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Published: February 2nd 2020
Thursday 30 January 2020
Our next adventure, six weeks in Sri Lanka.
We are flying early on Friday from Larnaca, so decided to stay local the night before.
Our packing preparations had been happening for the last few days and we had packed most things on Wednesday.
So after a few final things were packed and shut the house down we left at 1100 am.
There was a final errand, which concluded quickly enough and we were on to the motorway at Paphos around 1200.
As we hadn't yet eaten and had all the time in the world we thought it would break the journey, to have something to eat at Limassol Marina.
We eventually found our way in to the Marina and parked shortly after 1 pm. It was raining, so we headed quickly into the first place we found. It was a lovely “Resto bar” called Epsilon. Pat had the pasta with beef in a tomato sauce and I had the pasta with chicken and mushroom in a cream sauce. All very tasty.
The rain had more or less stopped, so looked at the boats and shops. We both had the impression that there were more shops and restaurants than when we were here a few years ago.
Back to the car and off to Larnaca. We drove a lot of back roads, as time was still on our side.
Arrived in Larnaca, drove around for a short while to find the hotel and when we did, checked in and settled in. The hotel is the Costiano, cheap and cheerful, a few minutes from the airport.
We went out at 6.45 pm to find some tea. A deary evening, nut one or two places open. All fairly quiet. We found a Cypriot restaurant, and shared chicken souvlaki and village salad. The restaurant was big into darts and had a very professional two board set up. Some guys came in as we were eating to practice. Maybe a match later?
Rained a little on us on the way back, in the room for 8.00 pm.
There was a noisy room down the corridor, but fortunately they went quiet soon enough.
Friday 31 January 2020
After a reasonable night's sleep, we stirred about 7.15 am. Showered and packed our few bits and pieces. Down to the car via reception to drop off the room key.
A quick call to Larnaca park & fly to tell them we were 10 minutes away.
Straight to the airport, with the guy waiting for us. Luggage out, keys handed over and off to departures.
We had checked in online and booked our seats, so we just needed to put the bags in.
My main bag weighed in at 13.7 kgs and Pat's 14.1 kgs. Must be the lightest, for a long trip that we have ever managed.
Through security with no issues. Then a coffee and wait for embarking.
Our seats were at the back of the aircraft, so we were on in the first batch. We had selected our seats and luckily we had three to ourselves.
All was on time, but a bumpy take off, due to local winds.
Arrived in Doha on time. We had over 8 hours to kill until our next flight and had previously discussed finding a lounge. Our luggage was booked through all the way, which makes life easier.
When we left the aircraft, we followed the signs for Transfers, which led us to a security! when we were still effectively airside. I don't have any problem with security, but when it came unexpectedly, it was a pain. I didn't take out fluids or the chargers, from my backpack, but nothing was said.
Our plan was to have a bit of a look around, then find out whether a lounge was feasible. However we came across some lounges and had a look. The two lounges were vastly different and the same price! USD 55 each. The first was full of kids! It also seemed to be a bit of a mess. We weren't impressed.
The second was much more to our expectations and they said the amount of time to our flight was fine. So we paid and went straight in.
We whiled away the hours, having the occasional potter round the shops, until we could head off to our gate.
A lot of people are wearing face masks!
We boarded the plane and sat in our prebooked seats.
The plane was full and bigger than our first one. Plane loading took it's time and had minor incidents with people trying to be together and not in allocated seats.
Our departure time was 2250 hours. We were more or less on time leaving. The inflight meal was ok. The aircraft was a little tired and past it's best. The flight basically happened.
On arrival we made our way to Immigration. We had previously arranged our online 30 day visa on arrival through the internet. At Immigration there were hundreds of people and various queues, with little signage. We joined one queue, then after asking joined a different queue, and hoped. We made our way slowly to the desks and we did seem to be in the right one.
Our passports were stamped then off to baggage reclaim. After a while both bags came through. Then nothing to declare and through.
Pat had arranged a taxi transfer to the accommodation and I spotted our guy straight away. A quick visit to an airport ATM for local cash and off to the car.
The journey was a little mad, as he was driving with Google maps to find the hotel. That and traffic all over the road made it fun!
The hotel was a little awkward to find, but we did, after he dropped us and we walked back.
Local time was 8 am and we had asked about an early check in, which was not known due to being full. We phoned the number given and spoke to Farook on his mobile, who then phoned people at the hotel. It turned out the room was being cleaned and available in one hour for us. We left our bags and ambled off. Most places weren't open, but we found a McDonald's (I know, sad) and had an Egg burger breakfast. Time had moved on and after some local advice, went to a Dialog phone shop and set up a local 'pay as you go' sim card for LKR 500. My phone has a dual sim facility, which helps.
Then back to the hotel and settled in. To be honest I was pretty shot to bits by this time, as I hadn't slept on the plane, so went straight to bed and slept for two to three hours. Sorted out more stuff, then out to the nearby shopping centre about 2.30 pm. Had a middle eastern lunch at the food court. Pat had a chicken mashwi and I had a kofte kebab with Arabian bread. On the way back some shopping at the local supermarket and settled in once more.
We were both still very tired and lights out was 6.30 pm.
Sunday 2nd February, 2020
We did wake up during the night, however, we did manage to get a lot of sleep and finally came to about 8 am.
After coffee and showers, we headed off to the fort area of Colombo. There were a considerable number of buses parked along the coast road, which had a military appearance. We talked to a chap and he mentioned that it was for the rehearsal of the Independence ceremony on Tuesday.
It was warm and sultry, so when we came across a Mall called One Galle Face, we headed in to look for refreshments, it was 1230 pm by now . There was a food court, with all the usual suspects and local choices. Pat saw a Delifrance, which appealed. She had a croissant and an iced cappuccino, which was apparently delicious. I had a spicy chicken pastry - also delicious - with a milk tea.
As we still had other plans, we did a little shopping in Keell's a supermarket and back out again.
The Tuktuk's stop for business all the time but we simply ignore them.
We happened across a Tourist information office, who were very helpful, picked up a city map and other stuff.
We skirted the fort area and looped around towards the centre. There were various government and historic buildings all around.
Watched a cricket match, that we caught sight of for a few minutes.
On our way back as a pit stop we found a Spar shop with a cafe. So, we stopped and had a sandwich, macaroons and drinks.
Arrived back at 4.30 pm.
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