Sunset Sri Lanka
Trip Start Dec 26, 2013
107Trip End Aug 05, 2014
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Where I stayed
We arrived in Galle mid-afternoon on February 17, after a particularly difficult 2.5-hour bus ride where we had to share our narrow bench with another person, making us all squished together on a long, sweaty (no A/C on these buses) ride. I don't know how someone with hips any wider could manage on these buses; they are not designed for Western girths. I had the window seat, so could breathe some fresh air, but also felt
The old city, contained within the walls of a fort, feels a bit like a medieval European city plopped down in a beautiful tropical setting--albeit a European city with a mosque and Buddhist temple. The Portuguese built part of the fort in the 16th century, but the Dutch took over in the 17th century and are primarily responsible for the fort and city as it looks today. The fort area is filled with remarkably well-preserved colonial architecture crammed into its lanes and alleys, the smell of abundant spices mixed with the salt spray of the Indian Ocean and the sounds of schoolchildren playing cricket in the wide fields beneath the walls. It sounds cliched, but the World Heritage
That first afternoon, however, we spent running errands in the new city, outside the fort's walls. I have to apply for an international driving permit to drive in France and Spain and Brazil, which we didn't realize until a few days ago. I had to get an IDP five years ago in order to drive in Italy (unfortunately the permits are only valid for 12 months), and I just went to my local AAA office where they took care of everything in 10 minutes. It's a lot more complicated when you're already overseas. After three hours of visits to several Internet cafes for printing, a photocopy shop, a photography studio,
Worn down by the hassles of the bus and tasks, we took it easy that evening and stayed close to our guesthouse. We had a beer on the rooftop deck during sunset, ate delicious seared tuna and rice and curry on the rooftop deck of a restaurant a few doors down and sat on the wall dangling our feet over the ocean in the moonless dark after dinner.
We woke up refreshed and ready to spend the day exploring the fort. We started by wandering up and down every street, soaking in the atmosphere of the bustling town, then made our way up to the fort walls and circled the city. The views from the top of the walls, especially at the bastions, were fantastic. And the walls are really impressive in their massiveness--they withstood the 2004 tsunami and left the old city intact, while
We also visited the maritime museum, because that's what we do in these historic Indian Ocean trade route cities. We got gelato (we were so happy to find gelato again!) and went back to relax at the guesthouse until sunset. We climbed back up on the western walls outside our guesthouse a little before sunset, and joined the crowds of locals taking their evening stroll while children splashed in the water and plenty of
We got gelato again (we have really missed ice cream) and eventually headed back to the western fort walls to look out at the ocean at night again. This time, however, the cops busted us. We honestly had no idea we weren't supposed to be on the walls at night--there were no signs or anything, and we had run into another couple on the walls the previous night--but the cops were none too pleased with our presence on the walls. They actually followed us all the way back to our guesthouse to make sure that we really left the walls. We figure we must have been more visible on our second night on the walls; the moon was hiding behind clouds the first night. Chalk that up to our (completely harmless) first run-in with the police on our trip around the world.
Cat Tally: 67
Weddings Tally: 14 (saw a bride and groom getting their photos taken while running around the walls)