Gerry & Ruth

Gerry and Ruth Travels

Gerry & Ruth

We are Gerry & Ruth, a retired couple living in Brisbane Australia. We have 2 adult sons now on their own travel/work adventures based in London.

Retirement has allowed us the opportunity travel as a means to keep the grey matter moving, stay healthy and as a periodic reminder as to how fortunate we are to live in such a wonderful country.

Without conscious planning the theme of out trips to date have been based around ancient civilisations and cultures mixed with elements of adventure and trekking.

The blog is a great way to keep family & friends informed of our travels and maybe give some insight of our experiences as well as a great reminder to us.

Asia » Sri Lanka » Western Province » Colombo March 9th 2019

After about 420 kms of riding our last full day was a 150 km drive to Colombo initially along a new toll road to the outskirts of Colombo where traffic slowed to a crawl. Brief stops made at Independence Square & Parliament as well a brief orientation drive around the old town before lunch & browsing at the Barefoot Fairtrade store, a showcase of handicrafts from around the country. After lunch we took a walk through the bustling Pettah Bazaar. Colombo is now a big modern city set on a huge natural harbour where office blocks stand shoulder to sholder with Colonial-era buildings reflecting the different eras of the Portuguese, Dutch & British empires. China is now the new empire, building huge new towers plus a massive sand reclamation of prime land around the port so ... read more
Busy speed sign
Moving goods in compact Colombo market
End of ride group with celebratory beer.

Asia » Sri Lanka » Southern Province » Galle March 7th 2019

After a beautiful red sunset last night we had a 2 hour electrical storm with heavy rain overnight, the first for the tour. Fortunately our riding finished yesterday as traffic conditions are now too chaotic. Mirissa was a lovely beach break to wander around despite the overcast but humid conditions. Like all the coastal towns in the south Mirissa is now undergoing rapid tourist development but some traditional beach shacks remain . Mid afternoon we had a short drive to Galle exploring the impressive World Heritage listed Dutch colonial town ending with a group dinner & return to Mirissa. The towns Dutch fort still has extensive walls and ramparts and many old buildings that survived the 2004 tsunami. We walked around the ramparts & fort late in the afternoon to avoid the baking midday sun and ... read more
Mirissa Sunset
Dutch East India Co Warehouse
Galle ramparts

Asia » Sri Lanka » Southern Province » Weligama March 5th 2019

Our quads & calves were even more tender today for the start of our last riding day but our muscle memory soon kicked in for a relaxing morning ride. The ride was a flat 47 km ride via the Bundala National Park finishing on the golden sands at Hambantota. Most of the park was scrubby elephant country but nearer Hambantota we passed some dunes, wetlands, lagoons & salt pans but did not see any sign of the pink flamingos the park is known for. Hambantota is also infamous for its vast wasted investment projects including a brand new but idle international airport & a massive port both now leased back to the Chinese. After lunch we followed the coastal road to our two night stop at the Esprit Hotel, Mirissa for some free R & R ... read more

Asia March 4th 2019

A good recovery ride day for sore quads & calves with a flat 30 km cycle to Kataragama via back roads & a massive lake. The town is a multi faith pilgrimage destination with shrines & religious buildings for Buddhists, Hindus & Muslims alike and rivals Adam's Peak in terms of national importance. The God Mogra sect has history dating back to 200 BC & practice some strange religious beliefs but bring beautiful baskets of fruit as offerings instead of the usual flowers. During the afternoon we jeeped through the beautiful Yala National Park, home to elephants, leopards, crocodiles, and gorgeous birds of all descriptions. Each exist in a variety of eco-systems from dry semi arid, moist monsoon forests as well as fresh & marine wetlands. Late in the day, in pursuit of the elusive leopard, ... read more

Asia March 3rd 2019

Best ride of the tour so far with a 52km ride to Balangoda. The ride was tough with undulating rises & falls over bumpy roads for the first 22 kms with gradients up to 15% before declining 1000 mtrs over 30 km. The road is one of the most beautiful stretches of road in Sri Lanka, passing lakes & farming on every piece of available land but mostly long established tea plantations. After lunch we transferred to our coach for a further 100 km drive to our 2 night stay at the Oakray Lake Resort, Tissamaharama. Along the way we briefly stopped to at an elephant transit home aimed at helping rehabilitate elephants for re-entry to the wild.... read more

Asia » Sri Lanka » Central Province » Hatton March 2nd 2019

Today was a huge 14 hr day, somewhat unplanned. We started in high spirits in anticipation of the iconic slow train journey to Hatton in the highlands. Rising early we departed Kandy railway station not in a wooden carriage but in a rocking & rolling old diesel. Initial views were typical city businesses leading to smaller villages between dense vegetation & introduced pine & gum trees. Halfway through the trip, at a small village, the train made an emergency stop & we were soon to learn that 2 of 4 teenagers had been on the line & were caught unawares & were tragically struck & killed. We were preparing to abandon our plans for the day expecting a lengthy investigation but after 45 minutes the train started again but with passengers in a more sombre mood. ... read more
Rest Stop

Asia » Sri Lanka » Central Province » Kandy March 1st 2019

Today was a welcome cycle free day starting with a guided tour of a tea factory at Giragama just outside Kandy finishing with a nice cuppa to sample. We then returned to Kandy by tuk tuk to wander in and around the city which is very clean by Asian standards. Kandy’s roads are very narrow & twisting roads & surrounded by hills so traffic is constantly busy & chaotic. Before dinner we attended a traditional Kandyan cultural performance of song, dance, drumming finishing with a fire walking performance. Dinner was at a private residence where the host demonstrated the versatility of both rice & coconut in Sri Lankan cooking.... read more
Tea varieties
Kandy street vendor
Kandy man made lake

Asia » Sri Lanka » Central Province » Sigiriya February 28th 2019

Today was another long & hugely memorable day starting with a 6 am 15 km cycle to Sigiriya, an ancient rock fortress with a royal palace perched atop. The early start was essential to beat the normal rush of tourists & pilgrims on a virtual single lane staircase. Arriving at the site is a stunning visual of a massive granite outcrop that emerges from lush greenery at lower levels to a citadel that dominates the whole surrounding skyline. The once impregnable fortress firstly passes a series water gardens before 1200 stairs needed to reach the top. Half way we passed some incredibly beautiful rock wall frescoes that somehow have survived centuries of neglect while undiscovered. The entrance to the almost vertical final 200 mtr hike to the top was once guarded by an enormous rock carved ... read more
The only entrance
Climb towards the frescoes
Spiral staircases up & down

Asia » Sri Lanka » Central Province » Dambulla February 27th 2019

Today we were privileged to experience a very special place, the ruin of the ancient city of Polonnaruwa being the second oldest of Sri Lanka’s kingdoms. Wandering through the main ruins it had an almost living feel & it was easy to visualize how huge & spectacular the kingdom must have been at its zenith. The key ruins included the Quadrangle, Royal Palace, Council Chambers, Vihara temple, Parakrama statue and the Siva temple. The city had all the facilities of a modern city, waste recycling, hospital etc. water was essential & the king had the foresight to build a huge dam that runs for 16 kms in length. Even by current standards it’s an engineering marvel as the surrounding land is a flat valley requiring high walls to hold back the water yet it is still ... read more
Circular Tooth Relic House
Relic House

Asia » Sri Lanka » North Central Province February 26th 2019

After 2 easy days of riding today was an early start for a hot & hard 70km ride to Ritigala before a 60km coach ride to our overnight stay at the Siyanco Holiday Resort, Polonnaruwa. The distance was not the problem but rather the wind, continuous slight rise & sections of bumpy roads. Frequent rehydration stops needed to replace the sweat. Much of the passing outlook was of rice paddies, man-made water tanks and patches of jungle. At Ritigala we visited the ruins of a beautiful Buddhist monastery where the ruins and rock inscriptions date back nearly 2000 years.... read more
Elephant hide
Ritigala Monastery

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