Unawatuna

Posted by ross

 

27.05.2010 – 01.06.2010

Our driver met us at the Lake Side Tourist Inn Thursday morning and we departed on our journey to Unawatuna. Auto

Originally we had planned to travel buy bus but we were glad we had listened to the advise of others and hired a driver for this trip. It was one day before the full moon and Buddha’s birthday, a big local holiday, so most of the Sri Lankans had a long weekend and were already travelling by bus to various destinations for the next several days.

The weather in the south had improved so we started getting our hopes up about enjoying the south coast and beaches. Sun The drive from Tissa to Unawatuna took a total of 4 hours but that included a one hour stopover at the Blow Hole in Kudawella.

 

blowholeThe Blow Hole snacksOnWayFromBlowHoleSome snacks for sale on the way

 

We had already made reservations by mobile at the Flower Garden Hotel which had been highly recommended by Dave and Melissa who had stayed there with their boys several days before, even though, under very raining conditions. Storm cloudStorm cloudStorm cloud

As it turned out we were the only guests when we arrived, so we had the pick of any room we wanted. It was low season and several weeks of bad weather had kept many tourists away.

Except for breakfast, which was included in the price, we only had dinner at the Flower Garden twice. Actually, since we were the only two guests, they didn’t really want to prepare dinner.

Instead we eat out at the other restaurants, but what we did eat at the Flower Garden was fantastic. Open-mouthed smile

 

9Currys

Because it was Buddha’s birthday the kitchen was only serving the minimum, which was breakfast.

We had a rather bad experience at a restaurant in town. Besides several vegetable curries we were served a chicken curry that was 80% bones and little meat.

After describing our experience to the cooks at Flower Garden, they decided to make us a real 9 curry meal Sri Lankan style and we were both very impressed. It was the best curry we had eaten since our arrival in Sri Lanka and yes the chicken curry was all meat and no bones.

Lentil , carrot , cabbage , red beat , green bean , egg plant with pineapple, chicken, gourd, Lady Fingers, Rice and Pappadums

 

 

 

cooksHotelFlowerGarden

Here is a picture of Christel with the two main cooks:  Thilini and Thanuja.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

christelUnawatunaBeach

Unawatuna Beach: The beach is protected by a long reef that is barely visible in the background. The main problem with swimming was the unusually large amount of debris that was in the water due to the previous weeks of flooding all along the southern coast.

 

 

 

 

Sea Turtle Farm & Hatchery-Habaraduwa  Turtle

A non-profit organization whose goal is to hatch Turtle eggs and release them back into the sea. They even buy the eggs from fisherman and locals.

There is also an other Turtle Farm in Peraliya which we did not visit, but it seems to be better known if only because of its proximity to Hikkaduwa.

 

turtleFarmbabySeaTurtle

 

Gale:

It is a very busy and crowded city, however for shopping it offers all the things that one can not find in Mirissa or Unawatuna. We actually stocked up on our Curry spices in Gale, although shopping for clothes was not the hit unless one has a petite size. Most of the Clothing articles won’t fit a normal westerner.

 

lighthouse_galeThe Fort Gale Light House. fortGale_streetInside the fort

 

 

oldHouseinGale

Example of some of the architecture one finds inside of the fort.

 

Mirissa Beach:

One means of transportation that we wanted to utilize on the island and for one reason or another hadn’t managed to do, was the bus. So we decided to take the bus from Unawatuna to Merissa; a small beach town on the south where we had originally wanted to stay from the start of our trip.

There are two main bus systems in Sri Lanka, the red government buses, very inexpensive and the private white buses which are more expensive from the locals perspective. Because they are both cheap they are often full but without luggage fun to ride. The locals and drivers are usually quite helpful and will tell you where to get off – without asking you for some foreign coins Smile

Mirissa isn’t really a town, more of a small fishing village on one side of a peninsula and on the other side a cluster of beach hotels nestled in the jungle near the beach. That means any shopping for anything not provided in the hotel has to be purchased in one of the other towns, usually about 30 min. away by Tuc Tuc.

Originally we had thought spending 4-5 days in Mirissa would be perfect.  After our short visit I was glad we had changed our plans. For the two of us we would have been bored to tears after the first two days, that is why the short 3-4 hour visit for the day was just perfect.

It is really very beautiful and extremely peaceful.

 

 

mirissaBeachWestSide

Above is the protected part of the beach in Mirissa. This is where the majority of surfers congregate.

 

 

christel[3] christel_beach

 

During the summer Monsoon season in the south, the ocean is almost too rough to swim in. The surf breaks very far out from the beach and can be very dangerous with strong under tows.

 

fishingHarbourMirissa[3]

The Mirissa fishing harbor.  The main beach with all the tourist hotels is on the other side of the peninsula in the background.   

 

 

Gale to Colombo by train:  (2 1/2 h)

We took the train from Gale to Colombo, which was our second train ride experience in Sri Lanka.  If our first ride over the highlands had been slow and leisurely, the coastal train to Colombo was a high speed express by comparison.

 Train2Colombo

 

We had a seat in the next to the last car and on those old tracks and at maximum speed we felt like in one of those cartoons where the train cars lean on on track as they go around a corner. It rocked and shuck so much that we were both just a little more than worried for our lives, Confused smileSick smile but after we looked around us at the other passengers, all Sri Lankans, they were either sleeping or acting as if nothing was unusual, we felt a bit safer. Smile

At the south west, after Hikkadua, the train tracks follow right next to the coast line for quite a while. The train runs so close to the ocean that the sea spray was blowing right through the open windows and we could imagine, how the Tsunami just washed the trains into the jungle. Scary Thinking smile 

Just before the train reached Colombo it was standing room only as the afternoon commute was under way. The train went right through the slums of Columbo, poverty we weren’t confronted with during the entire trip. A last eye opener, before we  reached Columbo main station. We both were too tired and exhausted by the rush hour in the capitol to figure out which bus would leave towards the airport. So we hired a driver to bring us to there. We tried to bargain his stated price down but he was in no mood and we were too tired to bother Disappointed smile 

To get into the airport, you have to pass several military check points, but they only look inside the car, recognize you as a tourist and let you go. For our own safety, we didn’t mind at all. Smile

Our plane took off at 00:25h  and we had plenty of time to spend some Rupies inside the airport, even though the US dollar was THE currency; every item was priced in dollars.

Negombo AirplaneMale Airplane Dubai AirplaneMunich AutoAugsburg ShiftySleepy smileStorm cloud

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