We drove the next day from Ella to Tissamaharana and checked in to the very nice “Coconut Garden hotel”. Thank goodness we had a light lunch because a Safari jeep picked us up (Ravi included) for the bumpy hour’s ride to Yala National Park and then the very bumpy ride around the park. There were not many vehicles there in the afternoon for which we were grateful. Parts of the park border the
Indian ocean and the park itself was beautiful with some wide open areas and many watering holes.

The driver was very knowledgeable about the flora and faura and he pointed out many species of birds which we otherwise would not have seen. We saw monkeys,wild boar, crocodiles, wild buffalo, spotted
deer,elk and three different elephants.
As we neared the end of our time in the park our guide got a call to say that leopard had been spotted so we tore off and joined another few vehicles. We saw the back of a female and male leopard disappearing through the dense bush. We were lucky to see the elephants and leopards really as in the 35,000 acre park there were only a dozen elephants and twenty two leopards.

The next day we left for the 3hour drive to Koggala Lake to see where the Catalina flying boats used to land during WWII. There was also an old Avro plane parked near a cafe near the ocean. We had
lunch at quaint “Cafe Ceylon” and then went on to Galle for the night. The rice harvest was in full swing with truckloads of rice waiting to get into the storage sheds and mounds of rice drying at the side of the road. There were many stalls of Buffalo curd (yoghurt) along the road so we stopped I bought a small terracotta container with curd, topped with a little honey to try. I’d had buffalo mozzarella but never curd. It was delicious. They discard the old containers each time so we saw ingenious walls of terracotta containers, some painted white along the road.
I spotted a dead crocodile in the river mouth but Ravi and Maurice didn’t believe me so we turned around and they too saw it upside down and rather on the nose!

We reached the historical enclave of Galle which sits on a promontory. It was built by the Portuguese in the 14th Century but most of the heritage buildings date from the Dutch in the 16th
century. Most buildings are well restored and many swank hotels and villas were all over the small town. Ravi told us that most of the area was run by muslims and he also said there were many fake
gemstones manufactured in China to be found in the town.

We stayed in a lovely rooftop room in a quiet area in the town which was more or less pedestrian with very little traffic. Before dinner we walked up to the ramparts to watch the sunset with many

schoolchildren who were very excited about up coming interschool cricket matches. We found a very atmospheric restaurant called “Forteza” and had a great meal before walking back to our guesthouse.

At Madu Oya (Lake Madu) the next day we were given by Ravi a tour on the 68km river bounded by mangroves and small islands. One produced cinammon in every shape and form and another had a small
ancient Buddhist temple. From there Ravi took us back to Colombo on the expressway for our last night in town. We were sorry to leave Ravi who had been an excellent driver and guide and a lovely chap. We had left our large bags in the Colombo 7 B and B and stayed the night there again. We had a slap up dinner at the Kingsbury
hotel near Galle Face.

After a visit to the hairdresser the next morning by tuk tuk and a last Sri Lankan meal at Green Cabin we were recommended to go to the “Barefoot” shop with it’s wonderful hand-loomed fabrics before
catching the taxi to the airport for the flight to Bangalore.

We thoroughly enjoyed our two week trip around some of Sri Lanka and will definately return to see more.

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