“Leaving Sri Lanka.” Day 9 of cycling in Sri Lanka.
* Travellanka link updates each month as a new edition is published, so this will only work for 1 month.
Reading time: 2 minutes.
It’s the final full day today before we are deposited by the cycling tour company back to wherever we have chosen. I show up late to breakfast and sit with the stragglers for a long relaxed chat. I take a trip into Tangalle itself and wander alone around the spice market and then the fish market. A few of the locals smile or want to chat, most just look at me strangely. At one shop, the barber asks me, in broken English, if I want a haircut and then laughs when I take off my cap and show him my shaved head. I try to negotiate a beard trim but he declines. A bunch of men outside a motorcycle store want to chat to me about cricket.
The afternoon is spent around the pool, making the most of the relaxing day. It’s very hot with no sign of the recent rain. Around four o’clock, most of us are sitting together and we all partake in a celebratory glass of wine for the end of the tour.
After dinner, the suggestion is that we all wander down to the beach. The beach is dark and ominous, the waves much more forceful than earlier. Back at the balcony bar, we relive the stories of our cycling adventure over some wine.
Our final bus ride will take us via Galle to our individual drop off points. Galle originally was the main port of the island under the Portuguese and the Dutch. It was the Dutch who fortified the city and it is along the ramparts that we walk this morning. The weather is beautiful again but here, right on the coastline, there is a slight breeze. One or two fishermen cling to poles way out in the ocean. The ancient fort here, which has now been standing for over four hundred years, withstood the devastating tsunami of 2004.
We stop for pizza, the first western food I have eaten on this trip so far, at a small restaurant on the coast on the way out of Galle. The bus delivers then us to our chosen destinations. I am the last one left on as I return to Negombo, close to the airport for my flight tomorrow.
The sun begins to descend as I arrive back at the hotel where we started the cycling. This completes the circle for me, another tiny revolution and three hundred and fifty kilometres or so of cycling revolutions. Finally it’s over and it feels good to be alone again. I sit in the bar and watch the sun go down across the golden beach.
The cycling trip feels like a dream I’ve just awoken from.
The Travellanka Magazine Series …
Compliments to Vajirapani Hewabattage, my friend and contact at Travellanka Magazine. Thanks Pani!