Two days after finalising the sale of my company, we hopped onto a plane en route to Sri Lanka for a dream family vacation.
Sri Lanka is amazing! It is an absolutely lovely country and I cannot recommend it highly enough . There are excellent hotels and good food, the roads are great and the people are really friendly. To top it all they have a wonderful culture, beautiful temples and lush parks where you can see a wide variety of birds and animals.
We visited the country in March during the dry season. The weather was wonderful for the two weeks we travelled around the country.
Sri Lankans are very welcoming and we were impressed with the kindness and thoughtfulness of most of the people we met as we drove around the island. In one particular hotel I commented to a waiter that I loved paratha (a type of Indian bread) and was disappointed not to have come across it in any of the restaurants we had visited. A few hours later when we sat down to dinner the chef came out of the kitchen with a plate piled high with paratha that he had made especially for me. It is a memory I will cherish, both for the kindness displayed and for the absolute yumminess of the parathas. There wasn’t a crumb left by the end of the meal!
There is no possibility of getting bored here. There is so much to see and do that it got a bit overwhelming at times, especially with three kids in tow!
However the absolute highlight of our stay were the elephants. We visited the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage, which was founded in 1975 to care for baby elephants who lost their parents and had nobody to care for them. We bought fruit and vegetables to feed the baby elephants and we found out that their trunks have a finger – ok I am pretty certain that it is not called a finger, but there is an extension at the end of the trunk than enables them to grab things and hold them at the end of their trunk, in exactly the same way we use our finger and thumb.
After feeding the babies we took a ride on a fully grown elephant and then helped the carers wash the big beasts in a stream. At one point we even got showered by one elephant that got carried away during its ablutions! I was not overly enthusiastic about us getting totally soaked but the kids loved it 🙂
It is clear that the Sri Lankans love their elephants and they are going to great lengths to protect them. There are many elephant orphanages dotted around the country and a good number of nature preserves where animals, elephants included, can live unmolested in their natural environment. It was wonderful to see herds of elephants roaming around the jungle, wild and free.
We had a wonderful time and would love to go back again sometime in the future. However the most important thing for me was the wonderful quality time we spent together. I did not check my email or worry about work – it was just about being with the people I love and savouring every minute.