Sri Lanka – Adam’s Peak

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Adam’s Peak from the hotel balcony

Adam’s Peak, a 2,243m tall mountain in Sri Lanka, a pillgrimmage for a wide variety of religions. At the peak you find a sacred footprint that the Buddhists believe is the footprint that Buddha left behind when he touched upin Earth, for the Hindu’s it is that of Shiva, and for the Abrahamic religions, Adam (hence why in English it’s called Adam’s Peak).Thus a place of huge significance, however, for the average traveller you scale the 5,200 steps in the dead of night to see the sun rise over the gorgeous and endless terrain.

But before we even got there, we needed to pick up a ragtag group of compatriots to scale this beast of a lower-body workout (my butt hurt three days, and let’s not even mention my calves). The best place to find them? Ah, let me introduce you to a bar in Kandy (see previous post). We had the American, Tanzanian, Brits… and well it still seemed a bit short. And thus, at the train station, unbeknownst to us, we prowled through the crowd to find our next victims that we would snag on the train to come join us on our perils. That’s how we managed to ensnare a lovely South African (Matt) a Czech couple (who decided that the best way to integrate the groups was with a decent helping of 72% Sliwowica… that knocked us to our feet) and a little later on after the train journey, some gorgeous Australians (it was the beard that convinced me that they were necessary. Well just Leigh, his girlfriend lacked this necessary feature).

The train itself, well it was our first in Sri Lanka, was not all that interesting (reminding us of the Inter Region trains in Poland). The journey however, with the gorgeous views and dazzling assortment of people, was brilliant (unfortunately the photos don’t really convey the vastness of the landscape – it truly is an amazing place). Once we reach the train station near the peak, we have a small council in order to determine who is going where… and somehow in that momement Glowa, Sabina and I decided that our hotel was uncomfortable and needed to change it immediately… to the one where the larger part of our ensemble were spending the night (an apt decision trust me).

After a quick meal (and I think a beer – it’s been a while), we got to bed early. We needed to get up at 2am in order to climb the daunting thing in front of us (as Glowa kept insisting he would die during it, he would much prefer to be well rested). To tell you the truth I was just glad I wouldn’t be spooning Glowa for a night.

We get up slightly groggy at 2am, prepared ourselves (I don’t even remember if there was a coffee drunk at this point, so I may have been slightly short with the guys. Again, I do apologise) and headed out. Unfortunately at this time of the year the path wasn’t lit yet, so let’s just say we stumbled about a lot, using our mobile’s flashes as flashlights for the most part (we weren’t prepared… well Glowa as usual was but Sabina and I are odd optimists about such things as 5,200 cut steps over cliffs during the dead of night). After passing through the little village that preceeded the start of the trail, composing ourselves, making the odd nervous joke, we began. Now, Sabina and I kind of know how Glowa feels about stairs – he absolutely hates them, and when I mean hate, I mean the kind of hate you have for your roomate that eats your food, doesn’t wash up and honestly believes that Posh Spice was the best spice girl (come on, we all know it was Ginger Spice, right?). So in order to withstand the enourmous amount of complaining that we would hear on our way, we decided to leave Glowa with the rest of the troupe (we’re not mean you know… he’d known these guys for at least two days, they’d take care of him right?). The German (Sabina) being a German set off on a quite stiff pace, which she intended to uphold the entire trip. I being me, well I wasn’t going to let the fitness freak of a German beat me, the slightly flabby AusPole whose main nightly ritual was going to the local bar five nights a week and downing a few whiskeys). And so we stepped, and stepped, a few more steps, and stepped until… Sabina asked for a break, and then another, collapsed on the ground claiming she would do not one more, swore and imagined stabbing me with an ice pick at the back of my head. You may ask why she felt this need to maim me… well it was my cheeryness throughout the whole trip. Talking to people barely ought of breath, making jokes, playing my uke (which I had decided to play atop the mountain) challenging her to little races, telling her that she can’t let this insult-to-adonis of a man beat her… Yeah, I think she was well within her place.

Once we were just a few steps away from the summit, we ran into the Czechs and the South African at a little waypoint where you could have tea (they too were cheery, yet Sabina felt no need to stab them. Maybe it was due to the fact that by this point her will had been broken). And slowly but surely the rest of the group trudged in, oddly, without Glowa. One had said he was just having a rest about 2000 steps down, another that he’d given up a little while ago (claiming that this was not made for white men) and yet another claimed he’d died whilst chasing after a silver hippotamus that was calling him names (caused by exhaustion of course… not that Glowa had taken some LSD before the trip, nope, definitely not that). After a while the gates opened and we went out to the peak to wait for the sunrise. Glowa showed up at this point (slightly disgusted by our faces, telling us that we had insulted the memory of George W. Bush’s No Child Left Behind policy whilst at the same time managing a slew of insults at the Ginger & German races). However, this was all worth it in the end, the sun rose and my, what a sight it was to behold. Only a few writers could put it into words, and I am not one of those. So I shall let the photos do it as much justice as possible until you find yourselves there.

Lifelong goal of playing the uke at an amazing sight: complete.

After spending an age looking at the gorgeous view, we slowly proceeded down the mountain. And it was here that Glowa found some second wind and blew right on by us (he reached the hotel almost an hour before us, showered and was waiting with an enourmous smile on his face on the balcony restaurant). We took a little longer, sharing the odd joke and remark about the trip. We got to the hotel, breakfasted and made our way to the train station in order to get to tea country (Haputalle and Ella).

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The ragtag group (Glowa’s laughing as the road was ridiclously perilous, I was in the death seat and the driver had agreed to smile for the camera)

Till then my dears,

Bambi

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