Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The second half of our Sri Lanka stay

We are definitely behind on blogging. We're about to hit up our last country in southeast asia (the Philippines - our flight's tonight!) and we're still finishing up telling stories about our first stop.. I blame the slow internet connections (which make photos hard to upload) as well as the fascinating places we haven't been able to tear ourselves away from (Bangkok, Battambang, and Angkor Wat's temples...).

[update - we're actually already in Seattle: I wrote this post awhile ago but wanted to put photos in it before posting...phew!]

So here's some catch-up (Did someone say ketchup?? Bad joke. But really. I want some fries.):

After all the cool things we packed into Kandy [see Elephants Galore and We didn't JUST ride elephants], we took the train back thru the mountains early enough in the morning that the fog was still settling down into the valleys.

Our next stop was Galle, a fort town on the coast, but to get there by train we had to pass back through Colombo, which took quite a long time. The Colombo to Galle leg, however, passed right along the coast and at times we were maybe 10 feet from the ocean practically feeling the spray from the surf. So, overall, the views along the way made the early alarm and long travel worth it. 

When we got into Galle, we made our way into the fort and settled into our nice little guest house which was situated down one of the few small, picturesque (and very touristy) streets.

View from inside an adorable little cafe with pumpkin ginger soup!

We spent the first day doing what tourists do best - buying lots and lots of souvenirs. There was some really lovely stuff and it was just nice to get out and see the architecture around town since the fort was first built by Portugese colonizers around the 1600s, then extensively expanded by the Dutch about a century and a half later, then finally taken by the British at some point. Sorry for the fuzzy dates/history - we clearly learned a LOT in the tiny museum there....

For the architecture nerds:

Dutch style mosque?

The end of the first evening found us on the fort walls looking down into the ocean and marveling at the construction of the fort walls (at least 40ft tall all around the place). It was beautiful.

since that last one was pretty but gave no perspective on the height of these walls:

Lighthouse at the end of our street!

We then stopped for a drink as a ferocious looking storm rolled in (very Burkina) and we learned that Sri Lankan wine leaves much to be desired. As does its Irish beer. Go figure.

The next day I was really jonesin' for the ocean after that train ride, so we headed over to the bus station just outside the fort walls and took a quick, cheap bus to Unawatuna (tuk-tuk being unnecessarily pricey and us wanting to pretend to be locals or Peace Corps volunteers). 

On our way out to the water, we stopped at a fruit stand and picked over jackfruit, soursop and durian before finally settling on a half kilo of lychees to take with us to the beach as a snack. The beach was lovely with clear blue water and very gentle waves. Life in and around Galle was really hard, guys. 

[Next up: the Fish Spa experience...]

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