This is one thing that i always wanted to do – write about the places that i visit. With this I start my travel blog posts of all the places that i see.
I will be honest, i haven’t traveled a lot in many years, but now, after my marriage and having my husband who loves to travel, I get this opportunity to write, specially visit, all the wonderful places on this planet.
Our first trip together – honeymoon trip – we decided to go Srilanka. All thanks to my husband, the itenary was so well planned that I never felt any pain in traveling to a new country.
Srilanka – An tiny tear drop shaped island country in South Asia, located about 31 kilometres (19.3 mi) off the southern coast of India, in the Indian Ocean is a must see places in the world.
One travelogue said “In Sri Lanka, every sight, sound and smell will engulf you with new experiences” – trust me this is totally true.
We began our journey on 23rd February 2010 for a week long vacation in Srilanka.
Since this was my first international trip, i was totally excited when we landed in Srilankan airport. Our first enounter to the natives 🙂 was with our driver Reynold, who would accompany us throughout the journey and show us around.
me @ kitulgala
Kitulgala – 23rd Feb 2010 To 24th Feb 2010:
23rd and 24th Feb: The day we landed in Srilanka, we started our journey towards Kitulgala. Kitulgala is a small town, in the West side of the country, is one of the wettest palces.
Beautiful scenery, river by the side of the road, white water rafting, bird watching are a few things that you can look forward to when you visit this place.
More than anything, what i loved the most of Kitulaga is that i could sit by The Kaleni River and find my peace that i was searching for. No pollution no sound of traffic and all i could hear was birds chirping and river flowing. We stayed at Plantation Hotel which is situated on the river bed.
Nuwara Eliya – 24th Feb 2010 To 26th Feb 2010:
24th Feb: Around noon we checked out of the hotel in Kitulgala and travelled more interior to a hill station called as Nuwara Eliya. Nuwara Eliya at 1868m has a mesmering landscape with breath taking views of valleys peaks and meadows. This place is so green with tea plantation and meadows that you will never get bored of it.
We stopped by at St. Clair’s Tea Shop near the St. Clair’s Waterfall. I must say this tea bar is one of the best places I’ve ever been. I do not say this for the tea they served but for the style it was served. The open air tea shop with benches facing the beautiful St. Clairs waterfalls and the green meadows and sipping on hot Green tea is what any stressed IT professional asks for. We bought few KGs of Tea as soveniers to take back home and we headed towards Nuwara Eliya.
We reached Nuwara Eliya around evening, we checked into The Grand Hotel – that depicts an excellent example of a mansion from the Old English era. It felt like as if we have gone back in time in England. The ancient heritage and history is well preserved here at the Grand.
Whats best for a traveler – is to find the food that you love from your country – thats what we found an Indian restaurant that served idli vada sambhar and veg biryani. Umm Yummm!!! We had a sumptuous dinner (with my embarrassing loud voice asking for food to be served early :)) and we hit the bed as we were so tired of traveling for 5 hours continuous from Kitulgala.
25th Feb: We visited a Tea factory – where we saw tea being processed – from plucking of the tea leaves till packing of different types of tea (BOP, BOPF etc). It was a nice experience to see how tea gets processed. Beautiful Tea estates with greenery around is just a pleasure to the eye.
After the Tea factory, we visited a strawberry farm (with a cafe attached) situated in one of the meadows in Nuwara Eliya. Oh gosh, i seriously have no words to describe the scenic beauty we saw while sitting in the cafe and eating fresh strawberries. So beautiful so mesmerising and so picture perfect that one has to experience at least once. This cafe was in between a flower garden in a meadow with a peak rising high in the air with clouds circling around it. Ahhhh !!!
Since it was getting colder and getting late we decided to go back to our hotel. But we made a quick stop at a Ram Mandir. Even this temple was so serene with Lord Ram and Sita statutes that just gave me instant peace.
We reached the hotel around evening and met a French Couple, had a few drinks and dinner with them and spent our last night at the hill station just perfectly. 🙂
26th Feb: We started our day by having a nice breakfast and set our minds for a LONNGGG journey to the south most part of Srilanka – Unawatuna.
Unawatuna – 26th February 2010 To 1st March 2010:
26th Feb: I was thrilled and excited about going to Unawatuna from the beginning as i love the beach side and water. This beach has been acclaimed amongst 12 best beaches in the world with beautiful golden sand shores.
While Unawatuna suffered heavily in the Tsunami of 2004 it was rebuilt quickly and the hotels and guesthouses are open again for all travelers in search of an uncrowded, authentic Sri Lankan beach resort.
Trust me, Unawatuna is one place that will never disappoint you – it is so beautiful and nice that you would not feel like leaving this and going back to your country. The journey from Nuwara Eliya was very tiresome but once we reached Matara – which is an hour from Unawatuna, our spirits were back looking at the ocean. From Matara to Unawatuna, the journey was along the coast line and the ocean looked so beautiful and inviting. Our cab driver, Reynold, stopped in one of the best spots and we couldn’t stop ourselves to go towards the ocean.
The scare of Tsunami being still on our minds (no matter we dint face it in inland India), Reynold told us once we were back in the cab that the beach where we stood was the first place Tsunami hit the west coast and trust me we were literally white with fear – 30feet high destroying property people and everything that came in its way. Phew !! scarryy…
Seeing the houses destroyed along the coast was a different feeling all together.. At around dinner time we reached the beach resort called as Thambapani Taproban which was just perfect. This beach resort was the best place i could ever be. Having a candle-lit dinner with my husband, by the beach side is all i could ask for… 🙂 We hit the sack after a long journey and promised each other that we would be up early in the morning to catch the sunrise.
27th Feb: I kept my promise ( 🙂 my lazy husband got up late !!). Catching a sun rise on a beach side should be one of the things that you shouldn’t miss no matter how many times you visit a coast. Once my husband was awake, we ate a nice breakfast and hit the ocean. Oh!, water specially ocean/sea can be so intriguing, that one must experience himself/herself. We spent a good load of time in the ocean, had a sumptuous lunch at the resort and hit a beach party in the evening. Nice music, lovey breeze by the sea side, excellent time with my husband, is what i always wanted and i was fortunate enough to get it in Unawatuna.
28th Feb: We lazed around till afternoon, then we planned to check out Hikkaduwa – another neighboring town to Unawatuna – and have lunch at Amaya Reef. Ahh such a lovely hotel, by the beach side, just perfect for a sunday lunch.
Once we finished lunch, we headed back to Galle to see the Galle Fort. Galle fort was built first by the Portuguese, then modified by the Dutch during the 17th century. There exists an entire community (so to say a city of it own) inside this amazing fort, that would require at least one hour to see the entire fort. The houses in the fort are maintained just like it was in 17th century, beautiful and magnificent.
Our cab driver, Reynold, told us that the property in the Galle fort is more costly than any place near-by 🙂 Phew!! He also mentioned that this fort withstood the Tsunami that hit Srilanka – meaning just ankle length water was found inside the fort whereas, the other parts of the city was totally destroyed…! “Modern Wonder of the world” is what i get in mind when i think about Galle Fort, Tsunami and heritage. We reached our resort by evening. We had a French couple (another set of friends that we made in Nuwara Eliya) come over to our resort, spent our last “romantic” evening by the beach side…
Colombo – 1st March 2010 – 2nd March 2010:
1st March: We checked out from the resort at around 11AM, and left straight for Colombo.
We had lunch at a famous hotel in Mount Lavinia called the Mount Lavinia Hotel, which has a history of its own.
The city’s name is built up around the original residence of Sir Thomas Maitland who was the Governor General of Ceylon from 1805-1811. At a welcoming party held in his honour on his arrival in the island he set his eyes upon Lovina, a local mestizo dancer, whose father was the Headman of the troupe. Sir Thomas was smitten by her smile and charms and soon found himself obsessed by her and took every measure possible to see more of her. As it was highly unconventional for an unmarried British Officer to be seen associating with a local dancing girl, Sir Thomas and his lover met in secret. Legend says she was smuggled into his mansion through a secret tunnel that led from her father’s well into a wine cellar in the house. In 1811, social convention and duty to his King, led Sir Thomas Maitland to ultimately leave the country for Malta, where he lived and died as a bachelor. The tunnel was eventually sealed up in 1920 and the Gypsy village that surrounded the Governor’s mansion developed into a modern bustling city that took its name from the beautiful Lovina. But the Governor’s home which he named “Mount Lavinia House” and his monument to his only love has been preserved within the walls and high ceilings of what is today the world famous Mount Lavinia Hotel. The statue of ‘Lady’ Lavinia, as the girl later became known, is still found in the middle of a water fountain at the entrance of the Mount Lavinia Hotel.
Pls do take this advice, if you plan to shop in the city (no matter which country you choose to visit), pls make sure you have more than 2 days spared for that. Thats what happened to us, we had planned to do some souvenirs shopping in Colombo but since we left for Colombo by noon on 1st March, by the time we started shopping was late and totally tiresome. Just happened to grab something and then head back to a Transit hotel where we spent our last night of our trip.
One more tip to the travelers – whenever you choose a transit hotel, please make sure it is a good one as we had a nightmare.
2nd March: We boarded the flight back to Bangalore India at 7:45 AM.
Felt really good to be back home, landed in Bangalore on 2nd March, reached home around noon after beating heavy traffic… 🙂
One needs to visit Srilanka to see all the nice places, since we just covered the central and south western province, we plan to cover the north east (Kandy, Dambula Caves) in our next visit …!!! 🙂
TIP: A must see place: main attraction – tea estates, beach.