As the old red boneshaker of a train slowly pulled out of the station, we were off!
The city soon gave way to the country and jungle with banana trees, concrete shacks and corrugated iron roofs.
It was a very different view of Sri Lanka and we suddenly saw how the tuktuk drivers lived as shiny tuktuks were parked outside shacks, the family source of income. Perhaps getting lost had helped a family.
We rattled and bounced along as the sun started to go down, food sellers passed through the carriage and the breeze from the open windows kept us cool.
We passed through stations and then waited for another train coming the other way as it was a single track.
After four hours it seemed we had the time wrong as we arrived in Anuradhapura New Town station.
A man appeared at the window frame and said “Get off now, you need to get off!”
Yikes! We grabbed our bags, jumped off the train and thought something didn’t seem quite right.
The sign on the wall showed the next station was Anuradhapura and so we got back on the train. And then we thought that perhaps we should get off after all but before we could jump, the train was moving, the guard was blocking the door and we were off to the next station!
As luck would have it, we arrived at the right station, a lengthy taxi ride and scam avoided. We picked up a driver and arrived at our hotel only to discover our reservation had been accidentally booked for November…
Another crisis was averted as luckily a room was available and so we checked in, killed a couple of large cockroaches and relaxed.
Welcome to Anuradhapura!