Galle...is that it?

Trip Start Aug 07, 2013
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Trip End Aug 22, 2013


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Flag of Sri Lanka  ,
Tuesday, August 20, 2013

After a few days downtime in Unawatuna, we ventured to Galle. Just 20 minutes and 400 rupees in a tuk tuk (2), we approached the city. Much-hailed as Sri-Lanka's best preserved example of a colonial city with character and charm, we were excited to explore. Setting off on foot for the Fort area, we wondered if we were in the right place. All that remained were coastal walkways and one imposing wall entrance with a token lighthouse. The walls themselves didn't really contain just old buildings either. Newer buildings, rundown cafes, dubious dwellings watered down the colonial charm. It wasn't that it wasn't interesting or nice to look at, just that something was missing. 

After half an hour of wandering round and pictures of the sea, lighthouse and walls we admitted defeat (inevitable on leaving the guidebook at our hotel in Unawatuna) and hailed a tuk tuk. Asking him to take us to the colonial old city, old buildings the driver set off intently at speed to triumphantly attempt to deposit us in front of a supermarket. Our first example of lost in translation- only 2 weeks into the trip, not bad. Our second attempt at explaining took us back to the Fort which we'd already seen. Our third led our weary confused driver to another tuk tuk driver to ask him to translate or suggest. 5 minutes later and no further forward we headed back to Unawatuna. The saving grace in this puzzle is that through the confusion, we had seen most of Galle....albeit mainly from the back of a tuk tuk!

Back safely relaxing by the pool at Flower Garden and 700rupees later (3.50), we consulted the guidebool. Turns out, we had seen much that Galle had to offer either on our initial walk or the tuktuk tour that followed. For us, Galle was disappointing. I expected streets of old buildings and charm, all surrounded by walls and battlements. Instead, it was on a much smaller scale and dotted here and there throughout a developing town. 

On a plus side, we managed to see crowds of Sri Lankans playing cricket, a must-see!

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