Sri Lanka

Said to be the original garden of Eden, Sri Lanka- formerly Ceylon- is lush and so green. I have seen many varieties of trees and flowers from coconut palms to rubber trees. I have never seen bigger and fuller Frangipani. Mangos are in season. Acres, and acres of rice fields. Our first stop was the hotel Vil Uyana, a Small Luxury Hotel, which means Lake garden. Only 4 years old, it was delightful. One can drive from Colombo- about 3 hours or one can take a helicopter- 30 minutes. They have a pad. We were there because nearby are the 8th wonder of the world, Sigiriya and the ancient city of Polonnaruwa  – The ancient heart of Sri Lanka. An important royal capital with its well-preserved 12th century ruins & impressive stone culture recalls an inspired past. Although nearly 1000 years old, it is much younger than Anuradhapura and generally in better repair. The monuments are arranged in a reasonably compact garden setting and their development is easier to follow. 
We spent the morning climbing the spectacular Sigiriya rock fortress  with its rocky abode & water gardens. 1200 steps, yikes! Sigiriya is famous for its toadstool of golden-hued granite, protruding into the searing blue sky from a hot, flat wilderness of scrubland, which is transformed in the rainy season to a water garden. In the 5th century King Kashyapa domesticated the Lions Rock, by building a palace atop its summit. Sigiriya commemorates some of the turbulence of Sri Lanka’s history.
Evening was massage time- divine! Then gin and tonics by the invisible edge pool watching multitudes of birds including eagles, bee eaters, kingfishers, storks, egrets-and those are only the names I know. They were  everywhere. In the early morning we participated in a blessing ceremony for the beginning of the rice harvest. The whole hotel staff and some of the villagers were there. It was a privilege to attend this very moving ceremony. 

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