We left from over-developed Unawatuna for Mirissa by midday on Friday and after a one hour ride we ended up in paradise. We had booked Palm Villa Mirissa by chance and actually their homepage didn’t let me expect too much. But it was simply wonderful.
About 20 rooms, maybe less in several white buildings with nice porches to spend the evening on, spacious rooms and even more spacious bathrooms, all decorated a bit hippie style gave the place a very relaxed feel.
The food was delicious. Breakfast was included in the price and consisted of tea or coffee, fruit plate or juice and Sri Lankan or Western breakfast or pancakes. All was delicious but how can anything not be delicious with a view like this. Our rice & curry dinner was also great but I have to say the best thing I had were the garlic prawns.
In addition to being a nice & friendly place with great food, lonely planet is right when they say that Palm Villa Mirissa is situated on the best part of Mirissa beach because it is literally around the corner from the bigger and more crowded main beach. The water is nice to swim in and we just hung out here, relaxing from our quite strenuous trip and just being on holidays.
If you ever plan to come to Sri Lanka’s South Coast, come here. It was the most relaxing place we stay during our complete stay!
Wednesday was our travel day. We had a late start as we spend some time in Nuwara Eliya’s botanical garden. But then we had to go down from 2,000m to sea level in one serpentine after another. What was interesting at the beginning became tiresome and then nearly dangerous as we entered a tropical downpour that really slowed us down. After all it took 8.5 hours to get to Galle.
…and here WordPress killed my post while uploading it. And because I don’t feel like redoing it now you mainly get pictures and rather short notes coming with them. So first of all, we stayed in Unawatuna, Galle’s beach suburb, which is not the nicest because it is somehow overdeveloped. But it was nice for taking a bath.
Galle Fort was 6 km away and is a cooking pot during midday and this was when we visited. And as I didn’t drink enough either I got a bit of a heat stroke which meant I left early and took a local Bus to Unawatuna.
2l of water, an aspirin and an hour of rest later, I was ok enough for our last week as a group which we celebrated with a last dinner together. The next morning we split up. While many went back to Colombo to go home, I travelled with four friends on to Mirissa.
Tuesday started really early. We were on our way to Horton Plains National Park by 4.30 am. Getting up had several good reasons: 1. Even though the entrance to the park is only 30km away it is a small and not very well maintained road winding its way even higher into the mountain.
2. Like this we could see the sunrise on our way there. Once you’re up on the Plains it is supposed to be more difficult to see it because to the east there are some more hills that get in your way. But we stop somewhere about 5km from the entrance and could see it from there.
3. Even though we didn’t come with our big bus (it would never ever have gotten up till here) but in jeeps and at the beginning thought we might be one of the few early ones there were loads of people at the ticket booth when it opened at 6.30 am. By the way this also means that there is no need to be there earlier because you need to get you tickets and you don’t get them before 6.30am.
4. Even though it was freezing (ok, probably about 5-10℃) when we left early in the morning and I was really happy for the tip of bringing a knit hat which I wore for the first two hours, it gets hot once the sun is up. Over the trip I stripped down from top, long sleeve and sweat jacket to only long sleeve and this was actual still very warm but I kept it on as the sun was really burning (oh wonders at 2,400m) We all came back sunburned at some parts anyway. And on all exposed parts possible. I e.g. had sunscreen on my legs and face but at some point I moved my scarf up to my head but forgot to protect my neck so I was burned where my shirt hadn’t been. Also the shirt was a not completely long long sleeve so I ended up with a sunburn of about the last 7cm of my arm down to my hands. Unfortunately this also started the heaviest sun allergy reaction on my hands but well.
And here a few more tips other than just “Go there it is extremely beautiful!” The place is packed. Especially Chinese tourists can be a pain. But if you are more of a lonesome rider on trips like this, you can manage to get in between groups and have a quite walk every now and again. Saying that you should at least wear trainers to walk there. Some of the Chinese wore only ballerinas and some guides even only flip flops. But you need to climb over stones quite a bit in between so I would recommend sturdier shoes.
Ah and at the entrance they strip you off all things plastic. Even the logo wrapper thingy around your water bottle was taken. Stupid enough our hotel (as most others) packed our take away breakfast in layer after layer of plastic. Had we known that, we had at least tried to ask them to wrap it in paper or the like. But seeing what people just throw somewhere here it makes perfectly sense to take rubbish away from visitors before they can throw it into the beautiful nature.
The walk took us about 4 hours and afterwards we had a tea and donut as a rewar
tiny canteen at the parking lot at the entrance of the walk. Having gotten up so early we didn’t do much more that day except for exploring picturesque but rather boring Nuwara Eliya with its weird out of place English Victorian meet Sri Lankan woodwork meet Alpine Style buildings. We then settled in in our very nice hotel named Daffodils for an early night.
Monday started with a more than opulent breakfast at our rather high class hotel Thilanka. We then went down to the city centre to visit the temple of the tooth. Entry to the whole temple area is heavily guarded and guards not only check your bags but also refuse the entry for people that are not “appropriately dressed”, meaning that show knees or shoulders. So make sure you’re either “covered” enough or bring a big scarf or the like, to cover sensitive body parts while in the temple area.
Sunday started early. We had breakfast at 6.30 am to be off to Sigiryas Rock palast before the biggest heat which was a good idea because we started to make our way towards the rock before the biggest crowds appeared. Saying this, one hint: Contrary to the information in all our guide books the ticket booth seems to open already at 7 am and not 8.30 am. So you can have a proper early start and pay the super high entry fee of 3,900 Rupees or 30$. I can’t remember having paid so much for an entry before. But I admit, what you get for it is impressive.
Yeah, we are currently in the middle of nowhere, somewhere near Sigirya in the jungle and they have finally proper internet. It is kind of exciting to be able to connect with people outside of Sri Lanka again. So I can now show you some first impressions from Sri Lanka where I am on a two weeks trip starting with a wedding on our second day. I’m travelling with the girls as Michael didn’t get days off but I wouldn’t miss my best friend’s wedding.
I didn’t get much knitting done this week due to a huge sewing effort I made on the weekend. And this is why today you get to see fabric instead of yarn today. By the way this also means this is not only a Yarn Along post but also Me Made Mittwoch worthy. As I already mentioned in my sewing post last monday, I’m facing different projects and last weekend I spend my time, starting, working on AND finishing one of them: My costume matter.