Trip Start Nov 17, 2011
Trip End Nov 28, 2011

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Flag of Sri Lanka  ,
Friday, November 18, 2011

First stop on my trip to Sri Lanka was Galle (pronounced 'gol').

I had arrived the night before at around 1 am on a flight from Hong Kong with a brief stop-over in Bangkok. I stayed the night in Colombo. After Lara had arrived on her morning flight from New York, we were driven from Colombo to Galle the next morning. Galle is located in the South-Western corner of the Island. Although it is only 120 km South of Colombo, the state of the roads and the somewhat anarchic traffic makes this a three to four hour drive.

Galle Fort is a UN World Heritage site. It is an almost perfectly preserved colonial town located on a small peninsula surrounded by huge ramparts protecting it from attacks from the sea. (The high walls also protected the historical part of Galle from the 2004 tsunami, which killed over 30,000 people along the South and East coast of Sri Lanka.)

The Portuguese established a port here (although it had been an important port long before the first Europeans arrived) and built the first fort in Galle in the 16th century, but this was almost entirely destroyed by the Dutch who took Galle in 1640. Most of the colonial architecture is from the Dutch colonial area, which lasted until 1796, when Sri Lanka became a British colony.

Our afternoon walk around town and along the city ramparts was cut short by the afternoon monsoon downpour.

On the morning of our second day in Galle, we took a boat ride up the Madu Ganga river, which is about an hours drive North of Galle. We saw several big monitor lizards, and we stopped at a couple of Islands, one where they grow cinnamon and one with a small but very old buddhist temple.

In the afternoon we went to the beautiful Unawatuna beach. We had lunch by the beach and then managed to get in about 30 min of sun tanning, before we were hit by a spectacularly torrential monsoon downpour.

Before leaving on the long drive to Hatton the next day, I went on a morning run along the fort ramparts. It was one of the most beautiful running routes I have ever done, and I was quite surprised to find many of the local being out there running and exercising at 6am in the morning as well.
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