Joyful Diversion

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Because of the flooding in Wilpaththu national park I was unable to push through to Putallum Lagoon as planned. No wild camping in one of Sri Lanka’s greatest parks for me. To a certain degree my thoughts were now focussed on my return to Colombo and a scheduled flight to India. I enjoyed an amazing lunch of egg hoppers at Bogaswewa junction. I was joined by an elderly well spoken Buddhist monk. He invited me to his place for dinner the next day but I explained I was on a schedule and had to keep moving. The restaurant at the junction sold excellent food and the staff were very friendly. Not surprisingly it was a very popular place to eat.

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It was pitch black when I arrived back in Anuradhapura. The great Buddhist stupas or domes were lit up against the sky. This time I needed to find accommodation. Lonely Planet recommends Hotel Milano. It was a little on the expensive side for me but a welcome treat after a fairly gruelling cycle ride. In real terms Hotel Milano provides a quality stay for a reasonable price. Good people too.

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One particularly handy thing was that I was able to take my bike into the ground floor room. Somewhat guiltily I took it into the shower room and gave it a good scrub and clean. It took some time and well into the early hours of the morning. With maintenance and oiling my bike was like new again.

Refreshed I set off the next day South along the A28. The sun was shining once again. I spotted an artist creating Buddhas in his studio and saw wonderful roadside fruit stalls. Sri Lankan pineapples are the best! I stopped briefly at a beauty spot visited by children on a school outing. I then happened on a Buddhist shrine discreetly tucked away off the beaten path.

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IMG_1696 IMG_1698 IMG_1699I met a monk descending the path and he encouraged me to visit and take my bicycle to the small religious enclave at the base of high rocks which provided a commanding view in every direction. At the buildings a younger monk placed oil on my forehead and showed me a small deer that lived with them. I climbed the rocks high above a huge statue of Buddha and enjoyed the view.

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The day ended with a beautiful sunset and with few choices and unable to camp I took a room in yet another seedy hotel.

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