The Lion rock and cycling around Anuradhapura
We woke up at 6:30, and while I went to the Lion rock, Alex worked (he didn't want to pay the entrance fee). I avoided breakfasts, tuktuks and monkeys to the entrance gate, and happily arrived before a big bus group to the checkpoint... and they told me I had to first buy the ticket in the museum. Which is 5 minutes away.
Lots of people had guides, who explain the gardens first, but I went straight to climb the rock. I saw the frescos, the giant paws, and the summit (with 3 adorable puppies! and the climb was easy peasy after Adam's peak, I did it in less than 1h). When I had enough of the views I went back to the paws and asked for a picture to some girls there, that ended up with me having to take pictures of 4 more groups. While going down a girl was scared because she thought she was hearing the wasps (there are a lot there, and several warning signs), but it was a drone, and when I told her she was more pissed at herself than relieved. Back in the ground, a man tried to redirect me to the foreigners parking, which I refused because I wanted to see the gardens and even go into a hiking trail to see a cave, which I don't even finish it because it was scary for me to be alone there. Then I went to the museum and Alex picked me up there to have breakfast.
After a shower and checking out, we waited for the bus, and Alex gave two kids our leftover mini bananas from breakfast so they fed the elephant that took them around. We felt bad for the elephant, but the kids were delighted.
In Dambulla we had to change bus and, oh lucky us, there was one of the luxury buses! So we enjoy a calm trip with AC. Totally worth it. We got down in Anuradhapura next to one of the guest houses I saw in Booking and inmediatly stayed there, although we were not sure. Room was cheap and ok, but far away... We ate something in the closest restaurant and was not good at all, and we came back and worked.
Sleep: N & L Holiday Resort
We came down to the reception at 8:30, when we agreed with the host he would organize bikes for us for 1000 both. A guy there took us with a tuktuk to his shop (after trying to make us have breakfast somewhere he wanted), and told us the ride there was 200 (and another 200 back).
In our way we see from the street the giant pagoda, Jetavanarayama. Then he gave us a map and insisted that we buy the ticket (that we didn't want, we wanted to check the free spots). After riding 2 minutes we came to the first checkpoint, apparently, and a police and the guy again tried to makes us go buy the ticket. I asked for directions and parked the bikes next to the Jara Sri Maha Bodhi, walked a bit following some turists and went inside a big white pagoda (free), Ruwanwelisaya. Walking back a little blond turist girl came to me with a flower, and I told her "thanks, but that is for the tree", and she got super sad!
We were extremely hungry and moody, so we ate some samosas, cake and milk tea at a street food place. Delicious and cheap. We double checked that Jara Sri Maha Bodhi was free too and went inside, where a guy called me and put me a white cordel in my wrist and color in my forehead and asked for a donation. Since Alex had my wallet I called him, did the same ot him, gave 100 and he was super happy about it.
We cycled to Vessagiriya, where we saw the remainings of a buddhist monastery (mainly big rocks and caves) and went to the city to eat something. We ended up in the "Burger Raja", actually good. After that we cycled back to the ruins (with a big unplanned detour), and it started raining more and more.
We read in several places Jetavanarayama was free, but when we tried a couple ways to go inside, all the locals told us to go get a ticket... Who knows. At this point it was raining a lot, so we decided to return the bikes and go back to the guest house.
We work and had dinner in a local place and inmediatly get stomachache...
Sleep: N & L Holiday Resort