With a big Birthday looming I had decided it was best spent somewhere hot. After numerous destinations came and went I booked a couple weeks in Sri Lanka. It had been on the list for some time and the right season to visit lined up with when I wanted to get away.
After doing all the festivities that Christmas involves we jumped on a flight. Its a long old way but we eventually landed in Colombo late one night. Immigration was interesting with a lot of people seeming to run into trouble however we sailed through. Our bags arrived. We picked up some local currency then headed out to try and get a taxi to our hotel. This is generally a painful part in any trip. Yo know you will be ripped off, but dont want to be ripped off too much. After going into our negotiations all guns blazing, I felt we did ok in the end.
We got to our hotel in the middle of Colombo and got to bed. The next morning we had some breakfast then went for a walk to explore. The heat and humidity was not unexpected but still a shock coming from UK winter. The next mission was to get the train to Galle. Having read online the trains are a lovely way to see the country and very affordable I figured it would be ideal. A tuk tuk ripped us off giving us a 10 minute lift to the train station. A reminder that this will happen everytime.
The train journey was far from enjoyable. An experience sure. We have all done the London underground at rush hour. Doing it in a hot, humid country for hours is not really the experience we were after. We will leave it at that.
The fort town of Galle is popular with tourists. It is an interesting spot and also a bit of a break from the hectic hustle and bustle outside the fort. A pleasant place to wander round and eat and drink, full of boutique hotels. I was unsure how much New Year would affect things, so I had 3 nights booked here. Probably more than we needed, but it was pleasant.
Having learnt that taxis and tuk tuks go out of their way to rip you off, and whilst very cheap, the trains are not fun, we turned to technology. Uber got us relatively affordable and hassle free transport. Next up Weligama. This is a popular beach spot which blends being a traditional fishing town with funky boats, and also being a tourist hot spot. The main activity here is surfing. The beach is big, but there are back to back surf schools all along it. The good thing is you can rent a board for next to nothing and go have some fun. There are a lot of people in the water though.
Another benefit of this surf town vibe is that there are loads of cool rooftop bars and restaurants. There was some pretty cool spots here and in a way it was a shame we didnt have more time here. The routine was to wake up and go surf. Have brunch. Chill. Go surf. Chill then dinner.
We moved on along the coast past Matara to a beach area called Medawatta. This was much quieter with just a few hotels and a small number of places to eat and drink. Much more of the paradise you imagine when you think of these places. We also stepped it up a notch with the accommodation. We had an apartment in a small complex right on the beach. The waves out front were great and the line ups were much less busy.
The next days were spent surfing, enjoying the pool, relaxing and eating. We had been somewhat unlucky with the weather. Relentless thunderstorms had been forming in the evenings for weeks. However on the day I turned forty we were treated to a classic Sri Lankan sunset. We made the most of it sipping cold beers then dining on the beach. A pretty perfect way to celebrate the milestone.