Ruth & Mark

England, December 2009

What did you like most about Sri Lanka?
Despite being surrounded by the clear, warm waters of the Indian Ocean and skirted by palm-fringed beaches with sand that glitters like gold-dust; it is really the culturally rich, intensely spiritual and environmentally diverse aspect of the island which is the hidden gem, the traveller's dream. Also, the people are heart-felt, warm, generous of spirit - a pleasure to get to know.

What did you like least about Sri Lanka?

Any other comments?
It was early one morning that we were picked up by Sena [chauffeur guide] in his trusty 'white air-conditioned steed', and four days later we returned from a surreal voyage of discovery. During that time we saw the authentic, heart-warming, Sri Lanka through the tender and loving eyes of this honourable man. Our trip was only minutes old when he stopped on a bridge to make an offering to his beloved Buddha, in hopes of giving our journey rich merit. This simple act was an indication of the poignant journey that was to follow. We saw many temples, relics and ruins - the symbolism and spirituality of which were brought home to us on each occasion by the reverence of Sena's words and demeanour. But the most sacred temple we visited was the one he has initiated, to honour his Buddha, and to provide the local village with an opportunity to create to their own place of worship.

Instead of leading us at an arms length, Sena guided as a friend. When other tour guides were safely ensconced in their hotels, he was braving the dark back alleys in the rain so we could meet with an Ayurvedic Doctor of great repute, Dr Gunawardana, in search of making our own, personal dreams come true. He also welcomed us into his home to meet his family before taking us to his own temple to meet and be blessed by his great monk. An encounter that transcended religions and touched our souls.

Sena provided us with a unique experience of a lifetime: an experience which has shaped us and helped us to grow, an experience that we will never forget.

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