We arrived in Galle yesterday after a final morning spent on the beach at Mirissa. We’re staying in the Galle Paradise Hostel in the new part of the city. We went for a wander yesterday after dropping our bags, walking alongside the ocean to the market area then on to the Dutch Fort where we had dinner and watched Sri Lanka versus the West Indies in the 20/20 world cup semi final before a storm cut the coverage. Sri Lanka won by the way so they’re in the final on Sunday.
Walking around it’s very sobering to see a lot of buildings that were damaged or destroyed in the tsunami of 2004 in the new part of the city. Over 4,000 people lost their lives in Galle that boxing day in 2004. The Dutch Fort and the area inside was largely saved by the ramparts encompassing it. On just a short walk from our hostel to the bus station you see many damaged buildings. It’s hard to imagine the full destruction back then.
Today we walked to the Dutch Market, an old building that used to be the hub for fruit and vegetable sellers, now there’s only a few stalls there. Much the same for the fish market and the spice market. Good to see the local produce though. We then went on further back to the Dutch Fort for a sit down and a cup of tea. It’s a nice part of the city of walk around as it’s a lot quieter and has an ‘old-world’ feel to it.
On the way back to our hostel, we stopped off at a Gem Factory where they make jewellery, lace-work and batik prints. Very impressive seeing it all made, such detailed work, especially in the lace. Just after that, meandering down some back-streets we found ourselves caught up in a local high school cricket victory parade. Richmond College had beaten their local rivals for the first time in 45 years and to celebrate they went on a victory parade. It seemed as though this parade basically involved getting hold of a vehicle, loading it up with college kids and speeding through the streets honking horns, cheering and waving flags and if you felt like it dressing up as batman. We didn’t know what was going on, as hundred of cars, scooters and trucks all sped past on a road with no footpath. It was an sight to be behold. Next stop Colombo…