Trip Start Sep 19, 2010
Trip End Sep 19, 2011

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Where I stayed
Shiva guesthouse and Coral bay

Flag of Sri Lanka  ,
Thursday, February 10, 2011

26th Jan.

    We Called a taxi early in the morning and he took us to a bus stop where we could catch a bus to Trincomalee ( known locally as Trinco ). This was to be our last bus journey in Sri Lanka because we would be leaving Trinco by train. Cathy and I caused rather a stir on this little street as we waited to catch the bus. People literally came out of their houses to come and stare at us. This gets a little unnerving after 15 minutes. We then found out that we had to wait two and a half hours for the Trinco bus. We decided that we would catch the next bus that came along and where ever that ended up we would go to Trinco from there. It had to be better that way than being stared at for two and a half hours!!! The next bus that came along was the Pollunaruwa bus. We had been here already as part of our cultural triangle tour. This bus ride took 2 hours and it got ridiculously crowded. Nothing new there then!! We were dropped off outside the train station in Pollunaruwa. Well how handy we thought, we'll get the train to Trinco. The train was to leave in 2 hours and it would take two and a half hours to get there. I'll buy that for a Dollar I thought. Well I'll cut a long story short, the train was one and a half hours late in leaving and It took five and a half hours to get there. Why do I ever believe them????

   We arrived in Trinco at about eight thirty that evening pretty shattered. As we left the station we were approached by a Tuk Tuk driver. I said take us to the Bay View hotel. We were told by him that that hotel was closed down and he could take us to a nice hotel. I just laughed and said don't give me that old line just take me to the Bay View. He said ok I'll take you there if you want. I said I want. We drove off and I felt pretty smug, you can't pull the wool over my eyes that easily. Sure enough he took us to the Bay View and sure enough the Bay View had been closed for years. Damn that 2003 guide book!!! After wiping the egg off my face we asked him if there was another hotel in town. He took us to another and Cathy went in and asked to see a room. She came out saying Rs 5500 was a right rip off and we were not paying it. I should explain that Cathy checks the hotels out and bargains for a better price. She goes because I am a complete coward when it comes to bargaining. Once again the driver suggested a hotel just up the coast about 10km away. Ok we said take us there. It turned out to be a lovely little guesthouse right on the beach for Rs 2500 a night. We quickly dashed to the restaurant attached to the guesthouse and had some dinner before they closed. The food was fantastic too and very cheap.

  The next morning after breakfast we went for a little walk up the road to a British war Cemetery we had been told about. It was set in beautiful gardens. I had read about this place and it had the graves of many Royal Navy sailors that had died just off Sri Lanka in WW2 when the Japanese had sunk the Hermes aircraft carrier and I think the Prince of Wales Battleship. Not a good day for the Royal navy. I will have to do some reading up on this battle as I have not really heard a lot about it. You could say we British only sing when we are winning. The Caretaker of this beautiful Cemetery came out to talk to us. He was a lovely old English guy and he told us all about the place. In the hotel we met an English lady called Jo who was travelling on her own. She said she had booked a taxi that afternoon to take her on a site seeing tour of Trinco harbour and town and we were welcome to come along and share the taxi cost. We readily agreed and off we went.

   Those of you from the North East of England might be familiar with the name Trincomalee. It is the name of the tall ship that sits in Hartlepool Marina. Lord Nelson Said of Trincomalee " Trincomalee is the finest harbour in the world". It is in fact the 5th biggest natural harbour in the world and on seeing it I too was impressed. It is massive. The royal Navy kept their eastern fleet here. But I dare say they could have kept every ship in the Royal navy moored up safely within this natural wonder. We were taken on a tour of the harbour by our Tuk Tuk driver. He was a bit of a comedian and kept us all entertained. On the way back to our hotel we stopped off at the railway station. We found out from them that we could book a 1st class ticket on the overnight sleeper in the morning before they all sold out. So in the morning when we were taking Jo to the train station we reserved our tickets then headed into town to have a look around. Again Trinco was another east coast town that saw it's share of the war. In fact our Tuk Tuk driver showed us pictures of his blown up Tuk Tuk. He was Sinhalese living in a Tamil majority town!! We wandered the streets and then the Fort and we liked this lovely little town. We stayed at our hotel for three nights then decided we would spend three more another 15km up the coast at a little place called nilaveli Beach. This place was nicer and slightly more expensive and it had a pool. The down side was it started raining and it didn't stop for our whole time we were there. I swam in the pool everyday in the rain but apart from that we sat in our room and read. We were unlucky with the weather, a huge low pressure weather system was coming in from the east and it hung around for days dropping huge amounts of water on Sri Lanka once again causing even more flooding. We were starting to get worried as we had heard that the Trinco to Colombo train had not run for two days due to the flooding. Our train did run on the day we were supposed to leave, thank God. We had a sleeper compartment that was OK if not a little tatty and with all the rain our roof was leaking. But apart from that we slept well until our arrival in Colombo. We quickly jumped on another train to Ngombo to spend our last two nights in Sri Lanka.
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trish and john on

john said it as a terrible lose off life. great blog

Jo Bridel-Broomes on

I am reading your blog back to front, and very useful it is too as I tried the traditional method i.e. a note book which disappeared along with my bag in the Cape verde islands.! You should take up travel writing by the way!

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