Day 12 – back to Colombo: I awoke to my last day in Galle, which had been one of my favourite stops as everything inside the Fort is walking distance and I finally had a few days in one place. It was another unbelievably sweaty day. Galle sits in a kind of recessed pit within the walls, so it’s wonderfully breezy when you’re up on top of the walls overlooking the sea, but when walking the narrow streets it can feel rather airless.
I headed to the train station first thing while it was still (relatively) cool to buy a ticket for the 14:45 to Colombo. I also took the opportunity to visit some of the local supermarkets. One of the surprising thing about Sri Lanka is the popularity of cream crackers. I had been intrigued by the amount of billboards and other adverts for cream crackers that I’d spotted while travelling around the island by bus and train, so was interested to see the huge variety of brands on offer in the supermarket! I’m not sure I’ve ever been conscious of their existence outside of the UK! I sat down and had a fresh coconut to drink while waiting to pick the ring I had bought and was having resized. For lunch I headed to Lucky Fort, which came highly recommended on Tripadvisor. For about £5 you’re served the 10 curries that are fresh that day, mostly vegetable with one meat dish (I had chicken). Wonderful food and very filling for one person, was really enough for two.
After eating far too much I collected my bags from the guest house and was back off out to the train station by tuk tuk. The train was rather busy with tourists moving between the coastal towns and Colombo, as well as a good deal of locals with luggage. I was lucky enough to get a seat but spent the journey with my bag crushed between the seat and by legs. Not quite so pleasant as the spacious journey down!
Once again it was a race against time to see the sunset. After a tuk tuk ride and a slow check in, I headed to my room with minutes to spare, jumped into my swimwear and hit the rooftop pool. The view from the pool at Cinnamon Red Colombo is breath-taking. I sat in the pool watching the sun set over the buildings of Colombo. What a wonderful experience! It’s not the best hotel, down to the service rather than the facilities, but you really can’t beat the view from the infinity pool, so it’s probably worth a stop- you can visit the bar in the evening even if you’re not staying in the hotel. Once I was showered and changed I still had time to kill before my late dinner reservation so I grabbed another Lion lager (if you’re a lager connoisseur then Lion is a good one to try) and enjoyed it immensely with a delicious bowl of cashew nuts flavoured with curry leaves.
Later that evening it was finally time to eat at Ministry Crab, which I couldn’t get a table at when I first arrived in Colombo 12 days ago. Ministry of Crab really is a Colombo institution and it is full to bursting day in day out. It’s hard and messy going pulling apart a sauce-covered crab with your bare hands, but endlessly satisfying and it was delicious. I don’t doubt there are better crab places in Colombo and at a much more reasonable price, but the Dutch Hospital is a lovely setting for dinner so sometimes it’s worth paying the premium.
Day 13 – the last day: not a real day of sightseeing, more a day of waiting to leave. I head to the National Museum, which was walking distance from the hotel. It houses all sorts of paraphernalia (from weapons to statues to royal thrones) from Sri Lanka’s history and is most interested although rather airless as it does not benefit from air conditioning.
After the museum I wandered through Viharamahadevi Park, which is Colombo’s biggest park. I would have never noticed if it hadn’t been pointed out to me by one of the park workers, but when I looked up I saw that the trees were absolutely full to the brim with fruit bats. They seem somehow both tiny and cute while also alarmingly large. I stood watching and photographing them for some time, intrigued by the contrast of their membrane wings and fluffy heads.
All too soon it was time to head to the airport and the long journey home. What a wonderful couple of weeks exploring Sri Lanka- I had seen so much and yet there’s so much I didn’t have time to explore! In my upcoming posts I’ll share with you the details of how I put this trip together from the rough itinerary, to booking accommodation, finding good local restaurants and how I found my way around on public transport. Stay tuned…