With the busy city and an interesting train journey behind me it was time to put my attention on a new town, Galle, the home of an old Dutch fort at the south western tip of Sri Lanka. I read that you could “see the sights in a day trip” or “stop on your way to Unawatuna”, but I’m tired of moving around and wanted to pay the town a proper visit. Unsure of accommodation I booked my first nights stay at Peddlars Hostel inside the fort and figured after arriving I’d decide of the town was worth an extra nights stay.
Happy to be off the train my smile soon turned to frustration as I was accosted by tuk tuk drivers begging for my business. I knew the distance to my hostel was not far, in fact, I could have walked it, but with my bags and after three hours standing on the train I gave in and forked over 200 rupees for the ride. I checked in at the same time as Doug, and we both made a beeline to the shower before collapsing on our beds, who knew train rides could take so much out of you.
I was starving and sunset was approaching so we decided to head out together, first to the fort walls for sunset (beautiful) and then over to the Lucky Fort restaurant for a 10 curry dinner. It sounded like a great deal and split between two people it was, but I’m wondering if that meal is what sent my stomach into spirals the next day. Galle isn’t much on the nightlife and I was exhausted, so an early night it was, with intentions to wake up early the next morning and catch a sunrise.
My early alarm was unnecessary as my rumbling tummy woke me up early, and although I gave it a second thought, I decided to head out anyway and greet the sun and as it turns out Doug had the same plan. We walked together to the small beach front and although the skies were cloudy the morning light was beautiful nonetheless. I said goodbye to Doug who went back for more sleep as I headed to the park, hoping to fit in a morning yoga session before the heat set in. I found a shady spot and practiced for a (mostly) peaceful 45 minutes before being interrupted by booming music, apparently it was time to prepare for the afternoon New Year’s festival, cuing me to wrap it up.
I was in no hurry to jump on a bus, but also didn’t love my hostel accommodation so I set out to find a replacement. Staying inside the fort area is not cheap, but being the low season I was determined to find a deal, which I eventually did at the Old Dutch Hostel. It wasn’t cheap, but at only $1 more than what I’d be paying for a dorm room, I took it. The stomach ache that set in a few hours later was happy with that decision, although I could have used some A/C.
I avoided the peak afternoon heat at my guesthouse, sipping coffee and writing, but eventually went out to explore the fort and witness another beautiful sunset. Walking around the fort walls is a must-do in Galle, an impressive structure, bit of history and gorgeous views at every turn. Although there’s a plethora of tourists here it’s also a great spot to see local life, witnessing various activities from morning and afternoon joggers, families picnicking or children playing a game of cricket, it’s an interesting place to be.
I’ve found it’s hard to be alone in Sri Lanka, there’s always someone wanting to be your friend, and this time it was a local boy seated nearby for sunset. He struck up a conversation quickly, asking where I was from, what I thought of his town, and of course the “Where is your boyfriend?” As the sun set he pointed out some turtles in the water below, told me a bit of history and then walked a stretch of the wall with me back to the entrance. Just as I was preparing to say goodbye I had another first, “Miss can I kiss you...you’re beautiful...just one time...please”, congrats to him on his persistence, but the answer remained no.
I guess if you have limited time in Sri Lanka, a day trip could be enough, but I enjoyed staying to hang out for a bit as it’s an interesting little town. There is more to see in the area, a day trip to Unawatuna or Jungle beach, a walk through the old Dutch Market or one of the various other destinations a tuk tuk driver is eagerly willing to take you, but I like to just hang out, and it’s easy to do here.
To be quite honest I have no idea where my desire to travel to this country originated, but it festered and grew for nearly 3 years. In a sense it's a cleaner, safer, smaller India and having always had that country on my radar it seemed like the perfect test drive.