by Ishara Naotunna
Do you know what’s embarrassing? Meeting someone from another country (in my case, a Canadian) who’s been in your country for a short time yet can name more of its cities than you can. Yes, this, actually happened to me. And it happened when I decided it was time to take a break in Galle.
I’ve been through some life-changing experiences recently, and the advice I was given most during this time was, “maybe you should take a road trip, clear your head out”. In other words, the whole ‘eat, pray, love’ thing. My interests, however, predominantly revolve around the ‘eat’ part of that equation. So I took the advice, grabbed my bestie, her sister, and her sister’s husband and went down to Galle, where I know the food is good. Yes yes, soul searching and eating with a gang. Plus, ‘down south-ing’ – or heading south of the city – is the “in” thing to do if you’re from Colombo. The southern expressway also helps!
Galle is where my dad grew up for the most part. It’s also where my grandma’s from. I’m connected to this place and it’s therefore familiar to me, but at the same time I rarely visit Galle, so it also feels unknown, and different. The last time I was in Galle was back in 2002. Yes, tragic indeed. My recent excursion made me think, why did it take me so long?
If any of you have been thinking of a city with a great story, culture, people, and food, here are a few reasons why I think you should head to Galle.
1. The Galle Fort. In my next life, or in this one, I would love to own a property here. The old colonial architecture is all Dutch-influenced, so the houses, cafes, etc are all, well, Dutchy. People who own lovely homes within the Fort’s vicinity make a living by renting their neatly kept bedrooms off to backpackers and budget travellers. I stayed in one of these.
2. The food. All I want to do is eat. Anywhere I go. There are a lot of upmarket restaurants in Galle, and you’ll find most of these in hotels or guest houses. If you don’t go to Pedlar’s Inn for breakfast while you’re in Galle and check-in on foursquare, you’re not a part of the in crowd. I’m kidding. Go to Pedlar’s inn, anyway. This is also where I met the initially mentioned Canadian, who made me realize that there are so many places that I need to discover in my own country. The Heritage Café too is a lovely place, and when we visited they had jazz music playing in the background.
3. The shops….even though they don’t really cater to me. I’m speaking exclusively of the Galle Fort shops here. They’re all too cool, too antique-y, too pricey. But if you want to show off some cool artifacts from Sri Lanka, you’ve come to the right place.
4. The beach! We drove off about 5km from Galle to Unawatuna, to a place called the Wijaya beach to be exact. The water brings to mind those awesome wave pools you pay a high price for at an amusement park, except in Unawatuna, it’s extra pretty, natural and FREE! Think blue-green waters, and a scorching sun. Ok, this part I hate. I use a fairness cream for crying out loud, although it seems like light brown is the fairest I’m ever going to be. So I slather on a million grams of sunscreen and off I go! Unawatuna was so much fun, I actually forgot the sun.
Meeting this Canadian while I was clearing my head and taking a break in Galle reminded me that I should get to know my own country a little better. I don’t need to travel too far – there is so much more for me to discover right here in Sri Lanka.
[Via The Localist]