We made it in 8 hours and our bikes were pretty much exhausted. We were drained out for a few minutes after reaching the fort too. But that might have had something to do with us racing each other for the final 5k of the journey. Surprisingly our strength recovered remarkably quickly. Although we looked a bit out of place among the clean, non-sunblackened, non-grease smeared, non-sweaty people milling around the Hall de Gaul for a while there.
Jerry blew a flat somewhere south of Payagala, just after breakfast. Can’t blame fate for that. An ant with bit of determination could have pierced the thin layer of rubber impersonating as his tyre tread.
We made good time to start with. And made several stops to hydrate and one to have a swim. The spot we were led to by two overly friendly dudes at Ambalangoda looked like it was infested by a school of beached human shaped tuna so we turned back as politely as we could.
We hit the refreshing waves just before Hikka proper a couple hours later. The sea was.. rough. After nearly 5 hours riding in the hot sun, the waves felt like particles of liquid awesome.
The Galle Fort was built by the Portuguese and modified by the Dutch in the 17th Century. Here I will cut to the chase and insert some fine but cliche metaphors to describe the ambiance within the rampart walls and the nostalgic beauty of the architecture. I hope the pics explain that accurately enough.
A lot of places to stay, does the Galle Fort offer. But unfortunately most of them require very deep pockets in order for you to be able to shrug off a visit enjoyably on the way back; instead of crouch in a corner of your bus/train sadly counting the remnants of the contents of your wallet. So we camped. On the ramparts no less. Didn’t even think it was possible. But no one seemed to mind. As you can imagine, it was two kinds of happening.
The difficulty in accessing it might explain why most tourists shun it. To get there you must confront a very steep climb that will go on for a good kilometer or so. Just when you were beginning to think that Galle was all flat land.
Near the top of your climb you will arrive at a space where the road runs along a cliff edge. And you can look out and see the view; Galle Fort in the distance. Jungle Beach below you and the open sea to your right. If you’re sober at the time you may just avoid passing out. Or dying of an overdose of corny lines.
Jungle Beach is actually two small beaches separated by a narrow strip of rock. The sea is the turquoise blue akin to that found in most novels set in a tropical environment. But only for a few feet or so. The water gets deeper about 20 meters out. And the swimming prowess of the likes of Chinthana are required for successful navigation. Success being equated with preserving your life.
Wolfram and his dogs
The beaches are small. Just as well there are so few people visiting the place. Getting there is not easy and one can see why it deserves the name ‘Jungle’. A hundred years ago that place would have been truly wild. And way better. Yes i think that is possible.
Expect a more detailed post on Sinhalaya Travels soon…