Monday, 7 March 2016

Let's Play Catch-Up: 2015 Travels: Sri Lanka in August

Our big summer holiday trip last year was to Sri Lanka (with a stop-over in Dubai on the way home); we were away for 18 nights, so it was a lovely long break. 
DC is quite the well-travelled young man; he settled in as soon as we boarded and we barely heard a peep out of him for the entire flight. It was quite a treat flying on the Emirates A380, a huge plane with very roomy seats (even in Economy) and such spacious toilets! The other great thing about flying in a monster plane is that you barely feel the turbulence.

And you get to watch where you're going; in fact you could watch via the camera on the tail, or the one on the undercarriage. Despite the fact that I don't particularly like flying, I kept being drawn back to these cameras, as if to taunt myself. Weird.

After a 6-ish hour flight we had a short stop-off in Dubai airport before changing planes and flying onwards for another 4 hours to Colombo. Although our flights were both absolutely fine, it was still great to arrive!

We stayed in the Hilton Residences and had a huge suite with three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a kitchen and lounge-dining room - way too big for the three of us, but we weren't going to complain as it was a bargain when we booked it several months earlier. This was the view from the balcony. Not exactly picturesque in the foreground but certainly interesting and expansive, and with the sea in the distance.
There was a great pool at the hotel which the boys took advantage of almost as soon as we got there
and which we all enjoyed for a good part of the following day.

We had two nights in Colombo; we didn't really do any sight-seeing as hubby and I have been there before and, to be honest, there aren't masses of 'sights' to speak of. Instead we spent time recovering from the flight in and around the pool and we visited our favourite restaurants, cafes and shops - if you ever find yourself in Colombo I would absolutely recommend a meal at the Paradise Road Gallery Cafe; the food is absolutely fantastic. We ate there three times in total during our visit to Sri Lanka and each time the food was superb. They also have a lovely little shop on site which sells some gorgeous bits and bobs.

After our two nights in Colombo it was time to hop on the train down the coast to Galle. Did I mention we were 'backpacking'? We're not fans of package holidays, we'd much rather travel around and find different places to stay under our own steam, thus giving us the option to move on if we don't like somewhere, or stay on if we like it.

 The hotel we chose in Galle was fab. A little boutique-y place called The Fort Printers (, an 18thC mansion with just 13 rooms. The room we had was very simple but extremely clean and had everything we needed; we were in a part of the hotel with just one other guest room which shared a lovely lounge area; and then there was this sweet little pool - small but perfect in the warm weather. The food was wonderful, as was the service. The manager (owner, perhaps?) was so kind to DC, telling him about the TV in one of the lounges, setting cushions out for him on the floor and generally indulging him.

Galle itself is lovely, a UNESCO World Heritage town, with lots of beautiful architecture and interesting streets to explore, as well as the old town walls, plus lighthouse which make a great walk (although not so much in the heat of the midday sun...)

After three nights in Galle it was time to move a little further around the coast to a lovely hotel just outside Mirissa. This was the view from the balcony outside our room. Yup.
And this was the beach at the bottom of the garden.
We spent three very lazy days at this lovely place, alternately swimming in the pool, exploring the beach, eating, reading and sleeping. And repeat.

Then it was back to Colombo for a night as a stopover on the way inland.
We headed off to Sigirya, and along the way we stopped at the Pinnewalla Elephant Orphanage where DC got to feed a bottle of milk to one of the little babies.

And feed some fruit to one of the larger inhabitants.

And then we watched them all walk down to the river for a bath.

We stayed at two different hotels while we were in Sigirya. This was the first, where we stayed for two nights.
The local wildlife was up close and personal - this lizard had dragged a fish out of the lake for its lunch.
And this monkey stole a bottle of Fanta from our table. Cheeky.
This is Sigirya, known as the Lion Fortress. And yes, we walked, climbed and generally sweated our way all the way to the top!

But it's worth it when you get there for the views and the sense of achievement. Hubby and I had been there before so we knew that it would be quite a trek, but DC did an absolutely fantastic job, only getting worried once on those metal steps which you can see above.

And after all that leg-wobble inducing climbing, it was rather nice to come back to the second of our hotels in the area, with this pool

You can see Sigirya in the centre of the photo below - not a bad view from the end of a swimming pool.

After four nights inland we travelled back to Colombo for one last night
before flying to Dubai early the next morning.

Sri Lanka is a beautiful country; the food is great, the people are friendly, the scenery is stunning, the beaches are great and I would absolutely recommend it for a holiday!