Afternoon tea in Galle … and quite a journey

Saturday 31st March 2018

Steve ventured out early on his first ‘Sri Lanka’ run – an interesting few miles! Followed by a leisurely morning at our hotel – so relaxing here. Beautiful bird life including kingfishers and egrets, and the most stunning butterflies. We even have cheeky iguanas come to visit – we were impressed until Caroline sent us a picture of the monitor lizard at her hotel on the beach.

We’d arranged to meet up for afternoon tea with Anne, Linda, Caroline and the boys, at the Amangalla hotel in Galle, a 17th century colonial-style building, within the walls of Galle Fort.

We’d discovered that we had a train station in our village and that 3 trains stopped there each day going to Galle. So this was to be today’s adventure … exploring some more of the area’s local transport. We purchased our tickets at the great expense of 10 pence each and sat on the platform in the blistering heat, waiting for the train to arrive. And it arrived on time … we climbed on board, found a seat by a fully open window, and off we went. A fabulous journey, a little hot at times, passed through some interesting villages, waved to lots of children – slow but efficient.

Caught a tuk tuk from the station to the hotel and met up with ‘the gang’ in the most exquisite of settings – a very special place to have afternoon tea, so proper. Unfortunately it was a Poya Day (full moon) and so in Buddhist tradition no alcohol can be served. So much for that chilled glass of champagne with our feast! But the sandwiches, pastries, cakes and scones were scrumptious and were tucked into eagerly along with lashings of earl grey/Ceylon/English breakfast tea. Nathan and Steve won the prize of finishing their whole serving …. the rest of us more ‘delicate’ eaters had to admit to being full.

Feeling replete, we headed off to look around Galle with its beautiful architecture and interesting shops. We resisted too much retail therapy and made our way down to the walls of the fort and the waterfront … it was extremely busy with Sri Lankans celebrating Poya Day. And of course the old snake charmers were around. Very special to catch the sunset too.

And in true colonial style we stopped for a couple of G&Ts – having been drawn in by the sound of piano playing at one of the many bars.

Anne, Caroline and Linda had booked tuk tuks for their return journey so we said our goodbyes … now, how should we journey back!? Oh no, nothing straightforward for us! We decided to walk to the bus station and then take our chances from there. For anyone that has seen the buses here, you will know it’s a bit of a bone rattler … and a speedy one at that. It took a while to find a bus going our way, in fact when we boarded we still weren’t 100% sure it was. Well, what an experience! It was party-land with a TV up by the driver blaring out a concoction of Bollywood and reggae music. And at the bus stops, vendors got on selling snacks and drinks – it was bizarre. The bus was packed to the hilt – we were the only ‘white faces’ on board. And boy did we travel at speed – the buses seem to be king of the road here, overtaking and beeping like they’re in charge – regardless of what’s coming the other way. I was clinging on with both hands most of the way … but we arrived at our stop in one piece. We dived into the nearest hotel – The Serenade Beach Hotel – which was completely devoid of guests and met the lovely Sunil who was able to rustle up a couple of beers for us. Then we took a more sedate tuk tuk down the local lanes to the peace and serenity of our hotel.

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