What happens when three girls take on Galle? Even if that is for a few hours.
Morning, a Sunday, it is.
Who travels on Sundays, right? That, too, three girls! We do. We absolutely do.
As always, I’m late.
No, don’t get me wrong.
I’m not always late. But for some reason my alarm didn’t ring this morning. However, the most advantageous thing about living in Sri Lanka, is, that, even when you are late, the train arrives later than you.
I didn’t have my brekkie or even the morning tea but I lied to Hansi – our editor, a gorgeous lady, beautiful in and out – I did. Thankfully, Ira, her friend had homemade sandwiches for us to nibble throughout the journey.
We had second class tickets. ‘Finding the correct ticket counter amidst all these people was uber difficult, they directed us from counter to counter. Spent about good 10 minutes till we found the correct counter. It would have been awesome if this was streamlined,’ complains Hansi.
But other than that little pecker, we were all feeling bright as sunshine for this girly day. Our cabin was entirely free almost till Panadura. It was mostly passenger-less throughout the whole journey apart for a family with a bunch of kids doing the usual Sri Lanka trip. ( more about the trips – Sri Lankan way on a latter date)
Colombo to Galle by train was two and a half hours. Along the journey was limitless nothingness: the Indian Ocean, and sandy beaches lined up with trees of the palm family, mostly coconuts. It was beautiful. A treasure, reading hoardings put up on every station displaying their certainty.
Nine in the morning and we arrived in Galle. Finally! The railway schedule at the Galle Station reminds you of a fairy castle in a Disney movie. However, it cannot beat the one put up in Kandy Railway Station. My friend from Pakistan used to say Sinhala letters reminded him of jalebi. And looking at the letters on the wooden board, I couldn’t agree more.
Soon, we are on a tuk tuk to beautiful Unawatuna. Our tuk tuk driver was Ishara, a friendly young fella from the southern coast though his charges were not that friendly to the pocket. Travelling in Galle by tuk tuk means nothing but a fast-draining wallet. Make sure you take the bus to Unawatuna from Galle if you are heading there anytime soon. Galle to Unawatuna costs us Rs. 500 by tuk tuk.
Ishara tells us many things. Unawatuna is a better option than the jungle beach, was, one. Along the way, he complains about how most tourists now use the bus apart from tuk tuking around the place. “They book the hotels from abroad itself and on the site it’s mentioned how much it costs to the place,” Ishara says. ( Good going, Booking.com and Agoda ) All this means, Sri Lanka is finally becoming a backpack destination, or it’s already become with the mushroom growth of budget hotels and hostels. Sigh! We still don’t have enough hostels in the country. “Some of the days, we don’t even make 1000 rupees,” he adds. To believe it or not? Believe, says my heart. Do not, was, mind.
Unawatuna is beautiful. Crystal clear. The waves break by the shore and make a music of its own kind. The guy at Hotel Kingfisher was another friendly chap. “Even the locals mostly ask for rice & curry,” he says. People, we eat rice & curry for three big meals at home. He tells us the prices, now, in the off-season are up to 100$ which go up to 150$ during the season.
Sun Diving Unawatuna
We wanted to checkout Sun Diving Unawatuna and get some idea about what they do. Thankfully for some people from the staff who ogled at us and gave that one look, we couldn’t. Again, catcalling is not fun. It’s sexual harassment. Sexual harassment on women in this country is what makes us stop traveling. It’s what makes us stop going to places alone. Or travel alone after when it is dark. It makes us unsecure, unsafe and vanishes our confidence.
We stopped at the Villa Unawatuna for a drink. It was hot. Very much. Extremely humid. You would want your feet to kiss the softest of the soft sand in Unawatuna beach if it was not that sunny. Villa Unwatuna has rooms, fan-cooled for Rs. 5500 during the off season. A lime juice here is Rs. 400. So is the mixed-fruit?
The street to the Unawatuna from the main road is another mini Galle Fort. Hippie pants, bohemian jewellery and whatnot. On the way back, we stop at the fish market. Not to buy anything, but to take a picture or two.
Fresh Fish @Unawatuna
Unawatuna to Galle Fort Entrance by tuk tuk is Rs.400. To Pedlar’s Inn Café inside the Galle Fort, it costs you another hundred. @PickMe, we believe it’s time you come to Galle.
Pedlar’s Inn Café
The food here in Pedlar’s Inn Café is delicious. Okay-ish for the money spent. The ambience is authentic, aesthetically pleasing. I was more than happy with what I ordered – a dish of grilled prawns – was a larger portion than I expected and came along with a healthy salad and french-fries. Hansi’s was exquisite, too, although her chef’s salad quite didn’t beat my grilled prawns.
Chef’s salad was bits and pieces of everything: chicken, mushroom, avocado, pineapple, olives. You name it. Ira went Italian. The pasta though was not much appealing, mixed with herbs and tasted alright. She also ordered an avocado juice. Food for three of us here cost Rs 4000.
The portion sizes in Pedlar’s Inn are huge, and enough for two. I was quite happy I was the only one finished the whole plate of what each of us ordered. It made me full for long hours until I snacked an unhealthy chicken drumlet back in Colombo.
Later quite was wandering in everyone’s go-to spot, Galle Fort. We didn’t quite go and see the ramparts. Because, how common is that? But if you are a first timer, it’s a place to go.
Inside Galle Fort
We stopped at the church. For some reason, everyone there were eating ice cream. We wanted to check the Dutch museum. But it was under construction and closed down temporarily. So we headed back. Back to Colombo by the highway bus which didn’t even take one and a half hours to Maharagama.
We came back home – ruminating about nothing but only to go back and see the beautiful southern queen, that is, Galle.