Galle…the last stop in Sri Lanka

Galle Fort, Sri LankaAfter Tangalla we headed over to Galle on the southern coast of the island. The city is divided into the new and the old fort area and I planned on staying in the old fort.

Galle Fort, Sri Lanka

Roof tops of Galle Fort

The Portuguese first arrived here in 1505 and started to build fortifications but by 1640 the Dutch had taken the port and started to build in earnest.  After the fort was constructed in the 17th century it became the main port for 200 years and its seafaring heritage is evident everywhere from public squares to the National Maritime Museum.

Inside the massive walls 400 homes, mosques, churches and business are located on narrow streets and alleyways. The most charming of the homes date from the Dutch Colonial period and the oldest church is also a 17th century Dutch Reformed.

Galle Fort, Sri Lanka

The streets of Galle Fort

I would spend my mornings walking the narrow streets taking photos and talking with the local men hanging around on the streets after morning prayers at the Mosque. Although Sri Lanka is primarily a Buddhist country almost all the residents inside the fort are Muslim. Everyone wanted to know where I was from and when I would tell them the US they would light up and engage me in a lengthy conversation.  I never felt any anti-American bias while in Sri Lanka.

Galle Fort, Sri LankaThe city is surrounded on three sides by the sea which makes an evening walk on the ramparts that surround the city a delight.  Sunrises and sunsets are perfect times to meander along the walls watching the locals who gravitate to the paths to either jog or stroll and mingle. One evening an impromptu local band had set up at the lighthouse and it was a fun evening to hang out and watch the sunset.

Galle Fort, Sri Lanka

the view from the fort ramparts.

Sri Lanka is just now starting to recover its tourist business. The civil wars and the 2004 tsunami devastated the area. When the tsunami hit the coast the fort split the surging waters which then merged on the land side wiping out whole sections of the new town and killing 2,500 people. The old town had only minor flooding.

Of all the places I visited in Sri Lanka this was my favorite.  It had the feel of a little village but offered good restaurants, cafes for my morning Latte and easy access to the sea. I would recommend it to anyone coming to the island.

Galle Fort, Sri Lanka

Shop keeper on the street one morning

I took the train from Galle back up to Colombo and it was quite the trip. There were no first class trains on this line so I bought a ticket in the non-AC second class car. The seats are first come first serve which makes for a stampede when the train pulls in….no one wants to stand for the 3 hour trip.  I managed to score a window seat and enough rack space for my luggage so even though it was hot it was bearable.

Galle Fort, Sri Lanka

Old Dutch Church

The train runs along the coast road and offers three hours of beautiful scenery.  Once I landed in the Colombo station it was hell. Thousands of people pushing to get on trains, blocking exits, filling the platforms, hanging on the sides of cars ….what I imagined it to be like in India! Hideous!

The tuk tuk and taxi drivers swarm you as soon as you leave the station and it is impossible to make sense of it. All one knows is that they are going to get screwed…it is just a matter of how bad. Due to traffic it took 1 ½ hours to get to the airport in a tuk tuk for our flight to Amman, Jordan. I needed a drink in the worst way by the time we arrived. Only one problem…no cocktail lounges. They don’t serve liquor at the airport…who ever heard of such a thing.

On to Amman…quick.

About Larry Bosco

In 2010 I had one of those “Is this all there is” moments and so in January 2011 I retired from Real Estate Appraising, sold off all my worldly goods and headed out as a solo traveler in search of a new place to live. Since then I’ve traveled around the world, made new friends and had many great adventures and some not so great. After staying almost a year in Cuenca, Ecuador I have headed back to South East Asia where I began the journey in 2011. Currently I am living in Chiang Mai, Thailand
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4 Responses to Galle…the last stop in Sri Lanka

  1. Gordie cleland says:

    Fantastic pictures and written perspective once again Larry, we so enjoy seeing your travels.

  2. martha miller says:

    I’v had so many of those moments like you had. I’v never had the nerve to take off physcially but I enjoy documentries and blogs like yours. Thanks

  3. Galle sounds charming! what a great little place to relax and soak in the sights. Interesting history. It looks like the old town designed well and has probably held off many ocean disasters because of the way it was built. I did not know that there were any airports in the the world that did not have liquor! Hope you made it to Amman!

  4. Gene says:

    Thank you once again for the insight into far away lands. We head to Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and return to northern Thailand in just a few days. We return March 12. Sorry we will miss seeing you. Stay safe in Amman. Look forward to the next epilogue.

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