A two hour taxi, seven hour flight, five hour sleep on a very uncomfortable chair in Dubai airport, another four hour flight and another two hour taxi. It was a true baptism of fire.
We had planned to spend the night in a guest house in Colombo and take the 6.30am train south to Galle and then a tuktuk to our place on Dalawella beach the following day. The thought of having to jostle our way onto a crowded train in twenty eight degrees with back packs the size of minivans after such a long day was less than desirable. So instead, I would dust off my day job sales skills to barter us a reasonable price for a taxi to take us straight there.
Let me do the talking, I said. We should not be wading in to our budget for luxuries so I will negotiate us a great deal. We had been travelling for eighteen hours though and it was really very hot outside so before I knew it, I had offered the man seventy five dollars without a moments hesitation. This was way over budget and not at all what I had planned. Bemused and delirious, the journey continued.
We arrived just before midnight to our lovely Janaka Beach House. After a warm welcome from the house manager who gave us a hand with our enormous bags we collapsed into two big chairs on the balcony, both with huge grins on our faces. We have finally made it!
The stars were like floodlights and were out in their thousands and although we couldn’t see the ocean as it was so dark, the noise of the waves crashing against the shore just below us was deafening.
I couldn’t wait to wake up.
It was way more amazing than I could have ever imagined.
This view from our balcony is definitely the best I’ve had of all of my holidays and it’s is the cheapest place I’ve ever stayed.
Until planning this trip, I wouldn’t have really looked at guest houses but we have our own room, private bathroom, sea view and I could almost reach out and pick the fresh coconuts straight from the palm trees.
We chucked on whatever was on the top of our bags and scurried down to Breakfast.
String hoppers (noodles), dhal curry made up mainly of lentils and coconut, chilli sambol which is made of chilli, onions, garlic, more coconut and shrimp paste was a little on the spicy side but it was so tasty I ate it anyway. And a massive cup of coffee. Coffee and curry combo is most definitely a first for me but it was absolutely delicious.
Oh, and this view…
All for £4!
Pretty hazy from the somewhat mammoth journey here, we spent the best part of the day wandering along the beaches getting acquainted with the locals.
Stopping for fresh, cold coconuts along the way.
Unawatuna is a beach at the southern tip of the island and has a really lovely backstreet full of surf shacks and yoga retreats, hidden away from the chaos of the tuk tuks and the car horns which come by thick and fast along the main highway. That is about the only downfall that I can mention so far. Most of the beaches are near to the main Matara road and so depending on where you stay, there is some noise from the traffic.
It was hit pretty badly during the tsunami in 2004 but now the majority has been rebuilt. It’s quite clear though that there were a lot of people vying for not much space along the beach itself. Hotels and hostels have built out almost to the shore in some places and it’s inflicted on the sense of tranquility in comparison to others and in particular our far less crowded beach.
Where there is complete calm.
Lots of pro surfers and giant green turtles bobbing around.
And some very curious fishing stilts.
The majority of the men who fish this way do so because they don’t have advanced or modern day fishing equipment. All they need is the stilt which they make from wood and a rod which they also make themselves and they sit and catch fish without a care in the world. It’s quite something.
By the time we got back the sun had started to set and had painted the horizon a thousand different colours.
And this is going to be life as we now know it for the forseeable.
I can’t wait.