04.08.2015 33 °C
At the halfway mark of our Sri Lankan trip we've landed in Polonnaruwa. There's not much to the town so don't come here if you want to have a party. On the other hand if you'd like to see some elephants and the ruins of an ancient city then a couple of days here is very pleasant.
Yesterday we went on safari to Minneriya National Park. We were promised that we'd get to see lots of elephants and that's exactly what we got. The park is about 40 minutes drive away and our host Manju (from Samagi Villa Guesthouse) organises safari trips. We spent a few hours watching elephants kicking the grass, eating it up and doing what elephants do. I have to admit I was surprised at the amount of safari jeeps that were in the park but I can see why there were. It was an absolute delight just looking at them. We must have seen over one hundred elephants in the couple of hours we were there.
Today we were given some bikes to go and cycle around the ancient ruins - it was bloody hot but it was well worth it. The ancient city is fairly compact compared to Anaradaphura and also remains pretty intact. You could get a real sense of how it once was. It's not on the scale of Angkor Wat but is nonetheless very impressive. Whilst there we also bumped into our driver from Anaradaphura - a lovely fellow called Akila who undoubtedly has the best sounding laugh in Sri Lanak. Unfortunately poor Joe got a dose of the tummy rots so while we two retired back to the guesthouse the rest of the family went swimming in a pool in a nearby hotel.
Our guesthouse is a 15 minute walk from the town but to be honest I can't see why you'd be going there after dark - there's very little to do in Polonnaruwa after 6pm. As such its been a few days spent doing some tourist things and then chilling in the house and eating dinner on an open verandah each evening. The wi-fi and cable TV meant the kids were happy to spend time in the house. The laundry standard also beats most of what we've encountered thus far in Sri Lanka - the breeze and high temperatures also mean your clothes dry in a few hours. After our minor discomfort in Jaffna, Polonnaruwa has been a very pleasant interlude for the family.
Tomorrow we head to Arugam Bay on the East Coast for a few days so hopefully the kids and Caroline will get some surfing and snorkelling in - I'll probably just sit around drinking some Lion Lager while they're doing that. Two weeks down - two weeks to go. It's been a blast so far.