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Day 693

First day: Sigiriya Rock

Our first day started at 6.30am. We climbed the Sigiriya Rock Fortress. It would be too hot to go later. We were wowed by the scenery and history.Steep, dramatic and a warm terracotta colour with glorious views onto the horizon of green trees and glittering reservoirs. On the way up we saw the 1,500-year-old frescos of women with large round breasts and nodding profiles. How did they fill the swimming pools at the top of the rock in those ancient days?

Next we visited a village via an ox cart. The oxen were scarred on their sides with their owner’s initials. The rope was looped through their nostrils. The cart was pulled along by the yoke sitting on the humps of their backs. This is how the farmers used to get about. Now it’s just the tourists. We went past paddy fields of rice. Dotted about were tree houses where farmers sit the night out looking for wild elephants who like to eat the rice crop. Farmers scare them off with fire crackers.

We took a katamarang out on the reservoir. An elephant drank at the water's edge. In the village we ate the best curry I have ever tasted.

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