Though the crazy monsoon weather we experienced during our two weeks in Galle soured our moods and ruined planned excursions, it did give us the chance to explore the Fort neighborhood in full -- particularly its restaurants, cafes and bars. Here were some of our favorite spots during our time there.
An unbroken string of tiny towns and hotels stretches out to the east of Galle. The busy road which hugs the coastline passes through Unawatuna, Dalawela, Thalpe, Habaraduwa, Midigama, one right after the other; each offering tourists an insane number of places to stay and things to do.
After visiting the gleaming white Japanese Peace Pagoda which provided a wonderful view of Galle Fort, we climbed down toward the true destination of our day trip -- Jungle Beach. Not another person in sight, just twin stretches of deserted sand trapped between the ocean and Rumassala Rock. Having just experienced the soul-crushing lameness of Unawatuna, this beach was exactly what we needed. Peace, solitude and gorgeous nature.
After two and a half whirlwind months touring Sri Lanka, we pulled into Galle with exhausted bodies and tired minds. This would be the last extended stop of our 91 days in the country.
Twenty kilometers north of Tangalla lies the large rock of Mulkirigala, reminiscent in shape to Sigiriya. The rock houses an impressive series of cave temples dating from the third century, similar to those of Dambulla. A mix between Sri Lanka's two most famous sites, Mulkirigala sounded like a winner.
No, Dickwella and the Hoo-maniya Blowhole is not the perverted name of a new punk band, but the twin objects of our first day trip outside of Tangalla. The blowhole is a natural wonder formed by cliffs along the coast, and Dickwella is a frantic coastal town where activity can reach a level of absurdity.
We arrived in Tangalla with mixed emotions. Now on the southern coast, we were undeniably in the final stretch of our tour through Sri Lanka. There was still a lot to see -- the attractions of the country's southern extreme are considerable -- but our journey's approaching end was tangible for the first time. Still, we'd only have a few days in Tangalla, a small town which occupies some of the island's most beautiful coastline and offers a number of memorable excursions. No time for moping.
In some places, you have to work hard, catch a lucky break or be extra creative to get great pictures. And then there's Ella. I didn't even have to move from our porch. Or look at what I was taking pictures of. Or hold the camera. That would have required putting my drink down! Nope, from our incredible veranda overlooking Ella Gap, I was able to place the camera on a table and once in while press the shutter button. Violà instant magic! Chameleons, sudden storms, atmospheric moon rises, amazing nature. This is a kind of photography I could get used to.
Sri Lankan New Year, that is. The holiday, which brings normal life on the island to a complete stop for two full days, is observed on either the 13th or 14th of April, depending on astrological calculations.
A gorgeous stretch of beach just a few kilometers north of the city, Uppaveli was our home during the week we spent in Trincomalee. A chain of hotels lines the coast, but we had the beach almost entirely to ourselves. After trips to action-packed cities like Kandy and Jaffna, a little sun, sand and solitude was exactly what we needed.