Sri Lanka Continued: Long train journeys, caged dogs, Galle the dump and paradise.
February 25, 2022
I am currently sitting on my veranda under beautiful palm trees against a clear blue sky. Last night I sat with a bunch of older hippies at a house party while they strummed guitars and sung 60s folk songs; pure bliss.
You may have noticed my mood has shifted heavily towards the positive now, no longer a grumpy old hippie.
When I last posted I was about to take the 5am train down from Kandy in the mountains to Galle in the South. The train journey was long, hot and a real bone shaker but the Sri Lankans onboard were friendly and chatty, which made it an enjoyable trip. Once we neared the south of Sri Lanka it looked so much like Goa, I felt excited about what was to come.
Unfortunately, my entry into Galle was a bit of a dark moment but things changed rapidly once I made contact with some older hippies I knew from my Facebook group.
I had booked my first accommodation using the voucher I got for my cancelled Goa flights. I immediately got a tuk tuk on arrival in Galle to the ‘Riverside Villa’, I was concerned straight away as we travelled far out of the centre and into a bit of a shanty town area. The so called ‘riverside villa’ turned out to be a tiny dark room at the back of a family house with no aircon and a toilet in the garden (and no river lol). Now in the right situation I might have considered this, but it was not cheap and frankly the description was a lie. Not only that, they had a sad looking Labrador dog caged up in the garden, that they never let out; it was horrific cruelty.
I decided to check out the old town area for better digs as I really did not want to be so far out of the centre and I also intended to get my money back for this accommodation. I caught a tuk tuk to the old town (or so I thought) but in fact he had not understood me and took me to the rundown main town of Galle. Well of course with the horrible accommodation and me now thinking that the historical old town of Galle was just a rundown dump, I decided to get the hell out of there. I returned to the ‘villa’ to get my stuff, only to find myself locked out. They had gone out and locked the gates, I could not get into the place I had paid so much for. Eventually after 45 minutes in the intense heat, they came back. I was not happy and grabbed my bags and hit the road.
I then remembered I had a lady called Andrea’s phone number who was a member of the FB group and who was currently living in Sri Lanka. I called her and she said “come to Unawatuna and you will find what you need”, so I jumped in a tuk tuk and headed out.
Unawatuna turned out to be paradise and just outside of Galle. Hippies, tourists, bars, cafes, restaurants, live music and parties. I checked into the RockHouse guesthouse, which is fantastic, a huge room right in the centre of the action; I finally felt happy in Sri Lanka, and relaxed.
Unawatuna, Sri Lanka:
Unawatuna, five kilometres southeast of Galle, the ever-expanding village is now firmly established as Sri Lanka’s most popular resort for independent travellers and older hippies and remains a pleasant spot to while away a few days or even weeks.
It has a lovely beach, beach bars and restaurants and a few clubs. Its quirky, fun and laidback.
Bars and Restaurant’s and One Love:
The first bar I visited along the beach I did not like; it was full of Russians and Brits watching football on the TV. I quickly learnt that its important to find the best places for what I was looking for. A bar called One Love has it all, hippies, ganja, and great music. The boys who were the bar staff were entertaining and fun and the music was very whirly, I loved it and have returned several times. I had finally found the hippie vibe I was looking for.
The beach and sea and Goa refugees:
Another bar I became aware of was the Lucky Tuna, which has live music on Thursdays. It is here that Andrea introduced me to lots of Goa longstayers, who out of frustration of trying to get into Goa during the pandemic, had found themselves in Sri Lanka instead. We often met up and enjoyed a beer telling stories of our love affair with India and how we would return. These lovely people later invited me to a house party (more on that later).
Tuk Tuk love:
I have realised from this trip how much I love Tuk Tuks, I love the look of them, I love riding in them, and I feel so at peace in them. I think in a former life I was a tuk tuk driver in India. I would love to buy one in the UK, hippiefy it and take it to festivals; fabulous.
Galle Old Town (the real one):
Andrea later invited me for a meal in the old Fort and town, as I was taken to the wrong place before I had not yet been, so I gladly accepted. We had a wonderful meal in a nice diner by the bay and then walked around this lovely part of Galle.
Perched on the coast close to the islands southernmost point, the venerable port of GALLE has grown from ancient origins into Sri Lanka’s fourth largest city. At its heart lies the old Dutch quarter, known as Fort, Sri Lankas best preserved colonial townscape. It has some lovely architecture, plus bars and restaurants and boutique shops. Needless to say, it was a lovely evening.
I was up 4.30am to travel to Mirrisa to go whale watching. It was lovely watching the dawn over the colourful fishing boats. I will let the pictures do the talking but I saw dolphins and blue whales and it was a fantastic morning on the sea.
Old Goa Hippie Party:
So, about that party on the turtle beach with the old Goa hippies; what can I say. Lovely company, great characters, guitar playing, singing, watching the sunset as turtles came out of the water. Great food, great vibe, pure elation, and new friends to meet up with in Agonda, Goa next January. I finally found the Sri Lanka I was looking for.
Travel, Rekindling my Wanderlust, Planning my future:
This trip has really set me up for a six-month trip starting in Nepal in November. I am going to sublet my flat, pack up and go. Three weeks in Kathmandu, then the rest of the time crossing India; my adventures have now truly begun.