Page 5 of RENanDREW Travel Blog Posts

Asia » Sri Lanka » Southern Province » Yala NP March 21st 2017

HE SAID... Today we were travelling south-east from Bandarawela to Yala National Park. We woke late, and after slowly gathering ourselves together, we headed to the hotel’s open air balcony for breakfast. I was feeling a little under the weather from way too much arrack the night before, but it wasn’t enough to stop me enjoying a plate of hoppers (thin crispy rice flour and coconut crepes cooked in a mini-wok), pol sambol (shredded coconut with onions, chilli and lime), chickpeas and boiled eggs. With a focus on rehydration, I refreshed myself with quite a few watermelon juices and cups of tea. We left our hotel in the hills of Bandarawela after breakfast (around 9am) and began our journey out of the Hill Country and towards the southern coastline. We snaked our way through the majestic ... read more
lone male elephant
black faced grey langur

Asia » Sri Lanka » Uva Province » Bandarawela March 19th 2017

HE SAID... Today we were travelling south-east from Kandy to Bandarawela. Despite the previous evening’s drinks, we woke early (6:30am) and headed up to breakfast in the hotel’s open air dining area. I decided against a Sri Lankan breakfast – not because I didn’t feel well, but we had a five and a half hour train trip ahead, and I was hoping not to patronise the train’s toilet too frequently. I opted for cornflakes, guava juice, tea, toast and boiled eggs. We checked out of the charming Senani Hotel mid-morning, clambered into the minibus and headed down into Kandy’s railway station. We picked up some vegetarian pan rolls (filled and rolled-up crepes that are crumbed and fried) and vegetable roti triangles (filled roti folded into a triangle and sealed) to snack on, and I also grabbed ... read more
train trip
train trip
train trip - spicy peanuts

Asia » Sri Lanka » Central Province » Kandy March 17th 2017

HE SAID... Today we were travelling south from Dambulla to Kandy. After navigating the tourist rabble and evading the intense morning sun at Dambulla’s Cave Temples, we jumped into our minibus around 10:30am and set off on our journey to Kandy. We’d only left the bustling city of Kandy four days earlier, and we were looking forward to returning. On the way we stopped in Matale, a small regional city in Sri Lanka’s renowned spice growing region. It was a welcome break after being on the road for an hour. The sole purpose of our stop was to visit Luckgrove, a beautifully calm and lush roadside oasis that specialised in spices, herbs and indigenous Ayurvedic medicine. We made our way through Luckgrove’s shaded spice gardens to a thatched hut, where we watched a cooking demonstration in ... read more
spice garden lunch
spice garden
hopper man

Asia » Sri Lanka » Central Province » Dambulla March 15th 2017

HE SAID... Today we were travelling inland (north-east) from Negombo to Dambulla and Sigiriya. We left Negombo around 9:30am after an early morning visit to the beach town’s fish markets and lagoon foreshore. We initially travelled north, hugging the western coastline for about an hour until we arrived in the small township of Madampe. We visited a colourful Hindu temple (Murugan Kovil) on the main road, and I was struck by the modern tin-clad structure that protected the statues from the elements. It had the feeling (to me) of a gigantic farm shed, where bales of hay could easily have been stacked from floor to ceiling. The statues themselves were very colourful and impressive, albeit a little too modern and garish. There’s a captivating charm to old stone temples… Unfortunately, this temple hadn’t captured much charm ... read more
coir rope factory
fresh toddy
coconut plantation lunch - chilaw prawn curry

Asia » Sri Lanka » Western Province » Negombo March 13th 2017

HE SAID... We’d arrived in Negombo at 11pm the night before, after a mammoth road trip from Kandy that took us south to Bogawantalawa and then north-west to this touristy beach town. We were exhausted, so we quickly scouted the streets outside our hotel (Rani Beach Resort) before crashing in our room. To describe our accommodation as a resort was stretching the truth just a little too far. It did have a pool and it was located on a beach, but that’s where its so-called ‘resort’ features ended. Maybe we were in an old wing – who knows? Anyway, enough about Rani Beach Resort. It was a place to stay, somewhere to eat. We had no idea where we were, or what Negombo was like, so we had a day of exploration ahead of us. We ... read more
outrigger canoe
dutch fort
negombo lagoon

Asia » Sri Lanka » Central Province » Bogawantalawa March 13th 2017

HE SAID... Today we were travelling south from Kandy to Bogawantalawa, then north-west to Negombo. While our final destination was the coastal town of Negombo, our main destination was Bogawantalawa, a small town in Sri Lanka’s Hill Country. Famous for its tea estates, Bogawantalawa is where Ren’s mother lived as a child and where her grandfather and great-grandparents are buried. We woke at 6am, organised our packs and prepared for a long day of travel. We headed down to the hotel’s dining room and opted (horror of horrors) for the Western breakfast! The generous breakfast included fresh pineapple juice, a fruit platter, toast and jam, waffles and treacle, omelette with chilli and onion, fried mushrooms and a large pot of tea – it was fantastic. We checked out of Viyana Boutique Hotel with a hint of ... read more
streets of the hill country
priyangani restaurant lunch
holy rosary church bogawantalawa

Asia » Sri Lanka » Central Province » Kandy March 10th 2017

HE SAID... Today we were travelling north-east from Colombo to Kandy– Ren’s birth place. We woke early at 4:30am, as our train to Kandy was leaving from the Colombo Fort Railway Station at 7am. We’d slept well and felt refreshed – our jet lag was gradually disappearing, thanks in part to our incredibly relaxing hotel (Taru Villas Lake Lodge) in Kollupitiya. We checked out around 6am, and Saman (the affable and ever reliable three-wheeler driver we’d used in Colombo) was waiting for us. Armed with fresh breakfast parcels (egg sandwiches and bananas) from the hotel kitchen, we headed to the railway station. It was disappointing to see a betting shop open at such an early hour, but I imagine if you have nothing, the prospect of winning something must be very alluring. We arrived at the ... read more
kandy clock tower
streets of kandy
colombo to kandy train

Asia » Sri Lanka » Western Province » Colombo March 7th 2017

HE SAID... After a comfortable flight from Singapore (just under four hours), we touched down at Bandaranaike International Airport at midnight. The airport is in Katunayake, which is 40 kilometres from Colombo. We had a reasonably quick transition through customs, although standing in a slow moving queue to get our passports checked and stamped was a little tedious in the humid midnight air. We made our way out of customs, found our pre-arranged transfer vehicle and sped off towards Colombo, arriving at our hotel (Taru Villas Lake Lodge) around 1:15am. A very tired hotel manager was waiting up for us, and after some preliminary paper work, he showed us to our room. The place was amazing, with heaps of room. We dropped our packs, showered and crashed at 2:30am. After just four hours’ sleep, we woke ... read more
taru villas lake lodge
taru villas lake lodge breakfast
south beira lake

Asia » Sri Lanka March 7th 2017

HE SAID... Sri Lanka has been on my travel horizon for the last ten years, but it has rarely been on Ren’s. We made a mutual decision to always travel to new and different places, and while Sri Lanka is new to me, it isn’t entirely new to Ren. She was born in Kandy and spent the first seven years of her life in the country (before moving to Nigeria and eventually to Australia). So while Sri Lanka holds exciting new experiences for me, it holds slightly familiar and recognisable experiences for Ren. However, Ren has seen the hospital where I was born, the house where I spent the first five years of my life, the school I attended as a child and the town where I developed my sense of self belief. Yet I haven’t ... read more
hobart airport
hobart airport
hobart to melbourne

Asia » Sri Lanka March 6th 2017

We build the road and the road builds us... ~ Sri Lankan Proverb Ayubowan and Vanakkam people! It’s a well-known fact that the best way to combat the winter blues in Tasmania is to plan a trip. We had just got back from hot and sunny Mexico in June 2016, and we were really struggling with the blast of winter that Tasmania was spewing forth. On one of those cement-grey, soul-suckingly cold and sodden days, we decided that the next country we travelled to would have to be so hot that we’d only need one layer of cotton clothing at any one time! After marking its time on our travel list for the last 10 years, Sri Lanka had finally burst to the top of the shortlist. We wrestled with our shortlist more than normal this ... read more
travel reading and viewing
sri lankan pan rolls
sri lankan watalappan

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