there actually was in quite many of the shows they had on the console.

Roti’n’Roll part 3


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Viimeinenkään pitempiaikainen majapaikka Kandyssa  ei jättänyt meitä nälkäisiksi. Täällä tuli ehkä tehtyä enempi ruokaa kotosalla niin lounaaksi kuin iltaruoaksi. Ensinnäkin siksi, että vettä satoi ensimmäiset 3 viikkoa melkein koko ajan eikä aina hotsittanut lähteä suhailemaan sateessa kylille ruokailemaan. Toiseksi siksi, että täällä keittiö oli ehdottomasti parhaiten varustettu – oli jopa grilli, jota kylläkin käytettiin ensimmäisen kerran vasta sitten kun liesien kaasu loppui eikä heti saatu lisää 🙂

Aamupaloja tuli tehtyä neljän viikon aikana melko monta, vaikkei ihan jokaista päivää oltukaan asunnolla. Päivän tärkeimmän aterian sisältö vaihteli simppelistä jogurtti-myslistä aina suurempaan kavalkadiin sisältäen niin paahtoleipää ja munakasta kuin hedelmäsalaatteja ja tuoreita mehuja.

A simple breakfast at home - yogurth with muesli, toested bread with cheese and freshly made watermelon-papaya juice

A simple breakfast at home – yogurth with muesli, toested bread with cheese and freshly made watermelon-papaya juice

A bit more hearty breakfast - sri lanka style masala omelet, toast, fresh juice and tea & coffee

A bit more hearty breakfast – sri lanka style masala omelet, toast, fresh juice and tea & coffee

The Christmas Day breakfast would not do without the rice porridge. This time though it was kind of a cross between that and local version called kiribath.  Fresh fruits and juice and toast complete the thing.

The Christmas Day breakfast would not do without the rice porridge. This time though it was kind of a cross between that and local version called kiribath. Fresh fruits and juice and toast completed the meal.

The breakfast at Avasta Resort & Spa in Anuradhapura. Apparently you could not get it without the chicken sausages, which sadly were left un-eaten, though, Eero did take a small nibble on one of them.

The breakfast at Avasta Resort & Spa in Anuradhapura. Apparently you could not get it without the chicken sausages, which sadly were left un-eaten, even though Eero took a small nibble on one of them.

New Years days breakfast at Ohiya Hill Safari Eco Lodge. I can't say the food there would be the main reason to visit, but this special days breakfast was nice, including two types of kiribath, toast, eggs and good company.

New Years day breakfast at Ohiya Hill Safari Eco Lodge. I can’t say the food there would be the main reason to visit, but this special breakfast was nice, including two types of kiribath, toast, eggs – and good company.

Rice & Curry on Sri Lankan perusruokaa. Sitä saa lähestulkoon joka kulmalta niin päivällä kuin illallakin eikä annos ole yleensä kovin kallis. Hinta pyörii useimmissa paikoissa euron molemmin puolin. Sitä tuli syötyä niin ravintoloissa kuin take-awayna, mikä on näppärä tapa saada halpa ja hyvä lounas kotiin vietäväksi.

A rice and curry on a road side diner. Basic price gives you the selection of few veg curries and on top you can buy "add-ons" like the fish curry we have on separate plate. Tasty and cheap.

A rice and curry in a road side diner. Basic price gives you the selection of a few veg curries and on top you can buy “add-ons” like the fish curry we have on separate plate. Tasty and cheap.

A rice & curry at one of our favorite restaurants which conveniently was also the closest one. Perhaps not as great as the other dishes in the plate, nor it was not the biggest portion out there, but nonetheless still quite good. On the back is veg club sandwich which on the other hand was excellent. As well as the pink faluda drink.

A rice & curry at one of our favorite restaurants which conveniently was also the closest one. Perhaps not as great as the other dishes on the plate, nor it was not the biggest portion out there, but nonetheless still quite good. In the back is veg club sandwich which on the other hand was excellent. As well as the pink faluda drink.

Take-away rice & curry from a railway station restaurant. Neatly packed in a plastic and newspaper wrapping. Special here is the soya curry on the right. This one was a bit spicy as the restaurants main clientele is just the locals.

Take-away rice & curry from a railway station restaurant. Neatly packed in a plastic and newspaper wrapping. Speciality here is the soya curry on the right. This one was a bit spicy as the restaurant’s main clientele is locals.

In some places if you order the rice & curry for two, you get them in shared plates like here. Then you will probably get even more food than having separate portions - ev''en too much! Eero's expression also gives out the spiciness of these curries.

In some places if you order the rice & curry for two, you get them on shared plates like here. Then you will probably get even more food than having separate portions – even too much! Eero’s expression reveals the spiciness of these curries.

Rice & curry in a bit more fancier place. Price goes up in the same and you could some 7-8 sets from a street diners. Good, but not that good, though the beetroot curry was very nice. The pasta we had also was a nicely something different for a change.

Rice & curry at a bit more fancier place. For the same price you could get some 7-8 sets from a street diner. Good, but not that good, though the beetroot curry was very nice. The pasta we also had was a nice for a change.

Jo ennen lähtöä fiilisteltiin että täältä saa dosaa joka on yksinkertaistettuna etelä-intialainen täytetty lettu. Tai sinnepäin. Jotkut tykkää kuin hullu puurosta ja jotkut ei. Me ollaan sitä ensimmäistä. Harmillisen vähän tuli kuitenkin niitä syötyä ja lopulta siitä paikasta mistä sai parhaat niin haettiin vain kerran mukaan.

The best dosas we had. One is masala dosa and other is onion dosa. Usually they are served with some gravy which you dip in or coconut sambol around here.

The best dosas we had. One is masala dosa and other is onion dosa. Usually they are served with some gravy which you dip the dosa in – or coconut sambol around here.

Another version of the masala dosa on the right. On the left is the Sri Lankan kottu which is basically a mix or different vegetables fried with spices. Simple but very delicious.

Another version of the masala dosa on the right. On the left is the Sri Lankan kottu which is basically a mix or different vegetables fried with spices. Simple but very delicious.

Rice & curry ja dosa ei tosiaan ollut ainoa mitä syötiin vaan välillä tuli otettua muutakin.

Unlike in Finland, Sri Lanka has quite a few Baskin Robbins outlets through out. We did try their ice cream once.

Unlike in Finland, Sri Lanka has quite a few Baskin Robbins outlets. We tried their ice cream once.

Not in too many places you find proper salads on the menu. This place was a bit more on the "hip" side and all this kind of stuff also. Naturally this attracted quite a few western tourists in, though perhaps almost half of the customers were locals.

Not too many places offer Western style salads. This place was a bit on the “hip” side and had all this kind of stuff on the menu, which naturally attracted quite a few western tourists in.

One of the surprising things we found (via guidebook though) was The Soya Food Centre which catered all kinds of food based on soya - even ice cream :) All the food were super good and no wonder the place was packed with locals on a hot day having a few cones of frozen soya.

One of the surprising things we found (via Tripadvisor) was The Soya Food Centre which served all kinds of food based on soya – even ice cream 🙂 The food was super good and no wonder the place was packed with locals on a hot day having cones of frozen soya.

One of the best meals we had in place called Muslim Hotel. Despite the odd name they had super good food. Here we have the kottu and roti at the bottom and egg biriyani at the top. In the middle there is again the most excellent drink faluda shake.

One of the best meals we had was in a place called Muslim Hotel. Despite the odd name they had great food. Here we have the kottu and roti at the bottom and egg biriyani at the top. In the middle there is again the most excellent drink faluda shake.

Again something different. Our New Year's eve special dinner was special, but in perhaps the most flattering way. We got noodles with potatoes, cabbage, eggs and loads of chillies. Also we got chicken :) They gave also us few bits as they thought Eero might have some. He didn't though.

Again something different. Our New Year’s eve special dinner at Hill Safari Lodge in Ohiya was special, but not perhaps in the most flattering way. We got noodles with potatoes, cabbage, eggs and loads of chillies. Also we got chicken which they gave because they thought Eero might have some. He didn’t though.

Jostain syystä tuli myös vedettyä aika monta hampparia matkalla. No, ei oikeasti niin hirveän monta, mutta niitä on kiva syödä vaihteeksi täällä suunnalla, kun kasvisburgerit voi olla oikeasti jotain muuta kuin raastepihvillisiä kummajaisia.

Maybe the worst burger we had. And the same goes for the pizza slice. They pineapple juice was excellent, though. I made it myself :)

Maybe the worst burger we had. And the same goes for the pizza slice. They pineapple juice was excellent, though. I made it myself :)

This burger may not look much, but was very surprisingly very, very good. Also worth noting are the "normal" cucumbers they've put inside. These our normal cucumbers are quite rare and also expensive out there.

This burger may not look much, but was surprisingly very, very good. Also worth noting are the “normal” cucumbers they’ve put inside. These kind of cucumbers are quite rare and also expensive here.

Not quite burger, but something like. In most of the street side small eateries they sold some kind of buns or such. They are quite excellent value as this egg and seeni sambol bun did cost only 0,25 euros.

Not quite a burger, but something like. In most of the street side small eateries they sold some kind of buns. They are excellent value. This egg and seeni sambol bun cost only 0,25 euros.

Again at our local restaurant. Veg club and superb chips at the back and veg submarine or  sub at the front. All very delicious.

Again at our local restaurant. Veg club and superb chips at the back and veg submarine or sub at the front. All very delicious.

A burger with a bit of style. Or at least some try to do so. The burger was quite nice, even though the  odd olive there on top does look a bit out of place (it was concealing the toothpick that was holding it together). We also had eggplant caprese salad (in the middle) and vegetable noodles.

A burger with a bit of style. Or at least that’s what they aimed at. The burger was quite nice, even though the odd olive there on top does look a bit out of place (it was concealing the toothpick that was holding the burger together). We also had eggplant caprese salad (in the middle) and vegetable noodles.

Kotosalla syötiin myös aika monta kertaa, niin lounaita kuin illallisiakin. Kotona syömisen etu (oli sitten itse tehnyt tai ottanut noutoruokaa) oli se että sai syödä ainakin hitusen rauhallisemmin, kun ei tarvinnut toisen olla koko ajan perässä seuraamassa kun Eero haluaa juosta ympäri ravintolaa, kadulla tai kiivetä portaita.

Our first meal in Kandy. We had some take-away from the local restaurant, which proved to be very good. Here we have veg curry (the red rice we boiled at home), shawarma and roti on the right and some dessert cakes.

Our first meal in Kandy. We had some take-away from the local restaurant, which proved to be very good. Here we have veg curry (the red rice we boiled at home), shawarma and roti on the right and some dessert cakes.

One of our new favourites: pumpin. When we think about it, it is not that odd we liked it here too, since we "found" the butternut in South Africa few years back and liked it. The ones here were pretty similar in taste. Sometimes we boosted it with some tofu.

One of our new favourites: pumpkin. When we think about it, it is not that odd we liked it here too, since we “found” the butternut in South Africa few years back and liked it a lot. The ones here were pretty similar in taste. Sometimes we boosted it with some tofu.

Otherwise this does not look much, but the thing here is the stuff on the right. Those are actually soya pieces, which you could buy from a store in various flavours: shrimp, squid, chicken and so on. Totally vegetarian still, though. Sadly, the these didn't taste that good, because they would have been very good instant food option.

This does not look much, but the thing here is the stuff on the right. Those are actually soya pieces, which you could buy from a store in various flavours: shrimp, squid, chicken and so on. Totally vegetarian still, though. Sadly, the these didn’t taste that good. They would have been very good instant food option.

Eero develop a fancy for the pomegranate. He called it "candy" :)

Eero developed a fancy for the pomegranate. He called it “candy” :)

The normal routine for Eero to eat: watching Pingu and stuff bits once in a while into mouth.

The normal routine for Eero to eat: watching Pingu and stuffing bits of food into his mouth every once in a while.

Pretty much the only option to order home delivery on something was Pizza Hut. There were some other places too, but they required to phone in and quite frankly it was not too fluent to make the order with them in English and be sure you'd get what you wanted. From Pizza Hut you could do the order online :)

Pretty much the only option to have home delivery was Pizza Hut. There were some other places too, but they required phoning in and quite frankly it was not that easy to make the order with them in English and be sure you’d get what you wanted. From Pizza Hut you could order online :)

Maiju did couple of times this "woodapple crumble". Woodapple is a local fruit which is quite unappealing to eat by the looks of it. We did not fancy that much for its raw taste either, but it was ok for baking. Here served with yogurth and kithul treacle.

Maiju made a couple of times this “woodapple crumble”. Woodapple is a local fruit which is quite unappealing to eat by the looks of it. We did not fancy that much its taste raw either, but it was ok for baking. Here served with yogurth and kithul treacle.

On our anniversary we had bought some wine, which proved to be a good one and bought only that afterwards. Cheeses are rare and expensive, though we did find some brie and other cheese they call "gouda", but was quite far from it. Despite that it was edible and being chili flavored, it was perfect for omelettes.

On our anniversary we had bought some wine, which proved to be a good one and bought only that afterwards. Cheeses are rare and expensive, though we did find some brie and other cheese they call “gouda”, but was quite far from it. Despite that it was edible and being chili flavored, it was perfect for making omelettes.

Towards the end of our stay our stove ran out gas and only then we got ourselves to do some barbecuing. Here we have clockwise from the top-left: gourd (kind of sour zucchini), plantains (cooking bananas), tiger prawns, tofu, more gourd, lady fingers and pumpkin.

Towards the end of our stay our stove ran out of gas and only then we got ourselves to do some barbecuing. Here we have clockwise from the top-left: gourd (kind of sour zucchini), plantains (cooking bananas), tiger prawns, tofu, more gourd, lady fingers and pumpkin.

Our last meal, which meant we had to empty fridge from all the left over food we had. We had some thalapath fish, mushroom-onion fry, pasta, curried pumpkin and vegetable fingers.

Our last meal, which meant we had to empty the fridge from all the left over food we had. We had some thalapath fish, mushroom-onion fry, pasta, curried pumpkin and vegetable fingers.

Siinä ne oli ne Sri Lankan ruoat. Nälkä ei jäänyt kertaakaan ja useammin kuin kerran sai pökerryttävän hyvää ruokaa. Toki matkaan mahtui huonompiakin ruokia, mutta keskiverrosti jäätiin reippaasti plussan puolelle. Kasvissyöjälle ei Sri Lanka ehkä tarjoa niin loputtomasti vaihtoehtoja kuin naapurimaa Intia, mutta ei kylläkään ehditty tällä parin kuukauden matkalla kyllästyä yhden ainoaan ruokaan. Useampaa olisi tehnyt mieli syödä vielä useammin, mutta päivät ja samoin ruokailukerrat on aina rajalliset.

Temppeleitä ynnä muita / Temples, etc.


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Kun sateet lopulta väistyivät, päästiin neljän seinän sisältä ulos katselemaan Kandyn ja lähialueiden nähtävyyksiä. Eerolla jatkui tietysti myös kotitouhuilut.

When the rain finally ended, we were able to go sightseeing in and around Kandy. Eero naturally carried along with his own chores.

During the constant downpour of more than two weeks, quite a few things of ours got moldy. Here's our shoes drying out in the sun after a Dettol bath treatment to kill out the mold.

During the constant downpour of more than two weeks, quite a few things of ours gathered mold. Here’s our shoes drying out in the sun after a Dettol treatment.

We visited the Royal Botanical Gardens (or Peradeniya Gardens) with our new Slovenian friends. It was quite nice a place to just stroll around and Eero had plenty of opportunities to play with sticks - or with "kepukka" as he says.

We visited the Royal Botanical Gardens (or Peradeniya Gardens) with our new Slovenian friends. It was quite nice a place to just stroll around and Eero had plenty of opportunities to play with sticks – or with “kepukka” as he says.

The gardens had quite a range of different speciments of plants. Including more than ten types of different grasses.

The gardens had quite a range of different speciments of plants. Including more than ten types of different grasses.

One interesting looking flower in the garden.

One interesting looking flower in the garden.

On a hot day, the ice cream was just the perfect thing to have. Just that Eero wanted to have all by himself.

On a hot day, the ice cream was just the perfect thing to have. Only that Eero wanted to have it all.

Would you buy anything from a man who has balloons as a hairdo?

Would you buy anything from a man who has balloons as a hairdo?

Eero having relaxing on the balcony.

Eero relaxing on the balcony.

Eero having a splash at our balcony just moments before the sunset. The last few days were blessed with good weather and we could take to pool outside instead of the murky bathroom.

Eero having a splash on our balcony just before sunset. The last few days were blessed with good weather and we could take the pool outside instead of the gloomy bathroom.

Ready steady go!

Ready steady go!

A woman lighting yet another sacrificial candle.

A woman lighting yet another sacrificial candle.

Eero and Maiju admiring the offering candles at the Temple of the Tooth. Having this many burning, they generated quite a  lot of heat and you could not be there too long.

Eero and Maiju admiring the offering candles at the Temple of the Tooth. Having this many burning, they generated quite a lot of heat and you could not be there too long.

Sri Dalada Maligawan eli Temple of the Toothin joka iltainen seremonia oli melko äänekästä kuultavaa. Vaikka vietettiinkin hyvä tovi siellä, niin ei nähty vilaustakaan siitä itse laatikosta jossa sitä hammasta pidetään.

The Temple of the Tooth daily ceremony was rather loud spectacle. Despite we spent a good moment there wandering around, we did not see a single peek of the container supposed to hold the tooth relic itself.

Pattirippuwa or Octagon at the sacred Sri Dalada Maligawa or Temple of the Tooth as it is ofter referred.

Pattirippuwa or Octagon at the sacred Sri Dalada Maligawa or Temple of the Tooth as it is ofter referred.

Myöhemmin Eero esitti oman versionsa rummutuksesta.

Later Eero played his version of the drumming.

A full moon as seen from our house. Not too often can you see the moon this bright back home.

A full moon as seen from our house. Not too often can you see the moon this bright back home.

Embekke Devale is an old hindu temple made mostly out of wood. It is especially famous for the carvings on the pillars around the complex. Here's a picture of a lion and an elephant.

Embekke Devale is an old hindu temple made mostly out of wood. It is especially famous for the carvings on the pillars around the complex. Here’s a picture of a lion and an elephant.

A splash of colour at the back of the temple.

A splash of colour at the back of the temple.

A beatiful lock and a handle at the Embekka Devale. We thought of bringing something like these home, but they were rather expensive and would have been quite difficult to install to our home door.

A beatiful lock and a handle at the Embekka Devale. We thought of bringing something like these home, but they were rather expensive and would have been quite difficult to install to our home door.

Eero was an enthusiastic temple visitor.

Eero was an enthusiastic temple visitor.

Eero having a meditative moment at a pond  inside an old temple complex.

Eero having a meditative moment at a pond inside an old temple complex.

The biggest walking Buddha statue! Almost reaching for the sky.

The biggest walking Buddha statue! Almost reaching for the sky.

One of the few sunsets we saw from our Kandy house. Most of the days it was too cloudy or raining or we just happened to be out of the house during the magical sunset hours.

One of the few sunsets we saw from our Kandy house. Most of the days it was too cloudy or raining or we just happened to be out of the house during the magical sunset hours.

That is our home hill - Primrose Gardens. Our apartment, though, is on the other side of the hill.

That is our home hill – Primrose Gardens. Our apartment, though, is on the other side of the hill.

The former president Rajapaksa had posters like these all over the place and through out the country. Unfortunately for him, even with the baby he lost the election.

The former president Rajapaksa had posters like these all over the place and through out the country. Unfortunately for him, even with such appealing ads he lost the election.

One of the voting posts. An official allowed us to take the picture, but was careful not to be shown in the picture himself as it was not apparently allowed.

One of the voting posts. An official allowed us to take the picture, but was careful not to be shown in the picture himself as it was not apparently allowed.

"We want you to vote!" Two ladies coming back from the voting booth liked Eero. He's looks, though, do not really say the feeling was mutual.

“We want you to vote!” Two ladies coming back from the voting booth liked Eero. He’s looks, though, do not really say the feeling was mutual.

Mountain railway pictorial


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Lopulta kuin lopultakin pääsimme matkustamaan Sri Lankan vuoristojunalla. Jossain vaiheessa näytti jo huonolta, kun maanvyöryt olivat rikkoneet radan. Ihan emme purematta nielleet selitystä, että “trains are not running” ja se tosiaankin piti vain puolittain paikkansa. Tarkoituksenamme oli majapaikkamme (kts aikaisempi postaus) läheltä Ohiyan asemalta Kandyyn. Junat eivät kyllä kulkeneet kyseiseltä asemalta, mutta kulkivat Nanu Oyan asemalta, joka on muutama pysähdys lähempänä Kandyä. Näiden välillä rata tosiaan oli poikki kuten näistä kuvista varmaan hyvin huomaa.

Hieman asiaa pohdittuamme lähdimme matkaan yhdessä toisten majapaikan vieraiden kanssa Nuwara Eliyaan, jonka läheltä nuo junat sitten kulkivat. Tarjoteltiin kyllä kyytiä aina Kandyyn asti 7000 rupian hintaan (n. 44€), mutta onneksi valitsimme kuitenkin sekä vihreän vehreät teeviljemämaisemat sekä kukkarolle sopivan 300 rupian junalipun hinnan.

Mediareportaasi alla.

On our way back “home” from Ohiya, where we spent the New Year, we took a train from Nanu Oya to Kandy. A tea plantation prettiness overdose at the price of  just rs 150!

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Poikien retkiä osa 3


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Pojat ovat taas retkeilleet. Nyt laitetaankin koko Kandyn aika yhteen pakettiin, vaikka alun pitäen piti tulla parissa osassa. Parin ekan viikon jälkeen säiden parantuessa on ollut sen verran aktiviteetteja että ei oikein ole ehtinyt kirjoitella. Myös väliin sijoittuneet retket sekä “kaatosadepäivät” ovat jonkin verran rajoittaneet seikkailupäivien määrää.

Tosiaan reilut pari ekaa viikkoa (pois lukien pari ensimmäistä päivää) Kandyssä on saatu tepastella seikkailemassa melko lailla sateessa joka päivä. Enempi tai vähempi on tihutellut tai sadellut kuin saavista, mutta siitä huolimatta ollaan saatu jos jonkin moista retkeä aikaiseksi. Aika paljon on tullut tepasteltua ja kartoitettua tätä meidän lähikukkulaa eli Primrose Hillsiä ihan vain siitä syystä, että ei kovin hirveässä sateessa ole viitsinyt kauemmas lähteä. Vaikka ollaan käyty myös kotimäkeä kauempana, niin ei bussiretkiä sitten ole tullut kuin oikeastaan yksi. Tuk-tukilla ollaan kuitenkin seikkailtu edes jokunen kerta. Lähinnä tosin vain kävelty.

Kävely lähi kukkulalla onkin ollut varsin hyvää kuntoilua kun parhaimmillaan on tullut melkein pari sataa korkeuserometriä alimman ja ylimmän kohdan välillä ja useasti on tullut sahailtua alas ja ylös teitä. Alla yhden päivän kävelyretken reitti ja profiili.

Monen moista on seikkailut taas tarjonneet, monissa temppeleissä on käyty ja luontoakin nähty varsin mukavasti. Taas on alla iso läjä kuvia ja videoita joista saanee kuvan millaisia seikkailuja on Kandyn ympäristö meille tarjonnut.

 

Perusvarustus päiväkävelyllä

Perusvarustus päiväkävelyllä

Primrosen alue oli paikoitellen varsin jyrkkää. Reidet sai ihan hyvää treeniä kun kulki ylös ja alas.

Primrosen alue oli paikoitellen varsin jyrkkää. Reidet sai ihan hyvää treeniä kun kulki ylös ja alas.

Vain osa alueen teistä oli hyvää asfalttipinnoitettua. Loput olivat joko betonia tai soraa. Tässä yhtä pätkää ollaan päällystämässä pikitieksi.

Vain osa alueen teistä oli hyvää asfalttipinnoitettua. Loput olivat joko betonia tai soraa. Tässä yhtä pätkää ollaan päällystämässä pikitieksi.

Mäen läpi kulki yksi tunneli joka lyhentää matkaa varmaan parilla kilometrillä. Siis jos sattuu olemaan menemässä juuri vastapuolelle. Tunneli oli myös maanvyöryn takia muutaman päivän suljettuna joulupyhien aikaan.

Mäen läpi kulki yksi tunneli joka lyhentää matkaa varmaan parilla kilometrillä. Siis jos sattuu olemaan menemässä juuri vastapuolelle. Tunneli oli myös maanvyöryn takia muutaman päivän suljettuna joulupyhien aikaan.

Yhden pidemmälle vieneen seikkailuretken kohokohta oli maailman isoimman kävelevän buddha-patsaan näkeminen. Tuolta se näytti.

Yhden pidemmälle vieneen seikkailuretken kohokohta oli maailman isoimman kävelevän buddha-patsaan näkeminen. Tuolta se näytti.

Ison buddhan perässä kulki monen monta seuraajaa.

Ison buddhan perässä kulki monen monta seuraajaa.

Maailman isoimman kävelevän buddhan ympärillä oli sellainen buddhapolku, jonka varrella oli erilaisia tapahtumia kuvailtu patsain. Tässä yksi jännimmistä. Yhtään ei oikein tiedä mitä niissä kuvattiin, kun kaikki oli sinhaleesiksi kirjoitettu.

Maailman isoimman kävelevän buddhan ympärillä oli sellainen buddhapolku, jonka varrella oli erilaisia tapahtumia kuvailtu patsain. Tässä yksi jännimmistä. Yhtään ei oikein tiedä mitä niissä kuvattiin, kun kaikki oli sinhaleesiksi kirjoitettu.

Osa polusta oli jopa ihan seikkailullista

Osa polusta oli jopa ihan seikkailullista

Apinoita bongattiin aika monta kertaa

Apinoita bongattiin aika monta kertaa

Näkymiä retkiltä Primrose Gardenin ympärillä. Tässä olikin verrattain hyvä sää.

Näkymiä retkiltä Primrose Gardenin ympärillä. Tässä olikin verrattain hyvä sää.

Bussiretkellä päädyttiin myös tänne "Highway Museum Complexiin". Siellä esiteltiin vanhoja tienrakennuskalustoja. Ei maksanut mitään ja saatiin vieläpä opastuskierros vaikka vettä tihuttikin koko ajan.

Bussiretkellä päädyttiin myös tänne “Highway Museum Complexiin”. Siellä esiteltiin vanhoja tienrakennuskalustoja. Ei maksanut mitään ja saatiin vieläpä opastuskierros vaikka vettä tihuttikin koko ajan.

Eero vetelee wadea lounaaksi reissun keskellä

Eero vetelee wadea lounaaksi reissun keskellä

Lounasta. Hoppers alla ja wade (tai vadai) päällä.

Lounasta. Hoppers alla ja wade (tai vadai) päällä.

Yksi monista temppeleistä joista tuli käytyä täälläkin

Yksi monista temppeleistä joista tuli käytyä täälläkin

Näinkin jännät istuimet voi löytyä täkäläisistä bussipysäkeistä

Näinkin jännät istuimet voi löytyä täkäläisistä bussipysäkeistä

Joulun ajan sateet aiheutti paljon pieniä maanvyörymiä myös Kandyssä. Eeroa kiinnosti ehkä eniten tuo traktori.

Joulun ajan sateet aiheutti paljon pieniä maanvyörymiä myös Kandyssä. Eeroa kiinnosti ehkä eniten tuo traktori.

Eero ja Kandyä sen yläpuolelta vartioiva suuri Buddha

Eero ja Kandyä sen yläpuolelta vartioiva suuri Buddha

Näkymä harmaan sateiseen Kandyn keskustaan

Näkymä harmaan sateiseen Kandyn keskustaan

Ollaan hakemassa lounasta kotiin "dosa" paikasta. Dosa on sellaista täytettyä lettua tavallaan.

Ollaan hakemassa lounasta kotiin “dosa” paikasta. Dosa on sellaista täytettyä lettua tavallaan.

Ja lisää apinoita

Ja lisää apinoita

Kandyssa olisi ollut näin hieno ja iso leikkipuistokin, mutta sateella se pysyi visusti kiinni eikä sitten lopulta ehditty käydä kertaakaan.

Kandyssa olisi ollut näin hieno ja iso leikkipuistokin, mutta sateella se pysyi visusti kiinni eikä sitten lopulta ehditty käydä kertaakaan.

Yritettiin mennä tuonne Dunumadalawa metsikköön. Sinne ei näemmä sitten saakaan mennä. Tosin alakulmassa olevan auton mies sanoi, että voisivat kuskata tuonne puiston läpi ja takaisin, mutta nyt ei voi kun on armeijan paikalla :)

Yritettiin mennä tuonne Dunumadalawa metsikköön. Sinne ei näemmä sitten saakaan mennä. Tosin alakulmassa olevan auton mies sanoi, että voisivat kuskata tuonne puiston läpi ja takaisin, mutta nyt ei voi kun on armeijan paikalla :)

Metsikön sijaan käveltiin sitten tämmöistä reittiä sen reunaa pitkin. Oli iilimatojakin.

Metsikön sijaan käveltiin sitten tämmöistä reittiä sen reunaa pitkin. Oli iilimatojakin.

Tässä megafooneilla töräyttelevä kulkupeli olikin lukeamattomien vaalipropaganda-autojen sijaan munkit mobiilissa temppelissä.

Tässä megafooneilla töräyttelevä kulkupeli olikin lukeamattomien vaalipropaganda-autojen sijaan munkit mobiilissa temppelissä.

Tulvinutta Mahavelia käytiin parikin kertaa katsomassa.

Tulvinutta Mahavelia käytiin parikin kertaa katsomassa.

Taas yksi "mukka" lisää nähty.

Taas yksi “mukka” lisää nähty.

Matkoilla nähtiin tämmöisiä jänniä postilaatikoita

Matkoilla nähtiin tämmöisiä jänniä postilaatikoita

Snack on the go

Snack on the go

Eero ja vesiputous

Eero ja vesiputous

Erään hienostohotellin kupeessa voitiin ihailla bussin pesua

Erään hienostohotellin kupeessa voitiin ihailla bussin pesua

Ensimmäiset aurinkoiset päivät veivät Kandyn keskustan vieressä olevaan Udawattakelen metsikköön. Osa siitä on hieman rämeikköistä ja täältäkin löytyy oma osansa iilimatoja.

Ensimmäiset aurinkoiset päivät veivät Kandyn keskustan vieressä olevaan Udawattakelen metsikköön. Osa siitä on hieman rämeikköistä ja täältäkin löytyy oma osansa iilimatoja.

Jättiläisbambua, jonka Eero ihan oikein tietää olevan pandan suurta herkkua.

Jättiläisbambua, jonka Eero ihan oikein tietää olevan pandan suurta herkkua.

Myös Udawattakele oli armeijan kansoittama. Kuvassa ei oikein näy tämän sotilaan telttamajoite tienpenkan takana, mutta niistä päätellen he pitivät ihan oikeasti majaa metsän keskellä.

Myös Udawattakele oli armeijan kansoittama. Kuvassa ei oikein näy tämän sotilaan telttamajoite tienpenkan takana, mutta niistä päätellen he pitivät ihan oikeasti majaa metsän keskellä.

Runsaat sateet näkyivät yhä puistossa. Veden poikki näkee kulkevan sillan kaiteet, kun itse silta on veden peitossa. Kuvasta voi myös bongata metsäsian raadon sillankaiteisiin tarttuneena.

Runsaat sateet näkyivät yhä puistossa. Veden poikki näkee kulkevan sillan kaiteet, kun itse silta on veden peitossa. Kuvasta voi myös bongata metsäsian raadon sillankaiteisiin tarttuneena.

Kuumat päivät toivat myös syyn vierailla jätskillä. Tämä paikka olikin hyvällä varsin täynnä. Erikoista paikassa on se että sieltä saa vain soijasta tehtyä ruokaa. Jätskikin on siis soijajäätelöä.

Kuumat päivät toivat myös syyn vierailla jätskillä. Tämä paikka olikin hyvällä varsin täynnä. Erikoista paikassa on se että sieltä saa vain soijasta tehtyä ruokaa. Jätskikin on siis soijajäätelöä.

Aurinkoisella säällä näkymät olivat tämmöisiä

Aurinkoisella säällä näkymät olivat tämmöisiä

Välillä matkoilla törmättiin jänniin asioihin

Välillä matkoilla törmättiin jänniin asioihin

Cultural Triangle Revisited


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Toka retki kulttuurikolmion alueelle onnistui paremmin. Tällä kertaa säät suosivat ja päästiin kiertämään Anuradhapuran ja Polonnaruwan nähtävyyksiä hellesäässä. Pari pitkää päivää riitti pikakierrokseen, paljon enemmänkin olisi saanut aikaa kulumaan.

Our second attempt was more successful than the first and we were able to visit the main sights of Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa in two long but rewarding days.

Avukanassa käytiin katsomassa 400-luvulta peräisin olevaa, 12-metristä Buddha-patsasta. Sille ollaan parhaillaan rakentamassa katosta, mikä vähän tärveli paikan muutoin rauhaisaa tunnelmaa.

The 12-meter tall Avukana Buddha statue originates from the 5th century. The tranquility of the place was somewhat lessened by the ongoing construction of a roof for the statue.

Aukana Buddha statue

Avukana Buddha statue

Ajanlaskun alun aikainen pääkaupunki Anuradhapura on kuuluisa yli 2000 vuotta vanhasta boddhi-puusta. Sen kerrotaan kasvaneen sen puun pistokkaista jonka alla Buddha saavutti valaistumisen. Lisäksi siellä on suuria stupia, jotka on restauroitu raunioista vanhaan loistoonsa. Tulvien jäljiltä paikalla oli melko vähän turisteja. Tunnelma oli seesteinen ja harras.

The ancient capital Anuradhapura is known for the more than 2000 years old Bodhi tree. It has supposedly grown out of a sapling from the original tree under which Buddha achieved enlightenment. There are also huge stupas,  or dagobas, carefully restored to their former glory. The atmosphere in Anuradhapura was serene and devout.

 Jetavanarama Dagoba (or Stupa) from the 3rd century, when it was the third tallest building in the world after two Egyptian pyramids

Jetavanarama Dagoba (or Stupa) from the 3rd century, when it was the third tallest building in the world after two Egyptian pyramids

Ruvanvelisaya Dagoba

Ruvanvelisaya Dagoba

Prayer at Ruvanvelisaya

Prayer at Ruvanvelisaya

THE Boddhi Tree. Oldest surviving sapling of the original one.

THE Boddhi Tree. Oldest surviving sapling of the original one.

Sunset at Abhayagiri Dagoba. It was one of the few sunsets we saw during the latter part of the trip. We missed most sunsets because it was either raining or we were walking or driving home from somewhere.

Sunset at Abhayagiri Dagoba. It was one of the few sunsets we saw during the latter part of the trip. We missed most sunsets because it was either raining or we were walking or driving home from somewhere.

After a long, hot day of travelling and sight-seeing, we splurged and took a room in the upscale Avasta resort, which had a refreshing pool

After a long, hot day of travelling and sight-seeing, we splurged and took a room in the upscale Avasta resort, which had a refreshing pool

Mihintalea pidetään Sri Lankan buddhalaisuuden syntysijana. Korkean mäen rinteillä on ikivanhan luostarikompleksin rauniot ja huipulta komeat näkymät.

Mihintale is considered to be the cradle of Buddhism in Sri Lanka. Nowadays, there is the ruins of an ancient monastery complex and great views from the top of a hill.

1840 steps to Mihintale rock temple

1840 steps to Mihintale rock temple

Rules and regulations for the monks, inscribed originally on stone slabs more than 1000 years ago

Rules and regulations for the monks, inscribed originally on stone slabs more than 1000 years ago

Ambastala Dagoba in the front with Maha Stupa in the background

Ambastala Dagoba in the front with Maha Stupa in the background

Meditation rock on the way to the top of the hill. It looks a scarier than it really was :)

Meditation rock on the way to the top of the hill. It looks a scarier than it really was :)

From the Maha Stupa, you could see the big stupas of Anuradhapura in the distance

From the Maha Stupa, you could see the big stupas of Anuradhapura in the distance

Polonnaruwassa on valtavan keskiaikaisen pääkaupungin rauniot. 1000 vuotta sitten Polonnaruwa oli silloisen kaupunkisuunnittelun taidonnäyte.

Polonnaruwa was the medieval capital of Sri Lanka. Back in the day, a thousand years ago, the city was a masterpiece of urban planning.

Lion throne and the council chamber of King Nissankamalla, 12th century

Lion throne and the council chamber of King Nissankamalla, 12th century

Roar

Roar

Another council chamber

Another council chamber

Royal bathing pond

Royal bathing pond

Royal palace, which is said to have been seven storeys high

Royal palace, which is said to have been seven storeys high

Atadage, temple of tooth. Here they kept the tooth relic of Buddha.

Atadage, temple of tooth. Here they kept the tooth relic of Buddha.

Hatadage, where the tooth relic was later moved

Hatadage, where the tooth relic was later moved

Vatadage, an impressive-looking circular structure housing four Buddha images

Vatadage, an impressive-looking circular structure housing four Buddha images

Four separate entrances lead to the four Buddhas

Four separate entrances lead to the four Buddhas

Shiva Devale stands out from the other buildings and shows Indian influences

Shiva Devale stands out from the other buildings and shows Indian influences

Stone book. Paper seems to be a more user-friendly material for books.

Stone book. Paper seems to be a more user-friendly material for books.

Gal Vihara consists of four images of Buddha, all cut from a single slab of granite

Gal Vihara consists of four images of Buddha, all cut from a single slab of granite

Head of the 14-meter long reclining Buddha

Head of the 14-meter long reclining Buddha

Lotus pond

Lotus pond

Statue of a king or sage

Statue of a king or sage

We didn't have time to visit Minneriya National Park to see some elephants. Luckily, we were able to see some next to the road!

We didn’t have time to visit Minneriya National Park to see some elephants. Luckily, we were able to see some next to the Polonnaruwa-Habarana road!

Toot toot

Toot toot

Year’s end at World’s End


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Sri Lankalla ja ilmeisesti koko Etelä- ja Kaakkois-Aasiassa kärsittiin poikkeuksellisen huonosta säästä vuoden 2014 viimeiset pari viikkoa. Täällä on uutisten mukaan ollut huonoin sää sitten vuoden 1957, yli miljoona ihmistä on joutunut evakkoon kodeistaan ja nelisenkymmentä on kuollut tulvissa ja maanvyörymissä.

Meidän kannalta huono sää on ollut lähinnä tylsä juttu: on pitänyt olla paljon neljän seinän sisällä ja jättää väliin tai lykätä retkiä tuonnemmaksi. Ei siis mitään isompaa vahinkoa, mutta harmillinen tuuri kuitenkin.

Uudeksivuodeksi oltiin järkätty uusi retki Hill Countryyn eli Sri Lankan korkeimmille seuduille. Sääennusteet antoivat johdonmukaisesti toiveita siitä, että sää paranisi vuodenvaihteessa. Epäonnisen kulttuurikolmion retken jälkeen epäiltiin silti viimeiseen saakka, mahdetaanko päästä perille vai ei.

Uudenvuoden aatonaatto valkeni kuin valkenikin melkein sateettomana, ja päästiin lähtemään matkaan. Tie nousee Kandysta vähitellen ylemmäs, ja maisemaa alkavat hallita teepensaiden peittämät kukkulat. Päivä oli sateettomuudesta huolimatta sumuinen/pilvinen, joten kovin paljon ei vielä päästy teeplantaaseja ihailemaan. Ne ovat nimittäin tosi sieviä, vaikka ehkä edustavatkin ongelmallista monokulttuuria. Pysähdyttiin ilmeisesti kaikkien muiden tätä tietä matkaavien turistien tapaan Blue Field Tea Gardenissa. Siellä oli iso kahvila (tai teelä?!) ja kauppa, mutta lisäksi sai piipahtaa teetehtaassa, jossa kerrottiin perustiedot teen valmistusprosessista ja eri teelaaduista.

Vähän pidempi tauko pidettiin Nuwara Eliyan kaupungissa, jota kutsutaan ilmastonsa takia myös pikku-Englanniksi. Se on erityisesti paikallisten turistien suosima lomakohde “eksoottisen” ilmastonsa takia (vrt. palmurantaeksotiikka meille). Jaloiteltiin vähän aikaa Victoria Parkissa, jonka leikkipuistossa päästiin myös pienelle juna-ajelulle. Lisäksi haukattiin lounasta kiireisessä masala dosa -paikassa, hankittiin vähän uudenvuodenviinä ja ostettiin Eerolle uudet sandaalit jalasta putoilevien Crocsien tilalle. Vähän myöhemmin kävi ilmi, että ne ovat tyypilliset aasialaiset lastenkengät, joista lähtee vinkunaa kun niillä kävelee.

Toy train at Victoria Park, Nuwara Eliya

Toy train at Victoria Park, Nuwara Eliya

Viinillä ja vinkukengillä varustautuneina päästiin jatkamaan vielä loppuetappi syrjäiseen Ohiyan kylään 1774 metrin korkeudessa. Aika kapeaa ja mutkikasta tietä oli loppumatka, ja viimeiset 750 metriä majapaikalle piti kävellä jalan, kun tie näytti turhan hankalalta meidän kuskille ja minibussille. Päästiin perille vähän ennen pimeän tuloa ja ehdittiin vakuuttua siitä, että Hill Safari Eco Lodgen sijainti oli ihan vaivan arvoinen. Niin syrjässä oltiin, ettei ollut kännykkä- tai edes sähköverkkoa (pimeän valoa ja sähköä surruutti dieselgeneraattori), mutta vastineeksi saatiin kirkas tähtitaivas.

Sri Lanka (like most of South and South-East Asia) suffered from exceptionally bad weather for the latter two weeks of December 2014. More than a million people have been evacuated, and around forty have been killed in flash floods and mudslides. For us, the weather has only been a bore, something that has prevented us from sightseeing etc. So we can’t really complain – we’ve just had a bit of bad luck weather-wise.

Toward the end of the year, the weather got better and we were able to go on our New Year trip in the Hill Country as planned. Along the way, we stopped briefly in Nuwara Eliya and took  a stroll and a toy train ride in Victoria Park. Just before sunset, we reached the Hill Safari Eco Lodge in a remote village called Ohiya at the altitude of 1774 meters above sea level.

Approaching Hill Safari Eco Lodge in Ohiya

Approaching Hill Safari Eco Lodge in Ohiya

Hill Safari Eco Lodge has spectacular location

Hill Safari Eco Lodge has spectacular location

Orion's belt clearly visible in the starry sky

Orion’s belt clearly visible in the starry sky

Uudenvuodenaattoaamuna hypättiin tuktukin kyytiin ja huristeltiin Horton Plainsin kansallispuistoon. Puisto sijaitsee nimensä mukaisesti reilun kahden kilometrin korkeudessa tasaisella ylängöllä. Siellä käpsyteltiin yhdeksän kilometrin lenkki melko afrikkalaishenkisissä maisemissa. Saatiin vaihtelun vuoksi vaatteet kastumaan hiestä eikä sateesta.

Eero learning the tricks of tuktuk trade

Eero learning the tricks of tuktuk trade

Pretty landscape at Horton Plains

Pretty landscape at Horton Plains

The scenery at Horton Plains was quite Africanesque

The scenery at Horton Plains was quite Africanesque

Puiston päänähtävyys on World’s End, joka oli meidän mielestä osuva paikka lopettaa vuosi. World’s End on melkein 900 metriä korkea jyrkänne, joka jatkuu loivempana alamäkenä aina rannikolle asti. Oikein kirkkaalla säällä ylhäältä voi kuulemma nähdä Dondran majakan. Onneksi oltiin jo nähty se ihan vierestä, niin ettei haitannut vaikkei nyt näkynyt 🙂

First view of the World's End

First view of the World’s End

Well of course it's dangerous, it's the end of the world!

Well of course it’s dangerous, it’s the end of the world!

Guess which way we took?!

Guess which way we took?!

Naturally, the more adventurous one!

Naturally, the more adventurous one!

World's End, the valley below, and the quickly approaching clouds

World’s End, the valley below, and the quickly approaching clouds

Oltiin itse paikalla täsmälleen oikealla hetkellä. Ehdittiin vielä hyvin kuikkia alas laaksoon, mutta muutamaa minuuttia myöhemmin alhaalta vyöryvät pilvet peittivät näkymän kokonaan. Tällä perusteella maailmanloppu vaikuttaa siis varsin pilviseltä?!?

The clouds about to swallow the view

The clouds about to swallow the view

Kävelylenkin varrella oli myös 20-metrinen vesiputous Baker’s Falls. Sateiden jäljiltä putous oli ihan pirteässä kunnossa, toisin kuin me, joten jatkettiin takaisin puiston sisäänkäynnille syömään vähän evästä. Eero pääsi syöttämään eväsleipää myös parkkipaikalle ilmestyneelle sambarille.

Baker's Falls is 20 meters high

Baker’s Falls is 20 meters high

Eero determined to walk by himself

Eero determined to walk by himself

Farr Inn visitor centre is former hunting lodge (as hinted by the decor)

Farr Inn visitor centre is former hunting lodge (as hinted by the decor)

If you're lucky, you might be able to spot a sambar deer in the distance...

If you’re lucky, you might be able to spot a sambar deer in the distance…

... or up close

… or up close

Palatessa hypättiin tuktukin kyydistä kesken matkan ja lähdettiin kävelemään Lodgelle pitkin teeplantaasien läpi kulkevaa reittiä. Pituutta piti olla seitsemän kilometriä, mutta arvio taisi olla vähän alakanttiin. Ei tiedetä tarkkaan, kun Mikon puhelin sen ja gps-jäljitys hyytyivät kesken matkan. Näkymät olisivat olleet upeita, mutta sakea sumu heikensi elämystä ja hämäsi suuntavaistoa, niin että välillä epäiltiin taivalletaanko lainkaan oikeaan suuntaan. Oltiin melkein jo luovuttu toivosta, kun majapaikan tuttu risteys ilmestyi sumun keskeltä.

Tea Plantation Loop

Tea Plantation Loop

Spooky but scenic

Spooky but scenic

A long and winding road (eventually took us back to Hill Safari Eco Lodge)

A long and winding road (eventually took us back to Hill Safari Eco Lodge)

Lost at tea

Lost at tea

Abandoned tea factory

Abandoned tea factory

The boys were curious about each other

The boys were curious about each other

Loppuilta lepuuteltiin päivän kävelyretkistä rasittuneita jalkoja, pidettiin rankkasadetta (joka siis iski vielä viimeisen kerran ennen vuodenvaihdetta) ja jutusteltiin majapaikan toisten vieraiden, slovenialaisten Boriksen ja Spelan kanssa. Aattoillan kunniaksi meille tarjottiin ei-erityisen-juhlava nuudeli-illallinen. Ihan hyvää oli kuitenkin.

Kun Eero oli saatu lopulta taintumaan, me jatkettiin vielä illanviettoa Boriksen ja Spelan kanssa. Pelattiin carromia nelinpelinä, juotiin meidän tuoma viini ja tuktuk-kuskin sateen läpi kuskaamat oluset, sinniteltiin väsymyksestä huolimatta puolilleöin ja räjäytettiin kahdeltatoista muutama Mikon ostama paukku. Varsin rauhallinen mutta ikimuistoinen vuodenvaihde ainutlaatuisessa paikassa!

Fire cracker spectacle

Fire cracker spectacle

On New Year’s Eve, we went for a hike in the Horton Plains National Park. The main attraction there is World’s End, an escarpment that plunges down almost 900 meters. On a very clear day, you’re supposed to see all the way to the coast from the top. We were there just in time to see the valley far below, before everything was covered in clouds. On the way back to the lodge, we did the Tea Plantation Loop and walked around 10 kilometres through misty but beautiful tea estates.

Back at the lodge we had a nice and relaxed New Year’s Eve with a lovely Slovenian couple, Boris and Spela. Some carrom, beer & wine, and fire crackers made it a very peaceful but memorable New Year at a unique location.

 

Regular day at the office


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This is how Maiju’s typical work day goes here in Sri Lanka.

At the Kandy House, the day begins with sweeping the floor upstairs from gecko droppings. I try to take this as a meditation exercise inspired by Japanese monks who rake the gravel in their rock gardens every day.

After breakfast, it’s time for some concentration exercises with Eero as my personal trainer. While I try to write, he keeps yelling, getting into trouble and tugging at my sleeve for attention. This he does, of course, lovingly and in the best intention. He is only trying to help me build concentration skills so rock solid that the sky could fall without me noticing.

My ghost writer. Am I going to get in trouble if University of Helsinki finds out?

My ghost writer. Am I going to get in trouble if University of Helsinki finds out?

In the fornoon,  the boys leave for one of their trips and I usually get a generous couple of hours undisturbed work time only disrupted by some Facebooking, random internet browsing (e.g. Googling for tips on how to get rid of mildew on EVERYTHING), writing emails and our travel blog, etc., etc.

When the boys return, it’s already time for a lunch break and after that, weather allowing, for an afternoon stroll. You can’t just stay inside all the time and work, can you? And while you’re already out of the house, it’s only sensible to be on the move until the dusk and dinner time. After returning home in the evening it’s too late to work anymore so it’s time for relaxation and quality time with the the boys.

Nap time, work time!

Nap time, work time!

Quite amazingly, I have been able to get some writing done on this trip. But small streams make big rivers, and I have been working at least a little most days, including Christmas. So I will return home with chapter 7 written (it’s nearly ready and I still have one week left), with chapter 8  (the last one!) well planned, and with a lot of ideas for introduction and conclusions. I guess that’s an okay accomplishment given the sometimes challenging working conditions and all the interesting things to see and do that lure me away from my writing.

 

 

 

 

Kultuurikolmiofiasko / The Great Cultural Triangle Fiasco


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Kandyn kaupunki sijaitsee kätevästi ylänköseutujen ja ns. kulttuurikolmion (joka pitää sisällään Sri Lankan UNESCO-kohteet) rajalla. Sieltä on suhteellisen lyhyt matka moneen turisteille “pakolliseen” käyntikohteeseen. Meilläkin on aikomus tehdä Kandysta käsin jokunen vähän pitempi retki.

Joulunaluspäiville oltiin järjestetty kahden yön ja kolmen päivän reissu kulttuurikolmion ihmeisiin: Dambullan luolatemppeliin, Sigiriyan kalliolinnoitukseen sekä Polonnaruwan ja Anuradhapuran muinaisiin kaupunkeihin. Retki alkoi lupaavasti kuskin ilmoituksella, että Polonnaruwaan ei välttämättä pääse rankkasateiden aiheuttamien tulvien takia. Seuraava hyvä enne tuli noin tunnin ajomatkan jälkeen, kun Eero oksensi autoon.

Sääennusteet olivat kieltämättä näyttäneet vähän heikoilta jo edellisiltana: niissä povattiin rankkasadetta kaikkiin käyntikohteisiin tai oikeastaan koko saarelle. Päätettiin kuitenkin pitäytyä suunnitelmissa ja toivoa hyvää tuuria, säästä ja sääennusteista kun ei ikinä tiedä.

Unfortunately, weather forecasts were right and it started raining while we visited Dambulla

Unfortunately, weather forecasts were right and it started raining while we visited Dambulla

Eero telling that there's a big and a small "toot toot" [elephant]

Eero explaining that there’s a big and a small “toot toot” [elephant]

Eero has learned that you take photos of interesting things you see. Now he yells "kuva, kuva" [picture, picture] whenever something catches his eye.

Eero has learnt that you take photos of interesting things you see. Now he yells “kuva, kuva” [picture, picture] whenever something catches his eye.

Ensimmäiseksi vierailtiin Dambullan luolatemppelillä. Yli 2000 vuotta vanha temppelikompleksi sijaitsee ison mäen päällä ja pitää sisällään luolia, joissa on erilaisia ja eri kokoisia Buddha-patsaita ja kattomaalauksia. Dambullassa satoi kaatamalla juuri sen aikaa, kun kierrettiin luolia. Auringostakin ehdittiin silti nähdä vilaus ekaa kertaa viikkoon.

Dambulla temple

Dambulla temple

View from Dambulla

View from Dambulla

The Dambulla caves are lined with Buddha statues

The Dambulla caves are lined with Buddha statues

The caves had Buddha statues in different shapes and sizes.

The caves had Buddha statues in different shapes and sizes.

A lot of Mukkas

A lot of Mukkas

Tästä rohkaistuneena jatkettiin matkaa Sigiriyaan. Siellä saa rapsakat $30 pulittamalla tutustua 400-luvun lopulta peräisin olevan, korkean kivennyppylän päälle rakennetun linnoituksen raunioihin. Mäen alla on aikanaan ollut laaja puutarha, josta on jäljellä muureja, pengermiä ja lammikoita.

Mikko and Eero at the beginning of Sigiriya water world experience, still dry at this point

Mikko and Eero at the beginning of Sigiriya water world experience, still dry at this point

Walls in the lower garden

Walls in the lower garden

Termites have built their own palaces within the fortress

Termites have built their own palaces within the fortress

Ylös kiivetään jyrkkiä portaikkoja pitkin. Suunnilleen puolivälissä matkaa pääsi katsomaan vähäpukeisia neitokaisia esittäviä seinämaalauksia kallion kyljessä. Ovat ilmeisesti kuuluisia taideaarteita, mutta ei osattu ihan arvostaa niitä, kun restaurointi on taidettu tehdä vähän tökerösti. Kuten opaskirja toteaa, maalaukset näyttävät paremmilta postikorteissa kuin livenä. Tunnelmia latisti myös alhaalla alkanut ja koko ajan voimistunut sade.

Boulder arch

The climb takes you through boulder arches

Through the mist, you could see that the view must be beautiful in good weather

Through the mist, you could see that the view must be beautiful in good weather

Sigiriya on kaikkein kuuluisin leijonaportaikostaan. Mäen huipulle ja varsinaisille linnoituksen raunioille kuljetaan portaista, jonka molemmin puolin on valtavan kokoiset leijonan käpälät. Arvellaan, että aikanaan leijona olisi ollut kokonainen, ja ylös päästäkseen olisi pitänyt siis uskaltaa astua leijonan kitaan. Nyt piti uskaltautua vain sateesta tulvehtiville portaille.

The famous Lion Gate

The famous Lion Gate

Lion's paw

Lion’s paw up close

Hyvällä säällä ylhäältä olisi varmasti hienot maisemat. Nyt näkyi lähinnä harmaata pilvimassaa, sen verran mitä ennätettiin kurkkia ennen kuin taivas repesi.

Maiju the not-so-happy camper on top of Sigiriya rock

Maiju the already not-so-happy camper on top of Sigiriya rock moments before the downpour

Kun päästiin takaisin alas ja yhytettiin kuskimme/isäntämme Nimal, kuultiin että lisää teitä on joutunut tulvan alle. Polonnaruwaan ja Anuradhapuraan ei kumpaankaan olisi menemistä. Hetki siinä pähkättiin mutta tehtiin sitten suosiolla päätös keskeyttää Cultural Triangle Grand Tour ja kääntyä takaisin Kandyyn.

Retki vähän lässähti kasaan mutta päätös taisi olla oikea. Kotosalla lueskeltiin uutisista, että tulvien takia on evakuoitu tuhansia ja että autoja on turvallisuussyistä kielletty menemästä Anuradhapuraan. Toivottavasti tulva hellittää pian, ensisijaisesti tietenkin kodeistaan evakuoitujen takia mutta myös siksi, että me voitaisiin yrittää retkeä paremmalla onnella uudestaan 🙂

We had planned a little pre-Christmas trip: a grand tour of the Cultural Triangle sights, including Dambulla, Sigiriya, Polonnaruwa, and Anuradhapura. We were supposed to be on the road for two nights & three days but only got to see Dambulla and Sigiriya. The heavy rains have caused floods and Polonnaruwa and Anuradhapura were off limits so we had to cut the grand tour short. If the weather gets better we’ll give it a second try!

Christmas Kandy


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Meidän perheen joulu Kandyssa piti sisällään jotain vanhaa, jotain uutta, jotain lainattua ja jotain sinistä!

Our Christmas in Kandy included something new, something old, something borrowed, and something blue.

Many restaurants have colourfully decorated Christmas trees, which have kept Eero entertained through several dinners

Many restaurants have colourfully decorated Christmas trees, which have kept Eero entertained through several dinners

Light Christmas rain on Kandy lake

Light Christmas rain on Kandy lake

Our Christmas walk took us to the atmospheric Garrison cemetery. 20-year-old George Baxter Wilson died in Kitoolamoola in 1865 from "remittent fever".

Our Christmas walk took us to the atmospheric Garrison cemetery. 20-year-old George Baxter Wilson died in Kitoolamoola in 1865 from “remittent fever”.

RIP James and Willhelm

RIP James and Willhelm

Most of the headstones are for young adults and infants

Most of the headstones are for young adults and infants

Chef Mikko's Christmas Dinner: pumpkin with spicy cashews, brinjal curry, prawns, seer wish, and red rice

Chef Mikko’s Christmas Dinner: pumpkin with spicy cashews, brinjal curry, prawns, seer fish, and red rice

Christmas night called for a game of carrom. Ever since spotting the game through the bus window years ago, we've wanted to give it a go but haven't been able before. Great fun!

Christmas eve called for a game of carrom. Ever since spotting the game through the bus window years ago, we’ve wanted to give it a go but haven’t had the chance before. Great fun, we’ll have to get a carrom board home, too!

You can get decent Australian, South African and South American wines from the "wine shops". At this hour, the elves look quite tired.

You can get decent Australian, South African and South American wines from the “wine shops”. At this hour, the elves look quite tired.

Christmas day breakfast: rice porridge made with coconut milk, fresh fruit & juice, toast with pineapple marmelade

Christmas day breakfast: rice porridge made with coconut milk, fresh fruit & juice, toast with pineapple marmelade

Santa had left something in the stocking: wooden animals for Eero and antique keys for Maiju and Mikko

Santa had left something in the stocking: wooden animals for Eero and antique keys for Maiju and Mikko

Yul log by the Bake House. To be honest, it looks better than tastes.

Yule log by the Bake House. To be honest, it looked better than tasted.

At around three euros, the log was good value considering the amusement and photo opportunities it provided

At around three euros, the log was good value considering the amusement and photo opportunities it provided

Sinivuorten yö / Blue Christmas Night

Sinivuorten yö / Blue Christmas Night

Power was out on Boxing Day morning but these guys were already fixing it

Power was out on Boxing Day morning but these guys were already fixing it

Rains have caused landslides around Kandy

Rains have caused landslides around Kandy

Our Boxing Day stroll took us to the river at the bottom of our hill. Quite a lot more water than two weeks ago when we first arrived here.

Our Boxing Day stroll took us to the river at the bottom of our hill. Quite a lot more water than two weeks ago when we first arrived here.

A lot of locals were also admiring the river at its impressive after-the-rains state

A lot of locals were also admiring the river at its impressive after-the-rains state

Santa's footprints in the sno..., err, pavement

Santa’s footprints in the sno…, err, pavement

We live in the yellow house

We live in the yellow house up the hill