Guide to SIGIRIYA and a daytrip to DAMBULLA

With titles like this, I will never make it to the top of the blogger billboard charts, I know. But it’s simply too tempting

Another day, another place, another homestay.

bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels: Sigiriya Lion Rock Sri Lanka
It’s at the back of beyond, but there sure is a beautiful view.

Sigiriya is probably the most famous and iconic landmark in Sri Lanka, and while Sigiriya is also a town, it’s mainly small houses scattered in a jungle-ish area, and I think I unerringly picked the most remote one. However, I was rocking it there – big time!

Bargaining with the driver over the price, coaxing him to take me not to the city center but straight to the guesthouse, I knew the ride would be longer than he thought. And yes, he had to call the landlord twice to be guided over the phone into the….middle of nowhere.

bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels: Sigiriya Lion Rock Sri Lanka
Somewhere down there, left from the Pidurangala rock is my guest house.

Staying in the middle of nowhere, between bushes and banana trees, rice paddies and rhododendron drives me nuts.
I feel trapped.
I cannot go anywhere without a member – notably the husband – of my host family taking me there.

But since on this trip, I resolved to stick to my blog’s title, i. e. saying bye to myself….at least to some of the pretty annoying parts of me, I sit down and lean back and breath in two three four, and out two three four; and hey, why not just sitting on a verandah in a chair and watch the grass and the rice grow for two days?!

bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels: Sigiriya  Sri Lanka
The guest house and the yard.

Yes, I resolved to be much more patient – with people, the world, and myself.
Not freaking out when things are not working out my way.
Not flipping out when things are taking longer.
Not snapping when people don’t get me right away.
Accepting delays.
Accepting shortages.
Phew, I have a lot on my plate on this trip. But actually, it’s working out quite well. Let’s see if I can leave some of my terrible impatience behind. Maybe some Sri Lankan can pick it up and use is – there’s still plenty left.

Besides feeling a bit trapped out here in the wilderness, I really get the hang of this homestay-thing. I mainly travel to experience a place, the average, unspectacular everyday-life. While I enjoy visiting landmarks and museums or hanging out on the beach, I absolutely love to walk around in supermarkets and drugstores and, of course, farmers markets and just look at things local people buy. And I appreciate this intimate glimpse that I get when staying with a local family. Even the smaller guesthouses like e. g. Samith’s place in Polonnaruwa are built next to the host’s private quarters so that you always get a peek into their privacy.
While in Europe or the US I do enjoy staying in a luxurious hotel room, here it would keep me too far from what I came here for: Sri Lanka; pure Sri Lanka.

bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels: Dambulla  Sri Lanka
Being in a mostly Buddhist surrounding should make me quite ?.

Another quirk I conquered successfully is my acrophobia – which is a fancy word for pooping my pants as soon as I stand more than three feet above the floor.

I didn’t come to Sigiriya to stay in the jungle, after all. I came here for the same reason everybody does: Climbing the majestic Lion Rock.

bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels: Sigiriya Lion Rock Sri Lanka
Today, there are only the lion’s paws left.

In total, you have to climb about 1,200 stairs. While others might be intimidated by this figure, I was terrified by the fact that the stairs are going up. Actually, it probably would scare me less to get down to hell on 1,200 stairs than up: I’m very afraid of heights. And just as any other phobia, it’s purely psychologic – and there shouldn’t be logic in this world: I know that I will not fall down. I see dozens of people going up and nothing happens to them, so why should I die?!

To pay the mysterious cloud maidens a visit in their cave, you have to make a little detour and break an extra-sweat.
(Photo: SchnobbySigiriya, Wolkenmädchen 3CC BY-SA 3.0

So I started to climb these stairs and after about twelve steps, I turned and went back down. I felt like an idiot. I was about to miss the best part because of some totally illogical fear. Come on, you wimp, you can do it! So I did it…breathing in two three four, and out two three four.

bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels: Sigiriya Lion Rock Sri Lanka
The queen of the hill posing in front of the Pidurangala rock.

Funny thing is, since I was so focused on surviving those stupid stairs, I actually did breathe very regularly so that once on top of the rock, I was far less winded than most of the other people.

So what’s next? Skydiving?

bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels: Sigiriya Lion Rock Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka is making me a better and braver person.

Oh, and by the way: Third spot of my trip, four UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
I guess this tells you a little bit about Sri Lanka; and probably also a little bit about me.

Note to the curious reader: Like I did during former trips, in my Memos from SRI LANKA, I’m posting one chapter from every stop. At the end of the entire tour, there will be an extended travel guide with all the relevant travel information including addresses, links etc. 
Until then, just enjoy my narratives and reflections.

Wanna know what happened before? Here are the former Memos:

1st Memo: An unexpectedly scenic train ride to Anuradhapura 

2nd Memo: Little house on the P…olonnaruwa

If you choose to pin this post, please use this picture:

bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels: Sigiriya Lion Rock Sri Lanka

Disclaimer: I appreciate that Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau is supporting my blogger trip by supplying me with tickets to some of the main landmarks like e.g. the Lion Rock in Sigiriya. However, all opinions on these services are mine and weren’t by any means influenced by my cooperation partner. 

Dambulla is much bigger and a real city and Sri Lanka’s center of the vegetable distribution. However, Sigiriya is far more famous. It literally rocks.

Lions Rock in Sigiriya - Dambulla - Lionrock - Cave Temple - Sri Lanka - Asia

In the old times, you were entering the complex through the lion’s jaws. Today, only his paws are left.

It rocks because there is the almost 200 meters high Lion Rock. And the rock band – pun intended – shot some of the scenes from the music video Save a Prayer at the top.


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