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Published: January 26th 2015
Returning to Colombo at the end of our holiday gave us a chance to catch up with friends who were themselves away on holiday when we arrived! The luxurious air conditioned coach from Galle had sped along an empty highway before dropping us off at the southern end of the city where a tuk tuk completed the journey to the Cricket Club bar where we had arranged to meet everyone. It was great to see Kaithe, Ted, Jenna and Lucy again after such a long time. After a great meal we went back to Lucy's flat which was to be our base for the rest of the trip.
We were there to relax more than to explore, but with a short trip out to the southern suburb of Mount Lavinia, we were able to do both. The hotel there is very posh! The doormen wear colonial uniforms and they are more than happy to pose for photos. We had a good nose around the hotel before settling by the pool for a drink. The lime juice with mint was so refreshing. After that we had a walk along the beach which was nice, but at one stage a large group
of young men walked past us and the atmosphere felt a little threatening. Whatever they were after, it wasn't us, and we breathed a sigh of relief as they continued on their way without a second glance towards us. I think it felt worse because we were very close to a beach front shanty town at the time.
Later that day we made our way to Galle Face Green to watch the sun set. The Pope had been there just a week before, but I imagine his view contained rather more people than ours! It was a lovely, tranquil spot, with many tourists and Sri Lankans alike taking an evening stroll and eating roti
snacks. The sun disappeared into the distant haze a long time before it sank to the horizon, but it still made for a spectacular sight. We even bumped into someone we knew which was quite bizarre! Benjamin, our Couch Surfing host from Kandy, was in the city and out for a stroll too.
The next day we visited Barefoot
in Colombo for the first time. It had come highly recommended and we loved browsing in the shop and watching the weaver work with her
brightly coloured threads was mesmerising. In the garden cafe Russ had his first ever peanut butter smoothie. It was not to be his last as we went back there again before we left the country!
In the afternoon we went to the small temple on an island on Beira Lake. It's quite a small temple but it is surrounded by an impressive number of Buddha statues and is a haven of tranquility in a very busy city. It was also an opportunity to watch the pelicans glide by on the too-green-to-be-real water. The main attraction though was the nearby Gangaramaya Temple with huge courtyards and wooden buildings. There are numerous statues of Buddha in there as you would expect, but there are also several vintage cars and a collection of what can only be described as bric-a-brac. We didn't understand the display of spectacles, or the watches, but the variety of Buddhas ranged from traditional to anorexic to miniature. In fact, the world's smallest Buddha statue is (allegedly) there. Not surprisingly, it is easy to miss! Look for the swastika on a glass jar, and just above it is a magnifying lens allowing you to see the fine detail
on the golden Buddha within.
Our final full day in Sri Lanka was mostly spent by the pool in the impressive Taj hotel
. For just a fiver, you get the chance to lie out in the sun in style, and they throw in a free bottle of water for your health! It was lovely. An evening out with Kaithe and Ted finished off our holiday and the next morning we said goodbye to our hostess, Lucy, and pottered around during the day before an awful airport taxi journey through the worst Colombo traffic we had seen. Luckily we had left lots of time to get there. Our fortunes were about to change though as we were upgraded to Business Class for the first leg of our journey back to Spain. Wonderful times!!
And that was it for our Sri Lankan journey. Somehow we have the feeling we will return as we have so many more things we want to do there.
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What a great ending to your fantastic journey there! A bit of luxury, adventure, culture, friends and an upgrade to business class--well-done!
D MJ Binkley
Dave and Merry Jo Binkley
Another great stop in the journey. A perfect ending.