Not many of our readers know that we tried to go to Sri Lanka several months ago. We, unfortunately, missed that flight due to a simple mix up between am and pm on the alarm clock. However, intrepid travelers that we are, we refused to give up and booked another flight from Abu Dhabi to Colombo. This one left at a time of day that did not require an alarm and we arrived at the airport with plenty of time to spare.
The Sri Lankan Airlines flight departed Abu Dhabi on time, and we flew through the night en route to Colombo. Undeterred by the 4:30am arrival time, we breezed through immigration and met our driver outside customs. Our final destination was Galle, which is only about 150 kilometers south of Colombo, but due to horrendous traffic the trip has been known to take several hours. After a brief stop for refreshments, my darling companion fell asleep as I watched the city of Colombo wake up and hit the streets. It was a full two hours before we arrived at the Southern Expressway, but Galle was only an hour away at this point, so I began to relax.
The Sri Lankan countryside is gorgeous, with rubber plantations lining the highway and misty blue skies above. Religious shrines dedicated to several different faiths are abundant, and tiny communities spring up amid the green. Rice paddies occupy the land that the rubber trees don’t, and families were knee deep in the mud, planting their food. I could have gazed at that pastoral scenery all day.
Before I knew it, the Indian Ocean was straight ahead, and a few moments later we were deposited at our home for the weekend, the Thaproban Beach House. After a quick check in, we were shown to our second floor room. Overnight flights and I have never gotten on too well, so I collapsed onto the soft bed and slept for several hours. When I woke up, we ventured down to the open air lobby bar of the hotel and ordered beers and something to eat. A wonderful rainstorm decided to pay us a visit at that moment, and with a cold beer and a delicious Sri Lankan curry in front of me, I couldn’t have been happier.
The rainstorm passed almost as quickly as it had come, so we took a stroll down the beach in the fading light. Bars and restaurants line the waterfront, most with oceanside seating under big, beautiful trees. We decided on the Happy Banana for our second round of drinks, and lingered there for the rest of the evening, enjoying the ocean breezes and the people-watching. A quick walk down the street opposite the beach led us back to our hotel and more much-needed sleep.
The following morning, we awoke and decided to partake of the Thaproban Beach House’s included breakfast. I was delighted to be presented with a menu, as opposed to the standard buffet fare. I tried the Sri Lankan omelette and fried ham, both of which were delicious, as was the fresh juice. We lingered over our coffee then decided to explore the area.
As often happens, at least in my case, we wandered down the road, and ended up sipping a cold beer a few minutes later while gazing at the gorgeous blue ocean. We shifted gears toward a couple of beach loungers, then took a dip in the warm water. A few more beers and a nap later, we were ready for the sunset and a great dinner.
We chose the Kingfisher Unawatuna on the recommendation of our hotel, and made the short walk to the restaurant. We sat at a table in the sand and ordered tropical drinks as darkness fell. Unfortunately, our meal was less than stellar, but the servers and the manager did all that they could to make up for the errors. We rounded out the evening with a return trip to the Happy Banana for cocktails on the beach.
Unfortunately, as is the usual, our weekend was over much too quickly. Shortly after breakfast the following morning we piled into a van for the trip back to Colombo and the airport. However, Sri Lanka bewitched me, and we are definitely planning a return trip next year, when we can devote much more time to exploring this beautiful island!