14 June – 21 June
Time to escape India for a week and head to Sri Lanka.
Japanese Peace Pagoda
First night on the south coast in the very scenic resort of Unawatuna and headed up hill to the Japanese peace pagoda.
A huge monument next to one of many Buddhist temples with amazing views over to Galle Fort.
Built to inspire peace, designed to provide a focus for people of all races and creeds to help unite them in their search for world peace, it certainly was a lovely spot to spend an hour.
Views from the top. Best time of day, I think.
A UNESCO world heritage site in the Bay of Galle on the South west coast. First built in 1588 by the Portuguese, then extensively fortified by the Dutch during the 17th century from 1649 onward, before falling to the British in 1815 until Sri Lanka gained independence in 1948.
It is however still known as the ‘Dutch Fort’
Amazingly it withstood the boxing day tsunami which caused extensive damage to many other areas of Galle. Walking around there today you would never know that this part of the island was even affected.
ENTRANCE TO THE FORT
It really made me chuckle to learn that it was the British that built that pretty ugly clock tower because of their obsession with time keeping!
Dutch buildings and views from the fort walls
Some people might just call this graffiti but I thought they were pretty cool, bit of modern mixed in with the old
View from the fort walls
Now I have my camera back working fully I took the opportunity to mess around with the settings. The bottom photo I took by accident but its actually worked out pretty well
One of the famous ‘fort jumpers’.
I paid $8 to watch this guy jump from the bastion into the sea between the fort walls and the rocks.
A 13m drop.
It was only afterwards they told me the water was only about 5ft deep!
Felt a bit guilty at this point at having negotiated him down from $11.
For me it was a bargain, luckily managed to capture it on camera too, but for him, well I think I’d have put a higher price tag than $8 on my life!!??
Sri Lanka wouldn’t be Sri Lanka without someone playing cricket. This is actually just off the edge of the fort walls, not sure what they do if someone scores a 6!!!!
Not massively impressive photos, 2 from the 30km cycle I did, which I really enjoyed, made me realise how much I miss cycling. And the third one of the beach. About 5.30pm and the heavens opened and it absolutely lashed it down.
Thankfully I was in a bar under cover enjoying a beer!
So in a week that saw me negotiate a lot of buses & tuktuks, learn to surf – yes I managed to stand and stay standing on the board a good few times, cycled 20 miles through really lovely countryside, taking a million photos in Galle and having a bit of time on the beach I pondered whether I was really sold on ‘solo travel’.
There’s definitely pro’s and cons to it, as there are when you’re traveling with someone else. The compromise of having the freedom to do what you want, how you want, when you want against having someone else make a few decisions for you so you just don’t have to think and of course share the experience.
I definitely can’t quibble though, how many people can say, “oh yeah I just popped over to Sri Lanka for a week to have some time out because I needed somewhere to have a clear head to think about things”? Not many. And there aren’t many more beautiful places to be, its certainly an island where you can do everything from extreme sport, to wildlife watching, to musuems and culture, to relaxing on the beach.
So for me as I made some pretty important decisions about what next over the coming months there was no better place to be!