Galle

Trip Start Jul 11, 2013
1
6
24
Trip End Sep 09, 2013


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Flag of Sri Lanka  ,
Wednesday, July 17, 2013

On the third day of our visit Aaron and Nellie had arranged a coastal "get-away" to Galle.  Galle is on the west coast about 2 hours south of Colombo.   Our driver (Mr Shyam) arrived and we all climbed aboard the people mover and headed along Sri Lanka's “best road”.   The “best road” is a highway similar to the Hume however unlike the Hume it is devoid of traffic as most Sri Lankans can’t afford the $4 toll so the road remains mostly unused with the exception of the rich and foreign tourists.    

After a pleasant traffic free drive though picturesque countryside we reached the town of Galle Fort in time for lunch.  This is an interesting place as it was the only southern town to escape the ravages of the Boxing Day tsunami nine years ago when the fort held and saved the people and its infrastructure.  The fort was built in bygone days to protect Sri Lanka’s southern tip from sea faring invaders however on the day of the tsunami its sheer height protected Galle Fort from the ravages of the sea itself.

Galle Fort is a quaint place with narrow streets and many craft shops.  Leesa managed to find a lovely print of Sri Lankan Pole fisherman that will make a lovely reminder of her trip.  The only down side of this quaint little town were the gypsies who would not take “no” for an answer and would literally chase you down the street shoving their wares in your face.

We continued on and arrived in Galle where A & N had booked us into “The Fortress Resort”.  I now understand why Shane Warne and Liz Hurley choose this part of the world to holiday in - it’s amazing!

We were welcomed to the resort with cocktails and happily accepted an upgrade to our rooms.  Sal and Leesa, Trevor and I both opted for balcony rooms on the 1st floor overlooking the pool and ocean and A & N opted for a ground floor room with its own plunge pool.

I can only describe our balcony rooms as amazing – the sheer size for two people was obscene.  Our bathroom and bedroom were upstairs with the bed positioned for the view.  The open plan bathroom was definitely designed for the romantic (and not us seniors!)  It featured a huge standalone bath with mood lighting, a huge glass shower room and glass toilet room.  Sal described their room as definitely not a mother/daughter room.

It didn’t take us long to settle in and enjoy the resort lifestyle - cocktail hour and entertainment commenced at 6pm then at 7.30pm our driver returned to take us to a nearby restaurant pre-booked by A & N.  Once again they excelled in choosing yet another great restaurant in an amazing location.  I don’t think I’ll forget the jumbo prawns I ordered - they were like small lobsters but tasted even better.

After being lulled to sleep by the sound of the waves in our huge bed we awoke to be served breakfast poolside.  During breakfast we were fascinated by the tiniest squirrels any of us had ever seen.  They scurried among the tables and begged to be fed – they were really very cute. 

After breakfast, and to the amusement of our fellow travellers, Sal and I decided it was time to break out the swimsuits and hit the pool. The photos of us frolicking in the water will not make this blog as disappointingly they are not reminiscent of poolside photos taken in our youth.

Check out time came all too soon when our driver returned to load us and our luggage into the van for our return trip to Colombo.  Aaron had requested the driver take us via the old coast road so we could visit a turtle sanctuary along the way – this proved to be a great idea as it enabled us to view and understand in some small way the enormity of the devastation caused to this area by the tsunami.

Our driver was familiar with the worst affected areas and stopped for us to photograph a memorial to those who perished in a train trying to flee the tsunami along with thousands of other unidentified locals.  This reminder really hit home to us that our resort stay was something many people would have been enjoying at the time the tsunami struck.  Unfortunately for them this event would ultimately end or change their lives forever.

The Turtle Sanctuary was something we all enjoyed.  It was interesting to learn that the sanctuary buys the turtle eggs from local fishermen and then buries them at the sanctuary where they hatch.  The baby turtles are then rotated through a different pond each day until the third day when their “belly button” has closed over they are taken at night to the beach and released. Their survival rate is less than 20% but apparently that is a good rating.

The remainder of our drive home along the coast road was interesting – we were able to see how the villagers lived.  Many were farmers selling their produce roadside and many farmed livestock that roamed along the highway.  The narrow road was a little chaotic at times especially overtaking buses who seem to be a law unto themself

At one point a Tuk Tuk ran into the back of our van.  Fortunately there was no damage to the van and very little to the Tuk Tuk.   After investigating the situation our driver came back laughingly telling us the Tuk Tuk had seven large males crammed into it and they weren’t remotely concerned about the damage to their Tuk Tuk they were only concerned about missing the food and drink at the wedding reception they were hurrying to attend prior to the mishap.  Conversation over, they took off at a fast pace to make it to the wedding reception on time.  Like our driver, I’m still not sure how seven large males fitted into that one tiny Tuk Tuk!

We arrived home in time for dinner beautifully prepared by A & N’s home help Elizabeth.  Elizabeth is a great cook and made a feast for us including two versions of Pork Curry, Prawn and Chicken Curries, and side dishes of rice, caramelised onion, a medley of roasted vegetable and salad.  Yum!!
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