Wednesday 31, January 2018 111 km – Total so far: 673,5 km
Leaving Mannar we cycled on secondary roads. While crossing the sea we got the gift of a beautiful sunrise. The sunbeams on the water made the waves shimmering in a magical way.
Awesome !!! We watched for quite a while this silent and peaceful gift of nature before we cycled on.Traffic was still low we saw wild donkies and had breakfast on the roadside, nice.
We got aware of the fact, that the road we pedaled on towards our destination Anuradhapura was leading right through the national park of Wilpattu. Wow! To be honest I felt a little bit of tension inside while riding on.
I was not sure if they would allow to cross the park with bikes and if we finally could how would we deal with a situation like meeting an elephant? Anyway there was no other option now. Getting there we would see and find a solution.
The paved road turned into a dirt road as we got close. I wondered when we could see the entrance to the park, we practically were there. Then a military check point occured. A soldier asked us where we wanted to go and that was it. “Please stay on the road because of the animals” he further adviced us. “If something will happen to you there´s no one who can help or find you and you got no signal here with your mobile.” “This jungle is very dense”.
I saw Anette getting nervous, but she didn´t say a word. We cycled on and the road got worse. All the sandy material washed away in parts from heavy rains formed a surface like the Grand Canyon just in XS – same colour by the way. In the beginning some motorbikes came towards us and one of them stopped. “Where are you going” is always the first question.
Telling him our destination we got the advice the second time. “You are crossing 32 kms dense jungle” he said. “This is elephant and buffalow area. Really bad roads. If you get in trouble there won´t be any help. Very dangerous what you´re going to do guys. Good luck anyway.” And he was gone.
I could feel the ora of anxiety surrounding Anette. She would have loved to turn around. “I´m scared” she said. All this advice had impressed her. I felt some tension, too. I was sure we would not meet any animal for it was noon time.
Very hot for animals, too. I knew from former trips, that they love to stay in the shady jungle until late in the afternoon, when the sun goes down and it´s getting cooler. But of course, you never know. So let´s do this before afternoon comes I thought and we started to cycle.
After the first 50m we already saw a big wild pig crossing our way some meters ahead. Hm, hopefully it won´t go on like this I thought.
The road was an reall “Off road experience”. Even hard to go with a jeep. It went up and down and wasn´t easy to cycle at all. At least, we didn´t meet any animals besides peacocks, birds,foxes and some kind of martens. We did see all the excrements of the elephants and buffalow, some quite fresh, so we knew they were there.
Finally we got to the exit of the park without any trouble and we both were happy. The first crossing of Wilpattu national park on Bike Fridays ever I think!
After this adventure cycling on to Anuradhapura felt like pedaling to a supermarket quickly, or something like that, if you know what I mean.
Our hotel Saduka Holiday resort was a very nice one this time.
The owner cooked for us stringhoppers and chicken curry. Never tasted that good. So tomorrow will be the last stretch that we cycle together. We are returning to Sigiriya to our friend Milton and from there my wife will return to Negombo to fly home at the 6th of february.