Day 9 cycling: NALANDA to KANDY:
Ride details (from Garmin):
Ride details (from Garmin):
Distance: 47.4km; ODOMETER: 493km; Moving Time: 3:41; Elapsed Time: 5:07; Avg Speed: 9.3km/hr; Avg Moving Speed: 12.9km/hr; Max Speed: 44.4km.hr; Total Ascent: 571m; Total Descent: 356m; Max Elevation: 539m; Calories: 1,795 C; Avg Temperature: 31.5 °C; Max Temperature: 39.0 °C
Today's ride covered some hilly terrain, especially the road leaving Matale. I was fortunate that it was nowhere near as hot as yesterday, and a heavy but fairly brief downpour cooled things considerably. It was a nice enough ride given that it was along the A9 highway all the way.
Shortly after leaving the Hotel Country Side in Nalanda I was pulled over by the police. They often lurk in the shadows so they can't be seen by drivers, and pull vehicles over to inspect papers. In my case, I think it was just for a chat and an opportunity for one of them to invite me to visit his friend's herb and spice garden. I politely declined but further down the road in North Matale after seeing many similar establishments agreed to take a look at a 'spices & herbal farm' when beckoned to by a fellow who identified himself as the grandson of the founder of the farm. I was given a quite nice cup of herbal tea and then shown around the various plants and their various byproducts e.g. jasmine, cinnamon, aloe vera etc and told about their alleged health benefits. I was given a forehead and scalp massage by a fellow who was introduced as being a student (it was actually quite good and presumably designed to soften the customer into buying stuff) and then shown to their 'pharmacy' where all sorts of ayurvedic medicaments were available for purchase. They thought I might like something for sore knees, or perhaps even 'herbal oil against varicose veins' for the obvious varicose vein on my right leg. I did wonder about buying the 'lady tonic herbal syrup for ladies' for a friend but elected to buy some cough syrup on the off chance it could help my ongoing chest issue. Apparently it will "cleanse the lungs and respiratory system" and "cures the chronic bronchitis".
The Garmin has been very helpful today in navigating my way through the heavy traffic I encountered on entering Kandy, although did direct me up one hill that was so steep and narrow that I had to wheel the bike. I checked in to Freedom Lodge in Saranankara Road that the guide book highly recommended. 5000Rs per night, breakfast included, is a little higher than I prefer to pay but after trudging up the hill, wheeling the bike, I just couldn't be fagged trying anywhere else. It's quite a clean and spacious room although no view and it's next to the kitchen so I imagine it will be quite noisy in the morning. I'll try and change to a room with a balcony tomorrow if possible.