My plan for the day was to drive west from Weligama to Hikkaduwa on the south-west coast. This meant passing so close to the coastal town of Galle (also known as Galle Fort) that it would be silly not to stop in and look around.
Galle has, at various times, been colonised by the Portuguese, the Dutch and the British and this shows. A Dutch reformed church and a large fort are focal points of the town, surrounded by a warren of narrow, cobbled streets. It also seems to have a thing for clock towers.
Galle was one of the Sri Lankan towns hardest hit by the tsunami in 2004 and it took a long time to get back on its feet, so it was lovely to see a town fair in progress and, on the immaculately-kept pitch next door, even a cricket match!
After a picturesque but sweaty stroll around Galle Fort, I continued my journey to Hikkaduwa. A linear settlement, Hikkaduwa is bordered to the east by the railway line and to the west by the beach. Not wanting to walk along the railway tracks as I had in Ella, I decided to wander up the beach. This proved an excellent choice.
You may notice that I have a thing for sunsets by now, but you’ll have to indulge me. This one was a cracker.
Still mesmerized by the setting sun, I wandered around a rocky outcrop and was immediately shaken from my reverie. There, in the shallow waters, was a gargantuan sea-turtle being petted by some equally large Chinese tourists.
The turtle whom, for the sake of familiarity, we will call Leonardo, seemed unperturbed by the attention and drifted around nonchalantly before deciding enough was enough and, with a few strong movements of his flippers (is that what they’re called?) glided out to sea. My eyes followed his progress only to find that the sunset had got even more beautiful.
Dinner was a cheap and cheerful kottu, breakfast was copious and then, via a brief lunch in Colombo, I was back to the airport and it was farewell Sri Lanka and namaste again India. It had been a blast.