On the road to Galle

Galle Travel Blog

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Having some fun!

Galle is a city on the southwest coast of Sri Lanka which is home to another UNESCO world heritage site, the Dutch Fort.  Built by the Dutch back in 1600s after they uprooted the Portuguese from the area and for that matter from the rest of the island.  The road to Galle comes south from Colombo, which is a well travelled route along the western coast, and to Galle along the southern coast through Matara, Weligama and Mirissa.  On this particular trip, we were returning from Udawalawe and Bundalla, so we took the southern route to Galle. 

 

The southern coast when compared to the western coast, to me at least, seems less touristy (for now) and more beautiful.

Stilt Fisherman
  As you drive you see little fish stalls, old wooden catamarans moored to the beach, small little islands just off the coast covered in palm trees and sometimes little temples.  At low tide sometimes you can even walk to these islands, including the resort island of Taprobane, a luxury resort villa once owned a French Count.

 

As with any trip to different parts of Sri Lanka, we visit family along the way.  In Matara, we visited one of my Dad’s cousins.  Now usually I would sit like good son quietly and smile after my 2 minute family introduction/conversation was over, while everyone reminisces about the past, but lucky for me this time attached to the house was a Montessori. As soon as I got out of the van kids ran up to us with big smiles on their faces wanting to play.  So I grabbed my camera and started taking tons of pictures of them.

Dutch Reform Church. Name written in English, Sinhala, Tamil and Dutch.
They really hammed it up for the camera, each of them saying Uncle take a picture of me, of me, of ME!  Very cute, I had to oblige.  I got some great photos that day, some of which I attached.  I definitely plan to send copies to all the kids once I return back home, I’m sure they will love them.  As always, I think the best part of photography people, especially kids, is the looks you see on their faces as you show them their pictures, they are always full of smiles and laughter.  Very cute J.

 

After an hour or so at our relatives, we were off again on the road to Galle, on our way back home to Colombo.

Inside the Dutch Fort
The highlight of any trip along the southern route to Galle has to be the stilt fisherman who fish the waters in and around Weligama.  The seas near the coast here are deep, so over probably hundreds of years the local fisherman have developed a technique of climbing high above the water on stilts to fish with bamboo fishing rods.  These fisherman are a considered a symbol of Sri Lanka and you can find them on many postcards.  Next time I’m here, I hope to come back around dusk to catch all the fisherman in the sea, with the sun setting behind them.   If you check out images on the net, you’ll understand how beautiful a sight this is to see.

 

Finally we arrived at the Dutch Fort in Galle.  I always enjoy coming to visit here as it reminds me a bit of Europe within the fort.  As I mentioned the Dutch built this fort in 1663 at the Port of Galle.

Along the ramparts. Lovers in the distance ;)
  Galle itself has been an important port for 1000s of years as it lies along ancient trade routes between he the Middle East and the Orient.  My trusty Lonely Planet also tells me that it is believed to be the biblical Tarshish, where King Solomon got gems, spices and peacocks. 

 

The fort itself juts out along Galle Harbour on a peninsula and is surrounded by ramparts that drop down to the sea. Within the walls of the Fort are many old Dutch building and churches, even the names of the streets still have their original Dutch names. People still live and work here as they did when the fort was built, but you do find many tourist and museums within. There are also many old churches here, one was especially interesting one, the Dutch Reformed Church, has remains of old Dutch and British colonizers buried beneath the floor of the church.

 

The Fort is also famous to local couples who come to walk along the fort walls and watch the sunset ;).

Buddhist Stupa with what looks like a Japanese Tori Gate in Front. Church in the distance.
  We saw many of these couples on our visit, most with big umbrellas to give some privacy from photographers like me to their make-out sessions!

 

After Galle, we continued up the aptly named “Galle Road” back to Colombo.  Of course we stopped a few times along the way back to visit family and to visit my mother’s ancestral home along the coast in Beruwela.  Visiting there definitely had an impact on me, but I’ll save that story for another entry :)

 

I have to make note of how much the Tsunami affect the southern coast of Sri Lanka.  Throughout the drive I was shown damaged buildings, knocked down tress and basically where things used to be.

At sunset on the beach
  Very sobering to see all of it, especially knowing how many people unfortunately died that day (estimated at 11,000 in the southwest around Galle and Matara).  Galle itself suffered a lot of damage, wiping out the local bus station and international cricket grounds.  Although all this destruction happened, I was glad to see everything looked like it was getting back to normal.  Houses, stations and even the cricket grounds have now all been rebuilt.  I guess like anything, time helps bring things back to normal.

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Having some fun!
Having some fun!
Stilt Fisherman
Stilt Fisherman
Dutch Reform Church.  Name written…
Dutch Reform Church. Name writte…
Inside the Dutch Fort
Inside the Dutch Fort
Along the ramparts.  Lovers in the…
Along the ramparts. Lovers in th…
Buddhist Stupa with what looks lik…
Buddhist Stupa with what looks li…
At sunset on the beach
At sunset on the beach
School kids and their teacher
School kids and their teacher
Galle
photo by: tj1777