Monthly Archives: February 2015

Mike Cathy and Katja in Sri Lanka Part 6 out of 7


What you’ve done becomes the judge of what you’re going to do – especially in other people’s minds. When you’re traveling, you are what you are right there and then. People don’t have your past to hold against you. No yesterdays on the road.”
William Least Heat Moon

Thursday DSC06318

We woke up pretty early for people who are meant to be on holiday, I think it was sometime around 05:00 hrs but we were wide awake. We decided to head off to the beach to watch the sunrise and for Katja to have one last play on the beach before heading to Colombo. We had another amazing sunrise which I am so glad we got to see. There’s something rather special about watching the sun rise from behind the palm trees. The beach was deserted and the waves battering the shoreline accompanied by a chorus of birds celebrating the new day. We played on the beach for ages as night turned into day. On the way back to the room, Katja bumped into her the little girl who she was playing with on the beach. she was in her very smart white school uniform. She gave Katja a big hug and a kiss before saying good bye. We headed off to breakfast and then a quick last swim before being picked up to go to Colombo. As we were vacating our room one of the guys knocked on the door to say they had put out some drinks for us before we left. we turned up to a wonderful spread of a wide variety of food. These guys had nothing to gain by doing this as we had already paid our bill, but they were happy to look after us and make sure we didn’t leave hungry! Once we had consumed all the food and drink (fresh pineapple juice), they brought out yet another tray of food, almost as if to be doubly sure we were full! We said our goodbyes to people who were now our friends, we really didn’t want to go.

Colombo DSC06322

Colombo wasn’t quite as far as we thought it was, it took only a bit over an hour after negotiating with heavy traffic and suicidal tuk tuk drivers. We made out way to our hotel which we had booked before coming. The Cinnamon Red is a smart Hotel in the centre of Colombo. It took the driver a couple of goes at finding it but we got there…..eventually. We checked in and headed off to our room on the 22nd floor. Of course, being so high up, we had some pretty cool views of the city which in many respects reminds me of Sofia (Bulgaria) due to the numerous parks and green areas. After sorting all our stuff we headed off for some lunch followed by a tuk tuk ride around the city and to the port area.

Port Market – Colombo IMG_1208

As we rode in the tuk tuk around the city, it is amazing to see all the colonial buildings and trying to imagine what life would have been like in Colombo pre 1948. Many people who we met refered to pre 48 as “your forefathers did this and before your forefathers left”.We had a wander around the market in the port area. we had a good walkabout the place and of course, we bought numerous souvenirs and Cathy had a chance to buy plenty of clothes at amazing prices. After all this we tried to find a tuk tuk to get us back to the hotel but most of them either refused to take us as they didn’t know where the hotel was or just ignored us. Eventually we found a tuk tuk who would take us back but he didn’t have a clue where he was going. He stopped several times to ask for directions and to check with other drivers. We weren’t too fussed as we had agree on a price before starting so we were taking this as an unexpected extra city tour! Eventually he found the hotel (bit of a shame really as we were enjoying the tour!). Due to the magnificent views and floor to ceiling windows, we slept with the curtains open.


After a hearty breakfast in which I pigged out (pun intended) on bacon and sausages and every kind of pork products I could get my grubby little hands on, we went out for a wander to the nearby lake we could see from our bedroom window. We hired a pedalo and enjoyed the lake. OK, it was a bit too hot and humid but we enjoyed it nonetheless. we had to check out of the room by 12:00 hrs, but they kindly let us stay a bit longer for free as Katja was sleeping.

We went out to explore a bit more, outside the hotel we met another tuk tuk driver (Nicholas) who took us to several places and waited for us. We had lunch in a fish restaurant (I had chips) before heading back to the hotel where our luggage was waiting for us. We arrived a little early so we walked to the sopping centre which is some 300 yards from the hotel. When we were about to walk out we realised that it was raining, and I mean torrential rain! We bought a couple of umbrellas and braved it back to the hotel. The streets were flooded and we got absolutely soaked. by the time we arrived in the hotel we were like 5 drenched rats. The hotel gave us some towels and we got changed. as soon as we were ready we got into the taxis which were waiting for us and headed to the airport.

Part VII – Goodbye Sri Lanka


Mike Cathy and Katja in Sri Lanka Part 7 out of 7

Goodbye Sri Lanka

To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted.
Bill Bryson

We carved our way through the congested streets of Colombo, suicidal tuk tuks and crazy moped riders all trying to get somewhere. Our drive to the airport should have taken around 45 minutes, instead it took 1.5 hours.

We arrived at the airport; very differently from other places; you are scanned as you go in and then your luggage is once again scanned before checking in! We dropped our luggage off via emigration where we had our passports stamped and then headed for our departures lounge. Colombo airport is a little antiquated but very passenger friendly and easy to navigate your way around. There is also plenty of friendly people around to ask for help.

We boarded about an hour before take off and took off some 20 minutes ahead of schedule which was good as we were not due to arrive in Doha until midnight.

Immigration in Doha was pretty quick and Jamaal was waiting for us to take us home.

Conclusion IMG_1272

It was a lovely trip and we totally fell in love with Sri Lanka and its people. It’s a fun and beautiful country with many lovely people. We cannot wait to go back and spend more time there. We would love to visit the girls we took photos of in Waduwa as we were unable to print the photos and give them to them, I am sure they would love that.

Some Tips

If you are interested in visiting Sri Lanka all I can say is YES, do it, I am sure you won’t be disappointed.

  1. We booked our hotels via
  2. Check which coast has the better weather for when you plan to travel (East or West)
  3. Try and familiarise yourself with prices and exchange rates
  4. Agree on a price before any trips (Tuk Tuks and guides etc)
  5. Negotiate, Negotiate and Negotiate
  6. Take mosquito spray and antihistamines as mosquitoes are pretty vicious
  7. Change money before traveling as local exchange rates are not great
  8. Driving and driving standards are very different to what you may be used to.
  9. Paying with credit cards can sometimes be an issue, ask before hand
  10. Many if not most prices are quoted in US Dollars but local currency is Sri Lankan Rupee
  11. If planning to use a train beware that they are usually packed.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about our trip, it was fun, exciting and interesting. We have learnt a lot about a country we knew virtually nothing about. We cannot wait to go back again. I can honestly and wholeheartedly say I love this place!!

Now it’s back to reality for us in Qatar, on Tuesday it’s National Sports day and on Friday we are off camping with friends. We are trying to make the most of the cool weather by spending as much time outdoors and enjoying the super mild winter in the Middle East.