Our late night after a long day of travel didn’t slow us down.

After a good sleep at the Galle Face Hotel we met for breakfast in time to enjoy the beautiful offerings before our walking tour commenced.

Breakfast in India, and now here in Sri Lanka, is a treat. Very different to an American, British, European or Australian Breakfast. I love the fact different countries offer their own twist on breakfast.

Here we had egg hoppers – a rice pancake with an egg in the middle. You can add dahl curry and coconut sambal. Delicious. Then there are curries, fruit, curd, breads, freshly prepared omelette. And delicious fruit drinks.

Following breakfast we left with guide Jude on our walking tour. The architecture here is lovely. Much of the Colonial style has deteriorated but buildings are gradually being restored.

It’s so sad to think of the bombings earlier this year. This city is a lovely place. It’s clean and trying hard to to win tourists back.

We covered some distance around the port (being rebuilt by the Chinese – they have their fingers all over this place).

The markets were another eye-opener. In an abandoned building almost entirely run by men selling the most amazing looking varieties of vegetables. Apparently tropical aubergines are good for smokers. They use many plants for health purposes. Ayurvedic medicines are as popular here as in India.

I’m hoping for a good Ayurveda massage.

Tired and thirsty after 3.5 hours’ walking, some of the group headed to the Ministry of Crab. A very stylish restaurant in the restored Old Dutch Hospital shopping precinct.

We had crab – some pepper, chilli, crab salad, a prawn curry and a cold, cold beer. Delicious.

Back to the hotel in a tuk-tuk for a refreshing swim and a visit to the hotel’s museum which houses a car owned by Prince Phillip!

We finished the afternoon with a visit to Geoffrey Bawa’s house at 11, 33rd lane. It’s a quiet spot and demonstrates the famous Sri Lankan architects style. It’s minimalist, invites the outside in and the inside out. It’s natural and is all in black and white. It was a haven.

The man Laki, who I had corresponded with was a little upset that we arrived late! Our tuk-tuks were late so we arrived after the start time of the movie.

It’s a beautiful place and won us over with it simple approach to design.

Leaving the house we walked for about 10 minutes to the Gallery Cafe – another Bawa design. It’s a beautiful space to enjoy a drink or dinner in a courtyard setting. Again it is inside / outside with black and white dominating.

Tonight dinner is at the hotel. A seafood buffet included in our room rate. I thought it might be a bit ordinary but it was wonderful. So much beautiful seafood cooked on a grill to order.

The hotel is right by the water and it was lovely sitting on the wide verandahs with the fans above gently turning enjoying the company of our fellow travellers.

Sri Lanka: Land of Smiles

Visiting a new country is always exciting. Not doing any of the planning is also exciting.

I started the year with Southern India thanks to Linda and finishing with Sri Lanka, thanks to Carmel.

This trip is a bonus for the year. Our friend Carmel has worked and travelled in Sri Lanka and suggested a trip with friends would be fun. We started talking about it, then the bombs went off in Colombo- so we waited and watched and decided when things settled we would go. Carmel made all the plans. We booked and today is the day.

There are 17 of us. We’ll have our own bus and guide and our itinerary is tailored to our needs.

The fun started at the airport waiting for our 11.50 flight to Singapore. The Wilsons, Harrisons and ourselves swapping packing stories. Carmel has the heaviest bag but that is due to several bottles of wine. The wine in Sri Lanka isn’t the quality? taste? Whatever we are used to. So thank you Carmel for packing for the team. The rest of us have Gin!

We’re meeting the rest of the group in Colombo. Tomorrow starts with a walking tour. Always a great way to walk off the jet lag and get to know Colombo.

Arrival in Colombo was around 9pm. For our body clock around 1am. Being greeted with an orchid lei immediately makes it feel like a holiday. Somehow our guide missed Peter out of this photo!

Follow along with the blog. Discover Sri Lanka.