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Published: November 1st 2015
On our last day in Sri Lanka we arrived in the port city of Galle. We headed straight for the city's main attraction, the Dutch fort. Just like Fort Kochi in India, Sri Lanka's south westerly port of Galle was occupied by the Portuguese, the Dutch and the British. Each successfully evicting their predecessor. Although the fort was originally built by the Portuguese, the form we found it in today was largely down to the Dutch settlers. They used the fortifications laid earlier by the Portuguese and vastly improved them. This is evident in several places where there is effectively a doubling of the fort walls. When the Dutch secured the area, they made significant developments including the old Dutch hospital, which has been redeveloped into a swanky hub for restaurants and jewellery shops.
As we walked round the walls of the old fort, taking in the view of the city outside the fort walls, we noticed a few locals looking over the wall so we approached. When we reached the wall we realised they were occupying the cheap seats for the national cricket ground situated just across the road from the fort. In this case, the cheap seats provided
a great view of the ongoing match.
As we continued the walk along the shore walls we reached the old Dutch hospital and its two stories of fancy restaurants. We had a look around and decided we would come back for dinner (expensive in relation to Sri Lanka, but still cheaper than home). On the ground floor of the complex we found a bar that was busy so we went in and decided to stay for lunch. We shared a few sides with the highlight was most definitely the prawns accompanied with veg pakora and salad in a spicy sauce.
While walking around it was nice to see that most of the buildings built by the Dutch had been kept to a high standard and most still used today, while maintaining a traditional feel. After leaving the fort, Chin advised us that there wasn't much else to see in the city and that we would be better visiting the 'jungle beach' on the outskirts of the city near the town of Unawatuna, which is where our hostel was.
After dumping our stuff at the hostel, Chin took us as close as a car could get to the
jungle beach before pointing us in the direction. We were excited to see the beach as it was recommended to us. However, our expectations of a hidden, unknown beach crumbled as what we found was an overcrowded bit of sand that had the cheek of being called a beach. Due to there being a bar/restaurant being built on the land close to the sea, there was hardly any sand between the jungle and the sea. We lay down on the beds for a while before the tide started to come in, but we thought we were ok to stay a little longer. Just as Susie pointed out that many people bags and belongings were hanging on tree branches above us, we were drenched by the sea. This included the towels we borrowed from the hostel, which were now carrying a sand pit's worth of sand and weighed a tonne. Feeling foolish we realised that everyone else had learnt this lesson but unfortunately not warned us. There were people trying to dry out their phones and their cigarettes, so two dripping wet towels wasn't too unlucky.
We bought a couple of beers and sat on a higher embankment and played
cards. Unfortunately, the trees from the jungle meant we were hidden away from the sun, so we didn't stay long.
That night we were very excited to go back to the old Dutch hospital for a meal in a very modern balcony restaurant. There were groups of people drinking and eating, and we could hear the sea just below us. We ended up staying all evening listening to the nineties music they played and joining in for a sing song with others. A lovely last evening in Lanka.
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