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Sri Lanka - 2012


The flight of just under one hour, to Colombo from Trivandrum, by Sri Lankan Airways A320 was perfectly good with water and snack being served. Colombo airport was easy to negotiate.

We had obtained Electronic Travel Authority, prior to leaving UK and immigration was straightforward although the luggage seemed to take an age to arrive. Exchanging money in the terminal, where several banks compete for your business was simple and a good rate given.

Once again we had pre-booked transfers and so began the short journey to The Blue Water at Wadduwa, which took about 2 1/2 hours. Whilst driving in Sri Lanka is pretty hair raising, believe it or not we found it better than Kerala.

2012 Sri Lanka - Blue Water
2012 Sri Lanka - Fishermen

2012 Sri Lanka - Blue Water Room

2012 Sri Lanka - Fishermen

Check in at the Blue Water was simple and we were provided with cold towels and the usual welcome drink which was most appreciated, following our drive. Our immediate impression of the hotel was of space, light and air. It was well designed and laid out giving a good first impression. We had booked a superior deluxe room and it was spacious, bright and well decorated and furnished a very good room.

There was little in the immediate vicinity of the hotel, housekeeping was poor to bad, and the food in the restaurants catered for an all-inclusive clientele, many from Russia and Eastern Europe. The pool was good, but there was little shade, other than that given by the natural palm trees.

We took two trips, arranged privately with a guide recommended by contacts in the UK (Newton) http://www.extracover.org.uk/ .

As we had visited Sigiriya, Dambulla, Kandy, Pinnawala and Nuwara Elia on previous visits, we decided to look around at the Ratnapura, Hortons Plain area and spend an overnight at Ella. An interesting trip, encompassing gem mines, tea plantations and stunning scenery. Ella is served by a railway link to Kandy and many visitors arrive by train and trek throughout the area. There are only small hotel / guest house establishments in Ella and we stayed in the Hotel Country Comfort. Our room was spacious with en-suite facilities and furnished in a very pleasant colonial style. It was clean and comfortable, without air conditioning we found a fan to be perfectly adequate.

Ella has a couple of bars / restaurants and shops, but it is all low key (I am certain that the trekkers would prefer to save their energy for the task ahead, rather than partake in high profile nightlife). We found the village sufficient for our needs and whilst the service at the hotel was "amateur", the friendliness and enthusiasm of the staff, coupled with an adequate breakfast (and exceptional tea to drink) has made this a stay to remember.

2012 Sri Lanka - Tea Pickers
2012 Sri Lanka - Gemstone Mining

2012 Sri Lanka - Tea Pickers

2012 Sri Lanka - Gemstone Mining

Our second trip was to Galle. We had meant to make this trip by train, however the line is currently closed for major upgrading just South of Kalutara so we travelled by car.

Unfortunately it was a Poya day and many shops in Galle were closed. We took a look round the fort, established by the Portuguese around 1588 and fortified by the Dutch in the mid 17th century, finally taken over by the British in the late 18th century. An interesting few hours but as Galle was closed, not quite what we went there for.

It was then back to our hotel for the final couple of days, spent in the spa (good but rather expensive) and lazing around the pool.
Our 15 day break was then over and it was back to the UK - CMB to LHR via DXB on Emirates (B777-300ER and A380). Once again very good service, food and iFE.

Would we return to Kerala?
possibly not we prefer Goa, but wouldn't have missed the houseboat

Would we return to the Leela Kovalam? no, neither the hotel nor location suited us

Would we return to Sri Lanka?
possibly, but not a high priority.

Would we return to the Blue Water?
no, poor housekeeping and, for us, poor location

2012 Sri Lanka - Waterfall
2012 Sri Lanka - Sunset at Blue Water

2012 Sri Lanka - Waterfall

2012 Sri Lanka - Sunset at Blue Water

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