Thursday, 3 November 2016

(Nearly) Private beaches and surfing in Weligama

Weligama (and Colombo): 26 October 2016 - 3rd November 2016

Our last beach stop in Sri Lanka was in the southern town of Weligama. We got a bus from Ella to Weligama, which took around 5 hours, and during which Bob consumed a share packet (so like, 30) of custard creams. We found our way to the Air Bnb, which was beautiful. We had a lovely (albeit warm) room, and were able to cook in the kitchen. We were sharing the space with a Russian woman and her very cheeky 4 year old daughter, and the Sri Lankan Air BnB owner. 

Image may contain: ocean, sky, cloud, beach, outdoor, nature and waterOn the first day we decided to check out the local beach. Our host had given us directions to a beach not far from his house, so we went for a walk there. Following some windy dirt roads and some steep steps, we soon discovered one of the prettiest beaches I've ever seen. It was a small alcove, where the tide hit pretty much right up to the rocks, and with a small section of beach towards the end. There was noone on the beach when we first arrived, which made it even nicer. We had got there at just the right time to see the sunset, which was incredible. All the sunsets we'd seen up until that point didn't seem right. We took the next day to sit on the little beach, have a swim, and soak up some more sun (after being fairly cold in Ella).We also had some tasty Kottu Rotti (a Sri Lankan speciality of fried vegetables and rotti bread sliced up - and which Bob couldn't get enough of).

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Beautiful deserted beach!

We had about a week in Weligama, so we managed to see quite a lot. Another day, we took a walk further away from our house, to the main part of the town. It was a lot more touristy, and we walked along the beach watching the surfers and the brave swimmers who were trying not to get knocked out by the boards. We had dinner (another Kottu Rotti) in the town a couple of times as well. The first time, we got caught in a rain shower whilst waiting for the bus, and the second time I asked for no spice so was given a plain tortilla with plain roast chicken. They're not very good at using no spice in Sri Lanka, as we discovered! 

About halfway through our week, we took a day trip to the nearby town of Galle. It's a popular destination as there's a big fort surrounding the main part of the town, with a huge lighthouse in one of the corners. It offers lovely views of the town, as well as of the sea. We took the bus there from Weligama, and spent the day walking around the fort and looking at the views (as that was all there was to do really). 

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Galle Fort
The most eventful part of the day was when a Sri Lankan man decided to befriend us. He asked us where we were going, and as we were a bit hesitant (as we had no idea), he said there was a nice local market. Apparently, he was on his way there, so could take us. By this point (after India) we felt like most locals only wanted us to buy something from them, or give them some money, but this man was nice and didn't seem threatening so we decided to follow him. He was telling us stories about the markets, as well as about the tsunami that hit the island around 13 years ago. He told us how the town had been affected, how it had been built back up, and how he sadly lost his daughter and her husband in the disaster. When we arrived to the 'market', we found out it was actually a small shop filled with expensive spices, where I guess people get some sort of comission for bringing tourists. There was a picture of an article in The Guardian (from 2010) praising the shop, and a few men ushering tourists into it. We had a look around, butdidn't want to buy anything. Although, I actually looked at some spices and asked the price. They cost about 2gbp but the man wouldn't sell them to me as he said they were bad quality, and tried selling me a packet that cost 4 times the price. Nope. 

On the walk away from the shop, our new, unwanted tour guide told us he wasn't actually going home, but to the hospital, where his grandson was. Apparently his grandson was very ill, and as both parents died in the tsunami, doesn't have any money. He asked us for some money which was very awkward as previously he'd been repeating that he wasn't trying to sell us anything and just wanted to help us. I wasn't 100% sure he was telling the truth about it, but still felt very bad and awkward. We didn't want to deny him the money, but it did feel a lot like he was scamming us. After a lot of umm'ing from us he eventually just left, leaving us feeling like terrible people, but also annoyed that this kept happening.

Anyway, apart from that, Galle was very nice.

One of our last days in the town, we checked out a bar called Tiki Cliff Top Bar, which was recommended on Google and Trip Advisor. It was a bit of a walk to get to, up a pretty steep hill and we did manage to get lost a couple of times. People had said the sunset and view was nice, so we decided to have a look. It was a little bar at the top of a hill, which started to get a bit clubby, but had a nice vibe and nice views. They had food (only one choice), which was chicken, salad and some chips. It was a bit more expensive than usual, but we went for it as the reviews had said it was good. I think we waited for about an hour for the food (as we saw that they had to go out and get more ingredients), but when it came it was so worth the wait! 

Image may contain: 3 people, people smiling, people standing, sky, ocean, outdoor and waterTowards the end of our time in Weligama we were also able to meet up with Sam, a friend we both know from college and who we hadn't seen in about 5 years. He was there on a surfing trip, and helped us get surfing lessons from someone he knew, which was fun! Bob was pretty good at it, and I enjoyed it but didn't really manage to get up on the board. I'm pretty sure I inhaled most of the sea as well. We had a nice day with Sam surfing, and getting some lunch. Afterwards we went back to his hostel with some beers (from the licensed liquor shop, as they're pretty strict on alcohol rules), and chatted for ages, about everything. It was nice to see him, even if it was for a short while as we were off to Colombo the next day. 


Colombo was our final stop in Sri Lanka, as we were flying to Bali from the airport there. I haven't written a full blog post about the city, as to be honest we didn't spend a lot of time there, and due to me getting very ill, we didn't do a lot. 

The bus trip from Weligama was pretty dire - mainly because we were pretty hungover from the previous night with sam (we only had beer, but as we hadn't drunk anything in about 2 months it hit us pretty hard). We were thankful to get to Colombo and find the place we booked was lovely. It was very comfortable, and the man who ran the hostel was really kind. We decided to treat ourselves to Indian takeaway on the first night, and then pizza the next. The first full day we had we didn't do a lot, as the neighbourhood we were in wasn't very lively. We took a walk to post some parcels, grabbed some food to make lunch, and went back home. 

Halfway through our 3 days in Colombo I started to feel very ill. I won't go into all the details, as even thinking about it makes me feel ill again, but as we found out a week or so later, I had a bad bought of traveller's sickness. I was pretty much either confined to the toilet or doubling over in pain for the next 4 days. This wasn't the best timing, as we were taking 2 flights to Bali (stopover in Kuala Lumpur). I didn't think I'd make the flights at one point, but with sheer determination and the help of my lovely boyfriend (who probably suffered more than I did), we managed to get to Bali. 

So that's how Sri Lanka ended. It was such a lovely place to visit, especially after the madness of India, and had everything you could want from a country: incredible mountain views, sandy and beautiful beaches, and huge tea plantations. The added bonus was you could see most of it comfortably in a month!! 

Ciao, Sarah x

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