Pink Saturday in Sri Lanka...

Today's post is brought to us via Kendalee of Dance of a Painted Lady... she emailed me wonderful information and photos... so I will let this VIRTUAL trip to Sri Lanka be told in her own words... PINK wording is mine, the rest is ALL Kendalee... here are her dancing feet in the sands of Sri Lanka...

The Reason for why I've chosen Sri Lanka, formerly Ceylon, it's hard to summarise.

I've always loved islands and there's something very special about those in the Indian Ocean. Perhaps because they were on the main trade routes between Europe and the East they enjoyed such diverse cultural influences, which are still reflected in the places they are today - Mauritius, Madagascar, Zanzibar, the Seychelles... All places that reflect this and that I have been lucky enough to visit.

And then last year I travelled to Sri Lanka. The teardrop shaped tropical island just south-east of the Indian sub-continent, know for it's incredible cultural history, vast bio-diversity and tumultuous political climate, is somewhere I've long wanted to visit.

My two week trip was memorable for so many reasons - marking a milestone in my interior life; great quality time with my mother (a very special someone); my first visit (of many I hope) to one of the most interesting, culturally rich and naturally beautiful places on the planet; Buddhist & Hindu temples and festivals; elephants in the wild; unspoiled beaches on the Indian Ocean; eco-tourism at its best; meeting lovely people - other travelers as well as locals; Ayurvedic massage; spiced chai, the finest black and green teas, and ginger beer; great food - especially the fresh seafood and exotic fruits...

Rice and curry is the national dish and Sri Lankans enjoy some of the spiciest foods in the world - a mixture of Indian and Malaysian, influenced by the European colonials. Sliced onions, green chilies, black pepper, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, nutmeg, and saffron are used to add flavour. Most of the food is vegetarian but meat, fish and shellfish are eaten too, often prepared as curries, often using Ayurvedic principles. A variety of small curry dishes are all served and then mixed on the plate with rice to be eaten with the fingers. Delicious, complex flavours! Rice and curry used to be eaten as breakfast but now it's more likely to be had at lunchtime.
Of course, there's also LOTS of delicious tropical fruit - coconut, passion fruit, papaya, mango, durian, rambutan and something I'd never tasted before called a wood apple. All made into juices.

I could go on and on. :) Let's just say, we ate & drank well. Very well!

Fifi says, THANK YOU to Kendalee for your story... NOW... please tell us about your photographs.

Kandy house... the gardens - appropriately lush... (Fifi painted them from Kendalee's photo)...
Beautiful Villa hotel designed by Bawa where we stayed. His style incorporates many open courtyards and water features. They serve complimentary tea and cake on the lawns at 4pm every afternoon... Delicious! ...
The courtyard as seen from the reception area... (Fifi painted via Kendalee's photo)
This is the most amazing eco-hotel - with an open library overlooking a watering hole on the one side (where amazing bird life and even an elephant or two can be seen) and a lotus pond courtyard on the other. How can one not feel relaxed in surroundings like these?

Beasts of burden and held in much affection, elephants are still central to Sri Lankan life. They are adorned in festivals and treated with respect.
Club Villa Beach... unspoilt beaches and tropical waters - bliss...
Ranweli... traditional fishing boat. Still widely used off Sri Lankan shores...
Kandy Temple... the holiest Buddhist site in the country - home of the holiest relics and incredibly beautiful wooden inner temple building...
Sigirya Rock... amazing fortress palace build on top of this rock - and entire royal household lived on top of it. There's even a huge bathing pool dug into the rock itself... And the view is breathtaking... Polannaruwa... Buddha in the temple, Hindu style gods on the front of the steps... One of hundreds of orchids to be seen in the magnificent botanical gardens in Kandy...
These are said to resemble the traditional Kandy dancers who wear big pantaloons and elaborate head-dresses and they do! Can't see anything else when I look at them now... One of the Frangipani that the Villa is named after. A less common colour, the deep pink. Smells just as lovely as the white and yellow varieties! (Fifi painted these from one of Kendalee's photos)...
And let's not forget the tea... Tea Highlands... Ceylon, as Sri Lanka was know under colonialism... Still one of the biggest producers of fine black tea in the world...
There was nothing about the experience that I didn't enjoy. It is a magical, beautiful place and I have some amazing memories to savour until I am able to visit again.... And that's it really.

If you'd like to look up some more about the country, this link has the basic info about all the main attractions on the island. http://www.srilankatourism.org/attactions.php

Fifi says THANK YOU! THANK YOU! to Kendalee for a GREAT VIRTUAL trip to Sri Lanka. What make it even more special for moi... is that you took the trip with your mother... and welllllll... this was my way of taking my mother virtually on a trip for her birthday today!

NOW... let's pop over and visit Beverly of How Sweet the Sound to see what all the PINK girls are up to on this PINK Saturday... come along... let's have some FUN!

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