Even though it has not even been a timespan of more than half a day (5 hours in total) I think our first Sri Lankan train ride has earned its own little blog post with lots of pictures. It was a superb beginning to the two awesome days in the ancient temple city of Anuradhapura. Like Naween from our previous farm stay has said: The really special thing about Sri Lanka (except for the super awesome hospitality and general friendliness of nearly literally everyone) is the landscape, which changes wherever you go with each kilometer you travel quite drastically. From hills, to mountains, to giant rocks covering the landscapes, back to paddy-fields (a form of rice plantation), small villages, towns, rivers, coconut palm trees, wide open spaces with cows grazing under the burning sun… On the train you get past all of those and many more over and over again and with the sun falling into the door… it was breathtaking and I could have spent hours sitting there (hmm well when I think about it I actually did just that)
just at the open train door, trying to not fall out of the train rushing along, the train trembling and shaking, making all matters of noises. The sounds of the brakes, the engines, the leaves rushing past, the metal wheels rolling over the tracks, sometimes scratching, the wind howling along the window, the people talking, Flos ukulele playing against the rushing noise of the wind and the noises a driving train produces, and also the taste of lemon biscuits (lemon puff- the thing we love most about Sri Lanka … we ate so much of it during our stay, that we are actually thinking of giving it its very own blog post) and the taste of some kind of deep fried snacks upon my tongue… it was just wonderful. The first third I spent looking outside, taking photo after photo after photo of the landscape, the train, the people waving at me, rushing by me, little situations, burning inside my head, my memory even now. But also scrambling little notes (more like several pages) into my travel journal, remembering about the past, being lost inside thought for some time. After that we met some nice people and even though Naween had warned us of tricksters and pickpockets back at the station in Mirigama we forgot our fears of them after a while and just enjoyed our little train journey (adventure) and did not loose anything, were robbed or anything like that. Instead we gathered a small group of locals around Flos ukulele playing skills, who just sat down with us next to the doors, listening, watching, talking and enjoying the train ride and the music. There was a kind of magic in this moment.
One of them actually spoke quite good English and I started talking to him for the last third of the train ride. A banker named Aravinda, coming from Anuradhapura, the place we actually were about to visit this and the following day. Small talk and explanations of the different political and school systems, differences, similarities, problems etc. and along with that a little comparison between Germany and Sri Lanka. At the end we exchanged phone numbers and he invited us to dinner for the evening and showed us a really good restaurant in his home town. We agreed and were quite happy about this fortunate aquaintance we made during the train travel and again it helped us in developing and shaping our plans and the way we were going to travel quite a bit. We found another friend I would say. And thats what it is all about – meeting new other, super awesome, super nice (Lee stays in our minds ^^), helpful or interesting people … they are the one thing that made our trip really enjoyable and adventurous so far and out of retrospective it continued on just like that, from Anuradhapura over to Dambulla over to Sigiriya, where we are at the moment I am writing this. Let’s see how far it will continue like that.
PS: I got a one sided sun-burn due to the exposure from the side of the door. Luckily it is not that bad and does not really hurt… but it looks quite funny.