Sri Lanka

Galle Fort – Dutch colonial charm

From Colombo, we caught the train to Galle. It cost us 180SLR each in second class (about 90p) to travel 110km down the coast. In Sri Lanka, travelling by train is possibly the safest option, and the train journeys themselves seem to be full of character.

Buying a ticket was easy enough, and we struck up conversation on the platform with a Sri Lankan man who, on hearing we were from England, determined to list the names of all of the places in England, and Scotland, and Wales, that he had heard of. It seems everyone here is happy to talk, and we are constantly asked whether we are enjoying our time, ‘Sri Lanka good?’, often followed by a polite curiosity, ‘Where are you going to?’.

There’s nothing like a train, however it seems, to turn the normally delightful Sri Lankans into a bit of a mob. A sea of feisty elbows and hustling appeared from nowhere as everyone rushed to grab a seat. Rich did his best, but there were no seats to be had anyway, and so we took our humble place in the gangway.

If you ever catch the train out of Colombo to travel south, make sure you sit on the right hand side of the carriage for the view. The train sped along the sea front, palm trees, golden sands, and brightly painted cabins all flashed by. People selling delicious smelling pastries and pineapple prices passed through the cabin in a constant stream. I made the mistake of standing up to let an old man get past me onto the train, and he instead chose to sit determinedly on my feet- so I learnt the hard way that you should hold your ground on trains in Sri Lanka!

The city eventually gave way to rainforest jungle, and two hours later we arrived in the centre of Galle town. A short walk away and you find yourself at the walls of the old Dutch fort, inside of which you find cobbled streets and colonial architecture that was all protected from 2004 Boxing Day tsunami by the huge stone walls.

We walked around the walls of the fort, enjoying the sea breezes, and then went swimming with some monks off a tiny beach. Before long all the monks started getting out and hurriedly gathered their bundles orange robes. And we soon found out why… Monsoon! We took shelter in a road side stall, and the rains, though hard, passed quickly.

We are staying at a hostel like place called The Travelling Tree, that is simple but gorgeous inside, with lazy balconies to lounge on, and we seem to have the place to ourselves… dreamy.

We spent the early evening exploring the colourful shops and winding streets of old Galle, stopping to watch and cheer a game of street cricket for a while before the monsoon began to open on us again.

Once the rains had passed, we had time to grab ice creams before the sun set on the horizon- perfect views from the fort wall. We ate dinner at The Lucky Fort resturaunt, where we were given ten different vegetarian curries to sample, and could then ask to refill any of the bowls we liked most. All of it was heavily spiced of course, and the heat licked our mouths deliciously, until I had the misfortune of biting into a rogue chilli, and that was the me done for the evening.

After dinner, we took a lazy stroll to the lighthouse and back, enjoying the warm night air on our skin.

Now to rest and sleep for an early start tomorrow, as we continue along the coast to Tangalle and Rekawa Beach…!
Hope you’re all well,

Stay breezy 😊

Roo xx

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