Galle Fort - 9th July 2015

Awoke to a typical Galle breakfast of Eggs in Hoppers with sweet onion and chilli. Delicious and our host Kodi had to bring us more onions! Washed down with a couple of cups of Sri Lankan black tea and we were ready to explore.

Galle Fort seawall

Galle Fort seawall

Walked along the Galle Fort Sea wall and watched the waves crashing over the rocks off shore. Could just imagine how hard it would have been for an invader to enter the Fort from the sea. Up and down the Fort streets we went admiring the restrained Dutch architecture of the 17th Century. So many beautiful buildings and most in good repair. Erica was feeling a little warm in her clothing so we stopped at a little stall by the fort wall and she purchased a pair of cotton loose fitting Snow Leopard pants for $10 Australian.

After putting them on at Beatrice House we made a call to Our Daughter Sascha in Australia. It was lovely to hear her voice. We had just recharged our prepaid with $3 Australian and we did not run out so phone calls must be cheaper here than Thailand.

Set off again on foot down Peddler Street which has many cafes and accommodation houses. Erica spotted a Gelato Shop, we ordered two for $2.50 Australian each and sat on a low bench outside in the shade and started eating them. A few minutes later a white van pulled up outside the house opposite and two black bags were put on board. As we watched a couple walked out of the house to the van. We recognised them as Colleen and Steve the authors of “Sell Up, Pack Up and Take Off” the book that had inspired us! Had not met them before and what a co-incidence to meet like this. A quick chat ensued and it turned out they had been interviewing expats living in Galle and were on their way to Kandy.

Old Dutch hospital

Old Dutch hospital

While walking through the Fort we came upon the Old Dutch Hospital a large rectangular building that now houses restaurants, bars and jewellery shops. Further along was an Old Dutch Square, now shady car parking and home to Solicitors and a Real estate agent. Next came a very long building built inside the land fort wall using the wall as one side of the building. It now houses an Architectural Museum. Opposite is the Magistrates court and we had to sneak past a bus load of prisoners waiting their turn. Another Police vehicle had a handcuffed man with a red sheet over his head bundled into it and was driven off to the Criminal Court nearby. Lots of armed Police about.

Old Dutch church

Old Dutch church

Went into the oldest Methodist Church and also the Old Dutch Church which had many graves in its grounds and floor. Both lovely old buildings. Spotted a wonderful Art Deco Hotel, a fabulous private home in an old Dutch Building, the 1915 Post Office still unchanged and operating, and many swish hotels in old buildings.

We have discovered that up to 40% of the 360 Old Dutch buildings in Galle Fort are owned by foreigners, mainly European. This has caused a meteoric rise in property prices here. Tourist accommodation owners tell us that visitors used to be mainly Europeans. It then changed to many being Russian but since the Russian economy is in trouble they dropped off. They are being replaced now by the Chinese and this will change the whole feel of the place.

The climate here is much warmer than Kandy and today is around 31°C with a breeze. It feels much hotter. As a rule all the lowland parts of Sri Lanka have temperatures hovering in the low 30’s year round. Only one day here but very few tourists as it is off season makes the place very appealing. We can see why foreigners have been buying. Steve and Colleen told us the house they were staying in was owned by friends of theirs from Byron Bay.

Kodi, our host has invited us to sample his wife’s cooking tonight and we are looking forward to it.