Sri Lanka - Day 19

Trip Start Jan 04, 2013
Trip End Jan 26, 2013

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Flag of Sri Lanka  , Galle,
Thursday, January 24, 2013

It's our last day on be beach and after a short breakfast we hop into a tuk tuk, which takes us into town to catch a local bus to Galle Fort. The two and half hour bus ride ($0.75 per seat) winds its way along the coast towards what use to be the trading center for the "new world". The ride is cheap but not necessarily fast. At least we get to sample some of the latest Sri Lankan hits over the bus's sound system along the way. What is it with musical buses in this country?

Originally established by the Portuguese, the fort was built to protect the ships that transported spices, jewels and precious stones to Europe. The fort was then taken over and reinforced by the Dutch, which made Galle their political headquarters in what then known as Ceylon. Most of the buildings found inside the fort are from the Dutch era and are made from coral and various materials scavenged from ships. In total the town is made up of 130 original resident families and the entire area has been recognized by Unesco as a World Heritage Site.

After settling into our guest house we decide to take a walk around town. The streets are narrow and many still display their original Dutch names. All are flanked on both sides with homes and warehouses dating back hundreds of years. Many have been well preserved but others have fallen into disrepair, as the original owners fled the country to avoid the civil war that recently ended in 2009.

The temperature continues to rise and the day wears in and after checking out some of the local shops we make our way to the Galle Fort Hotel (an old colonial hotel) for some Lion Larger and white wine. In the shade of their centuries old veranda, under their cooling fans, we relax and watch the locals go out their business along the narrow streets. The day turns to night (the sun goes down in about 1/2 hour at this latitude) so we decide to grab a bite of prawn curry at one of the guest homes that line the street before retiring to bed for tomorrow's explorations around the fort.
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