Thursday – day 5
The bus wasn’t yet full when we left – at 6.08, but soon was full and had people standing. Being early traffic was OK. It was urban and hilly to Matale, which took about 45 minutes. And still urban for the next half hour, too, but greener, and some fields between towns. The bus was clean enough, and the seats were also in good condition. Configuration was 2, aisle, 3. By 7.45 more rural – fields, some streams, mountains in the distance. At 8.30 there was a rest stop, but there were a few vacant seats, so no worry of losing my seat if I disembarked.
20 minutes later we were on our way again. There are bus stops probably every 1/2 KM, and the bus will stop to pick someone up, or if someone presses one of the buttons on the ceiling, to drop someone off.
We arrived about one hour early, in 4 hours 40 minutes instead of 5 1/2 hours. After being harassed by a tout I found the information booth and checked bus times.
Not trusting the Lonely Planet hotel recommendations enough to book, I went to look first at the only hotel they recommended for this town – about a ten minute walk. But they were full, and couldn’t recommend anywhere.
I continuing walking, and the first hotel I found was OK, if overpriced. But it was so hot I was in danger of heat exhaustion, so I checked in and had a nice hot shower.
My Trincomalee sightseeing plan was formulated over lunch in the air-conned restaurant, and feeling good again I set off on foot.
Pretty well everything was a few minutes walk away…
To enter the temple building, men had to remove their shirts. One could carry it inside with you, though.
After I went for a long walk through the town and to look at the railway station. I saw the clock tower on the way – the time was different, depending on which face you looked at. The clock tower is right next to the bus station, anyway. While there I checked the bus times for the morning again – to Jaffna and Anuradhapura.
I found a stall selling these on the street right near the clock tower. Not so hygienic – I ate them later in the hotel – and luckily I didn’t get sick.
On the way back from my walk to the train station the moon had come up.
I walked along the bay behind the town on the way back to the hotel, and cut through the leafy suburb, about a 10 minute walk to the hotel from the bay. I found a little shop that sold devilled egg rolls and bought some for the bus trip the next morning. (They were delicious.)