Dan and I took a sweaty emotionally draining bus ride up the coast to Galle. We had seriously considered skipping it and just staying in tangella due to the lovely hospitality. I'm really happy we didn't though. Galle is a beautiful city. We stayed within the walls of an old Dutch fort. It is very colonial and is almost like a miniature Europe surrounded by palm trees and a sri Lankan city. It's very artistic, mist shops are art, jewelry, gem or photography oriented and apparently over 60% of the buildings are owned by foreigners. The fort wall surrounds the fort and nowadays is doubled as a scenic walk. Accommodation was a lot more than we were accustomed or prepared to pay for. We tried several guest houses before we were given a tip and taken to a local woman's house. Her name was mallika and she lives in this beautiful yellow bungalow in the perfect location by a temple and the fort wall with her sister
. They rent out the extra rooms when family isn't visiting. They were such lovely woman, it was a taste of home and really nice to be cared for in a maternal way. The home cooking was to die for, we spent the evenings playing cards, chatting, drinking and listening to Dan play his guitar. We arrived in the city during the annual cricket match/tournament "lovers quarrel" between the two most prestigious boy schools in Sri Lanka. This year was the 109Th match. The first night was a pep rally of sorts, the streets were clogged with people of all ages decked out in black and gold (home team and defending champs colours) singing, dancing, driving around, honking, shouting and just loving life. It was such an infectious atmosphere and we couldn't help but get caught up in it. Mallikas neighbor is a former cricket super star, he played for Sri Lanka for many years and was the first boy from the defending champions school to play professionally, he is pretty popular on Galle but still made time to come see Dan and I and regale us with cricket stories of Jim playing abroad and life as a boy in boarding school. We watched one of the most vivid sunsets I've ever seen, the sun set behind the ocean horizon as we sat alone in a grass knoll with our backs to an old Dutch fort, the cheers and whistles of hundreds of happy fans in the background a stark contrast to the waves crashing against the rocks. The whole package made for quite the memory. The following day was the yearly primary school fiend trip to Galle. Every school within a few hours drive of Galle was in the fort for the day
. This meant there were hundreds and hundreds of children running around, exploring the beaches, playing, laughing, getting into the cricket mood and wanting to high five, talk, touch and wave with us. I spent the whole day in giggles and smiles. We walked around, took in the scenery, met many children and their teachers, played Frisbee, went to the beach, watched some cricket from a birds eye view on the top of the fort and ate so much. The heat is terrible, it was over 30 plus humid and within seconds of being outside we were both drenched in sweat. But luckily because of the amount of children there was cheap ice cream to be had everywhere. Plus the fort wall provided great relief from the sea, it is the perfect place to feel the sea breeze and watch the world go by. I sat on the wall for an hour lost in my make believe world of "what ifs" when I spotted several gigantic swimming sea turtles. as most of you know turtles are my favorite animal so it was a pretty special moment made even more special that it was all my own. If you are ever feeling low, unattractive or sad I highly suggest a walk through a class of 16 year old Sri Lankan boys who are unaccustomed to seeing westerners, Dan and I both received quite the who boost! all throughout the day as well the local primary schools were putting in parades. The children were dressed up in traditional clothes and what appeared to be Halloween masks as they danced and sang to drums. Just after dusk the older girls classes had a lantern parade. The streets were lit with piles of incense that exploded at random
. The girls were in white, carrying lanterns and chanting. The route took them from school to the temple beside our temporary home where they underwent a religious ceremony then back to the school where the evening was finished off with a firework show (which had just recently become legal), our last day in Galle was spent walking outside the fort, watching more cricket and watching the sea. It is the perfect place to talk out everything and Dan is a great travel buddy for it. I cannot express enough how lucky I have been with the people I have met and traveled with on this journey. at lunch we met an amazing couple from new Zealand who has been traveling and working for over 2 years. They are clearly so in love with each other, life and traveling. It is the kind of relationship I Hope to someday have and really refreshing to know that it is possible.