Plan A gives way to Plan B

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We didn’t end up taking the bus as it looked like a risky option that might imperil the new mudguards that Ian laboured over yesterday afternoon. We would have been obliged to remove the wheels, be ready at the roadside to toss the bikes into a small luggage compartment (actual size unknown), board the bus with the 4 wheels and our panniers, then negotiate extra costs with the conductor. It seemed dodgy and destined to go wrong, so we had second breakfast and decided to cycle instead. This was a good decision.

We took the coast road to Chilaw, at first along a major road that carried reasonably heavy but not fast moving traffic so we felt safe enough. There was a lot of interesting roadside commerce including wood fired tile factories, a butchery, knife and chopping blade stalls and lots of fruit and vegetables. After we had crossed a major river we were able to leave the highway and take the minor coast road all the way to Chilaw. This road goes beside the sea through many kilometres of small scale fishing communities. The morning’s catch is on sale by the roadside with vendors every few metres with their individual pile of sardines, other small fish, prawns, manta rays, shark, tuna, with no ice or refrigeration and often in full sun. There’s a fair bit of buying going on, but we are not sure what happens to the unsold fish. It is also hard to imagine how the supply keeps up with the daily demand. Low food miles though! This appears to be a strongly Catholic area with many shrines to various saints and the Virgin Mary.

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Fish market on the coast road to Chilaw

In Chilaw we stopped for tea and a visit to the local market which had a impressive display of produce. Ian bought some savoury fried dumplings that were provided in a paper bag made from a recycled primary school worksheet on New Zealand volcanoes. We crossed the river, checked out the large church, then set out to cover more ground. The next 40km along the A3 then the B45 were pleasant with low traffic volumes and easy terrain. It was pretty hot though and we had several longish rests. We have discovered EGB – Elephant Ginger Beer – excellent if you can get it icy cold! We saw our first Buddhist shrines and stupas, thousands of coconut trees, dairy cows, rural schools, roadside metal workers working on the ground in bare feet. Ian said he saw the remains of a funeral pyre.

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Clock tower, Anamaduwa

We arrived in Anamaduwa late in the afternoon to find that this is not a common tourist destination and is therefore not well served with accommodation. We came close to accepting a low standard ‘gest house’ before finding a better option, the Gem Light Hotel. Thank you internet! So we are now fed and clean and will continue to Anuradhapura tomorrow.

Our route:

One Response to “Plan A gives way to Plan B”

  1. parksidestories Says:

    I love the descriptions on the Gem Light Hotel website: “You can anticipate friendly solution and the very best standards in whichever array you decide on…..” I wonder what array you have decided?

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