The sleep was OK apart from a locomotive doing shunting duties at 3am and continually blowing its whistle 🙁 However I still managed nearly 8 hours of sleep.
I met up with the guys from last night for breakfast at The Senathilka Guest Inn (where I should have stayed) having a double omelette, the portions here are so small compared o at home. I left them still eating at 7.30 as they are travelling even lighter than me and younger 🙁
Biking along all I was worrying about is can you bike through the Wilpattu National Park on the road direct to Mannar. I decided to stock up with a hand of bananas and 2 litres of water. Great move!
The roadside sprawl slowly dwindled away. Till nothing, how unusual for these parts. The surface changed to concrete, excellent I thought, then suddenly it became a sandy very bumpy dirt track for the next 25 miles 🙁 🙁 I heard an elephant and saw a Sloth but precious other wildlife apart from beggars on motorbikes 🙁 Once I pointed out he had a new motorbike and I only an old pushbike he drove off 🙂 I found the going really tough especially with my shoulders aching with the constant jarring 🙁
I eventually came out onto the tarmac to be met with the four guys who had caught me up, we went straight through the checkpoint passing a rather bewildered guy in his sentry box, we rode on and found a stall to refresh.
Interestingly the north side of the park is totally different with rice fields and new small houses in smallholdings near a mosque, meanwhile the Hindu temple is getting overgrown, I guess they lost..
I ploughed on taking a quick look at the beautiful but derelict remains of the house of the First British Governor of Ceylon. Then it was into the wind on my own (the others didn’t stop) across the causeway into Mannar and The Hotel Juni, rather dysfunctional but OK.
I enjoyed chatting to the couple my age over a slightly disjointed dinner. They are from from Vancouver Island over here on a birding holiday with a local birder company.
My 77 mile ride is on Strava here