28.02.2017 30 °C
"You what?", "how many?", "5000 steps!", "sounds awful Rob I don't want to do it!". Just 2 weeks prior and I'm reading about Adams peak in our worn out guidebook. "It'll be proper type 2 fun sus, plus your ankles getting better so there's no excuse" I say genuinely quite excited about the prospect of a decent challenge. "Oh, and we have to be up at 2.15am to leave at 2.30am to catch the sunset". Sus looks at me and doesn't say a word, she doesn't need to I've seen that expression many times before, this isn't good news! Fast forward 2 weeks though and we are standing at the top of Adams peak with a huge smile on our faces.
Adams peak is a unique place as no matter what religion you are (Hindu, Buddhist, Christian) there's something here for you, a bit like Thorpe Park in the summer. We didn't see it but apparently there is an impression of a footprint in a bit of rock at the top of the mountain under a small pavilion. Now depending on what religion you follow this footprint is either the footprint from Buddha himself, created by Shiva (if your Hindu) or St Thomas, the founder of of the Christian faith in India. Pilgrims come from far and wide all year round to ascend the mountain and pay homage to the footprint and their corresponding God.
The climb begins in a small town at the foot of the mountain called Delhousie, it's utterly horrendous. Its a town that serves only one purpose, to squeeze as much money from tourists and pilgrims as humanely possible. Take all of the tackiest plastic toys that you could imagine (think awful fairground or arcade) lined up on stalls that stretch on a single road for about 4km and you have a pretty good idea of what its like. I'm amazed at the sheer quantity of shit (sorry mum but there is no better word!) for sale and as I keep walking past stall after stall I wonder how they are all still in business. There is the odd stall selling useful stuff like wooly jumpers, plastic raincoats, umbrellas etc but the vast majority sell these god awful baby posters (in which every baby is white and usually naked!) and other useless tat. Anyhow, we wonder on and find our guesthouse nestled between the stalls and settle down for a few hours before the dreaded alarm goes off.
'Beep, beep, beep', 2.15am arrives and I force open my eyes. A croaky voice next to me pipes up "I'm not going, you go, leave me here". To my surprise 10 mins later we are both up, dressed and ready for the climb. Luckily for us we had met and agreed to walk with a lovely Swiss couple who we got chatting to over dinner the night before. Having someone to talk to whilst climbing up was great as it completely distracted us and before we knew it we were more than half way up! A quick tea stop and an hour later we were up at the top ready for the sunrise at 6am. The sunrise was incredible. We had a beautiful view of the surrounding mountains as the sun slowly rose from the horizon. As soon as the sun was up we watched a procession in where a rather delicious thali style banquet was paraded around under a very ornate umbrella and the Buddhists all prayed in unison, chanting together. It was the first sign of active religion we had seen and captivating to watch.
We stayed at the top for around 30 minutes taking in the view then started the walk down. We descended the 5000 odd steps in a couple of hours and headed to our guesthouse for our well deserved brekkie, still talking all the way with the lovely Swiss couple we had met.
Next stop is the city of Kandy - we've heard rather damning reviews of "chaotic" city life but we're reserving judgement until we're actually there! Until next time folks.
Rob and Sus x