Sri Lanka
Mawella Kalapuwa

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    • Day 127

      Sri Lanka, Doha and Copenhagen

      August 25 in Sri Lanka ⋅ 🌬 31 °C

      After leaving Yala in a taxi with a flat tire, we arrived at our tranquil hotel over-looking a lagoon on the south coast, aptly named Simply Peace! Well that was until our kids arrived! We hired some scooters and day tripped around, it was really nice to have our own wheels! At times we have felt restricted relying on taxis and Mitch and I have become pretty adept scooter riders during this trip! We enjoyed the day visiting an impressive blow-hole, which was hard to drag ourselves away from. I reckon we could have stayed all day waiting for the the next big one to spurt out, despite the heat!! But, we had beaches to visit, so with difficulty we dragged ourselves away. By pure chance, we had stumbled upon a lovely part of the south coast near Tangalle with palm fringed beaches and only little boutique hotels/restaurants. This good fortune was further highlighted to us on our next journey to Galle, as the coastal stretch that we traveled along (and nearly stayed at) was so built up with countless resort hotels that you could no longer see the sea from the road. This was a very different side to Sri Lanka, with a far more developed and western feel to it!

      We stayed in Galle Fort for 2 nights in an old colonial house, which we all really loved. We explored the small and brilliantly preserved Dutch Fort, with its laid back local vibe and we all took a real shine to it. Every evening all the locals would come out to the green nestled in the ramparts, to fly kites and play cricket.

      Last stop Colombo. We only bothered with a small amount of sightseeing while here as it was scorching hot and we had an infinity rooftop pool! But what we managed to see we liked. We were also lucky to go on a Sunday so the city was at its quietest and was pretty easy to tuk-tuk from place to place.

      We have loved our short time in Sri Lanka, it is a beautiful country and while
      travelling here it’s easy to forget it’s recent terrible and devastating history. A civil war which lasted on and off for over 30 years, in 2009 it all came to an end in an extremely controversial and bloody fashion. The Boxing Day tsunami in 2004 which claimed over 30,000 Sri Lankan lives and on Easter Sunday in 2019 when they suffered multiple, ISIS suicide bomb attacks. Then Covid (!!!) and unfortunately, as Sri Lanka relies so heavily on tourism, the impact is severe. The loss and suffering is unimaginable, and at the helm of a tortured country has been an extremely corrupt government, taking all that was left, squandering any aid received and finally helping to cause a financial crisis!

      The people though seem so proud of their country, shouting ‘Sri Lanka’ as we pass and confirming with us everywhere we go how beautiful their country is. It’s so culturally rich, with fantastical historical stories, boasting century old temples, carved in to caves and built upon rocks. Their natural world (like everywhere) is suffering, but still remains diverse and wild in places, often respected and cared for. We have seen an abundance of animals and beautiful birds, peacocks have been a bit hit with the kids. We’ve sat out watching fireflies dotted around palm trees as huge fruit bats fly over looking for food. One night while enjoying a beer we witnessed well over 20 Hornbills coming into roost just next to our hotel swimming pool.
      I hope one day soon this fractured land finds it’s peace and starts to have some better luck.

      So that was it our Asian adventure was coming to an end, but we still had two last counties to stop at!!! Qatar, where we had a two night stop over in Doha, staying with some lovely friends of Mitch’s. On arrival we walked outside to and were hit by 42 degrees heat, Freda moaned that her eye balls were burning, which wasn’t too far from the truth, we couldn’t be outside in the day for more than 5 mins!!! It’s like no place I’ve ever been, I admire peoples ability to adapt and live here, I couldn’t do it.
      We used our one day to take a trip around some of the museums, the Qatar National Museum was really interesting and great for the kids. We took a walk through this small country’s history of pearl diving, international seatrade to hitting the jackpot with oil and gas.

      The last stop, less than 24 hours in Copenhagen! We thought as a final treat we would take the kids to Tivoli Gardens. Set right in the heart of Copenhagen lies the world’s second-oldest amusement park. It was a good idea on paper, but in hindsight after a 5am start to catch a 6 hour flight, Otto was not in the best place! His behaviour got so bad that we nearly called it a day as we queued at the Parks entrance. But poor Freda was so excited we braved it, resisting the urge to push him off a rollercoaster, but then couldn’t drag them out till nearly 10pm! Way too much stimulation for two tired kids, but hey, it was our last day!!

      This trip has been amazing, but just so I don’t leave you all feeling completely green with envy, let’s not forget travelling with kids brings about a lot of challenges, especially with our beautiful children, where relaxing is a dirty word! With almost zero time to ourselves, I think we are now very ready for a rest!

      So that’s it, back to reality, I’m just signing out as we land in Gatwick! Thanks so much for all of you who have read my ramblings and sent messages, it’s meant a lot. We can’t wait to see you all.
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