As we walked out of the airport we were greeted by the beaming sun and the rush of hot air to our weary limbs. We are ‘badgers on a budget’ so opted to take a tuk tuk to nearby Negombo. With the backpacks safely inside and the the wind in our hair we were in Sri Lanka! Negombo is a peaceful little town, the perfect place for us to settle into Sri Lankan life. After a delicious vegetable curry which included lentils, chilli and okra we chilled out watching the locals swimming.
Next stop was the bustling town of Colombo. Our friendly tuk tuk driver took us to his house for a pit stop which entertained us greatly. Craving a beach and with Colombo’s bus station offering us lots of opportunities we settled on going to Induruwa. Sri Lanka is fantastic for easy travelling, buses go frequently and to everywhere. Two hours later we were dropped in Induruwa. I realised at this point that a little yelp to ask the driver to stop doesn’t mean they stop as we ended up a good km down from Long Beach Cottage, cue a slow walk with far too heavy back packs (my dream to pack lightly failed).
Long Beach Cottage was peaceful and had a beautiful garden filled with Frangipanis on the pathway. Within a few steps you were out on the beach. There we were, two happy gals lying on the sand soaking up the rays.
Hikkaduwa has the contrast of a long coastline mixed with the hustle and bustle of the busy Galle Road running right through it. You have to be on your guard constantly to traffic when walking along it. We stayed at Richard’s Son which was lovely. The room was cosy and super clean, the owner was always busily working away making sure the place was spick and span. He made it a real pleasure to stay there with his friendly smile and a wave every time we went back and forth. Hikkaduwa was my first surf in the Indian ocean. For £5 I rented a mini-mal for the day. Unfortunately I only got one surf under my belt as the winds picked up so much in the afternoon I couldn’t go in again. It felt so good to be back in a bikini paddling out to sea (albeit I forgot that sun cream and a surfboard are not a good combination for staying on your board). I felt happy as ever catching a few waves and working my arms again. The Monsoon rain well and truly fell in Hikkaduwa. The only thing to do was sit and watch from our veranda and potter about in our rain macs. Being soggy but in 30+ degrees is nothing to complain about really.
Unawatuna is where we are now. We’ve been in this bit of paradise for four days and have truly loved the laid back vibe. As with all of Sri Lanka we have experienced so far everyone is extremely friendly and welcoming and eager to help us out. The sand is white and the sea looks like a blue topaz jewel. The town is a windy small road lined with an array of guest houses, restaurants, yoga and shops filled with every beautifully coloured fabric you could imagine.
India especially has been very keen to work on her yoga on this trip. After tracking down the recommended teacher, Asiri, we have been practising with him every morning. We’ve been truly lucky to have chanced upon having private lessons with him for £5 each. It’s been a very interesting lesson for both of us to discover which ways our bodies like to bend and which ways they certainly do not! One of my biggest regrets is giving up Gymnastics as a young teenager, I used to be so supple and strong. Now we have set ourselves on this yoga path I am determined to practice every day and regain my strength in this wonderful practice. I can notice even at 26 how my body has changed and I want to increase my flexibility. Sri Lanka is blessed with a huge array of tropical fruits. After yoga we have been visiting the local fruit shop to stock up on a freshly cut coconut for 15p and a papaya for no more than 80p-heaven!
Ever since I could remember I have loved to run. The feeling of freedom and being able to explore new areas at a faster pace has always felt exhilarating. Last time I was travelling I tried to run in as many countries as I could and with this trip I wanted to do the same. I set off along a little road lined with palm trees to see where I would end up. After ten minutes or so I reached the Buddhist temple which framed the edge of Unawatuna beach. This spectacular temple looks out onto the bay with the huge rocks and palm trees behind, I knew it was special so I brought India to it the next evening to watch the sunset.
Sitting on the warm rocks with as the waves crashed against them below was blissful. For me true happiness is looking out to sea with an endless horizon. There’s something magical about the sunset at Unawatuna bay, it was spectacular. After a good hour gazing into the distance I went to take some pictures of the Buddha. I could see a Monk in the building next to it and as I walked past he beckoned me in. There I was treated to a cup of black tea and a cream cracker. The monk was a jovial fellow so I told him the English enjoyed a cracker with a slice of cheese. India joined us and we chatted about his time as a monk (33 years) and the younger monks he taught and the benefits of meditation. He blessed both of us and wrapped our wrist in a thin piece of white cotton thread. It truly felt like a wonderful and very special moment for both of us. Not having spoken to a monk before it was fascinating.
Tonight we enjoyed devilled seafood (seafood marinated in tomato, garlic, onion and fried) on the beach, all washed down with a fresh mango juice. The beach is lined with restaurants all with flickering fire lights outside which light up the bay.
After four lovely days here I think tomorrow we will head to Mirissa. We are both keen to explore somewhere new and I can’t wait to seek out more waves!