I started the year with a family holiday in Sri Lanka. I had never been to Sri Lanka, but had always wanted to go. First stop was a few days at the seaside to just relax.
It got off to a bad start, with a flasher unfortunately interrupting my peaceful walk on the beach. After running back to my hotel, I caught my breath and spoke to the manager. Apparently “boys” are a bit troublesome at the beach for women on their own, unfortunately it seems Sri Lankan men aren’t far from their Indian counterparts at all. Of course I wasn’t going to let one idiot ruin my holiday, but it did mean I couldn’t take long, leisurely walks along the beach.
We headed to Galle for a day, which is a gorgeous seaside town in Southern Sri Lanka. It is surrounded by an old Fort which is a pleasant place to wander along. I had almost forgotten how sparkling clear and blue the sea could be.
Galle Fort looks out onto a cricket ground that my Father tells me is famous for hosting international games. It looked positively tiny to me in comparison to the MCG. The locals told us that the ground was actually quite severely damaged in Tsunami that hit Sri Lanka in 2004 and was repaired by Australia’s own Shane Warne.
What I loved the most about Galle was just wondering through it’s streets, which still had a heavy European influence from the Dutch. With lots of shops with local crafts, it felt a bit like a cross between Kochi and Pondicherry to me, albeit with less honking and rubbish.
Further up the coast towards Colombo are some small towns that were washed out in the Tsunami and have been repairing themselves. As you drive along the coast you can see many abandoned water-damaged houses and others that have been newly built. The impact of the Tsunami is still obvious, but Sri Lanka seems to have recovered well and the development is obvious.
One industry that was sadly destroyed and has to rebuild itself are the turtle hatching farms that line the coast. Most are volunteer organisations, that aim to protect turtle eggs from predators and then release these cute little babies into the sea. Eggs are collected each evening and buried in a safe space, where they have a gestation of about 45 days. When they hatch they are kept for a couple of days before being released into the ocean.
Thankfully, the passionate locals have rebuilt the farms that were washed away, and the turtles are now safe again. This albino one lives at the Kosgoda farm we visited. He is too rare to send out into the wild.
It was a cruisey lifestyle by the seaside in Sri Lanka, a perfect way to start a holiday.