Colombo – the one night wonder

Forgive me fam, it’s been a year since my last post. And it’s not for a lack of wanting, but more for the fact that 2018 was one of the most immense years of my life. Recounting previous travels just fell by the wayside.

But it’s a new year, and I have even more recent escapades to wax lyrical about (I’m sure i’ll finish South America one day).

SRI LANKA – first time visitor, long time wanderluster. Filled with white sandy beaches, fragrant curries, crisp mountain air, and jaw-dropping natural wonders, there wasn’t much that I can say that I didn’t like about this island nation.

And of course, it featured the reunion with my favourite gal, who just so happens to live on the other side of the planet, my dear, sweet Margaret ❤

We begin this tropical crusade in the sweat pit, otherwise known as Colombo, capital city of Sri Lanka.

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I hadn’t heard the greatest things about Colombo. Mainly that it was merely a thoroughfare through to the rest of Sri Lanka. With that in mind, I earmarked a single full day in the capital to tick it off the list, before Margaret arrived the next morning and we headed down to the coast.

I’ve done a lot of travel in my time. And yet, in moments of weakness I can still be swindled like the best of them. Slightly sleep deprived but determined to make the most of my day, I set off in a tuk tuk for the Pettah markets.

Of course, it was Sunday…and a public holiday…and only 8.30am…the early bird is sometimes left twiddling their thumbs.

As I wondered the empty streets in the Forte district, I was approached by a local who seemed to be just up for a chat. And I was determined to keep it that way and not be lured into some day tour that was going to cost me a small fortune.

And then suddenly we’re in another tuk tuk headed to Gangaramaya temple for morning prayer. Oh the irony!

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Gangaramaya is one of the oldest and most important Buddhist temples in Colombo,  defined by its mix of modern architecture and cultural essence.

Unfortunately, the temple has a young elephant, Ganga, chained at the back in poor conditions, unable to walk, which broke my heart and left quite a bad taste in my mouth before I walked in the door.

Internally, its elaborate design leaves you wondering just where to cast your eyes, and its myriad of rooms are filled with artefacts, artwork and even a hair strand of Buddha himself. Oh and a couple of stuffed elephants to boot.

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The hair is there somewhere…

Done with my unwelcome guided tour (for which I of course paid handsomely for, don’t even ask), I took myself through the National History Museum, as well as the Natural History Museum, which are located side by side.

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Understandably, resources to fund the Natural History Museum Colombo may not quite meet that of the one in New York City.

Did anyone else show models at a science fair in school? Cause apparently this is where they show theirs…

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In fact, it’s kinda like a lot of Colombo is warped between somewhere in the 80s and also planning for the distant future.

This central park for example…

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Well and truly sweated to perfection, I headed to Barefoot cafe and gallery space, which was conveniently located right near my hostel (Drift BnB Colombo for those playing at home).

Sunday afternoons at Barefoot feature jazz, froze and one of the most delicious curries I’ve ever tasted – a famous black pork number.

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Barefoot cafe

The evening drew to a close at Galle Face Green, what has become a communal gathering space for families, lovers and friends alike (oh and solo female travellers) to enjoy those final moments of the weekend gone.

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Stalls of kites, toys, balls and all the plastic nick-knacks you could desire line the waterfront, along with food carts and pop-up restaurants of local Sri Lankan delicacies.

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Always keen to get in on a food cart, I selected a few choice options from the vehicle you see below – both variations of seafood on a weird, doughy base, to eat water-side as the sun went down.

Can’t 100% say I’d try again, but life’s too short to wonder just what a cold, bright red, mini shrimp pancake might taste like.

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And then this angel arrived at 4am the next morning and I was the happiest girl that ever did live! Next stop, Talalla!

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