Wow, what can I say?! Not only does this place make me feel at home (as, I’ve come to realise, tropically frayed-around-the-edges places seem to feel) but it’s like a God-send…: I’ve landed myself the absolute sweetest Couchsurfing family who are determined for me to have the best time ever- and heck yes I am already!
I was so upset to be leaving Australia (‘so upset’ being an understatement- thank you Elaine for stopping me from crying the whole 16 hour journey!). But I kept being blessed with the most rewarding and inspiring connections during my trip from Aus to Sri Lanka, which reminded me of how incredible and unique my journey is.
Anyway. Rambling aside. Here is a little look at my first thoughts from the start of my trip through The Pearl of the Indian Ocean.
Love, Sophia x
There are fish tanks in the train stations! And they’re all so quaint and oldy-worldy. (The train stations, not the fish). We got the 9.30pm train from Colombo to Trincomalee (arrived at 6:00am), and it was actually a very enjoyable journey, aside from the cramps and pins-and-needles. The trains have quite a magical feel; much cleaner and calmer than India, I can see why people often site Sri Lanka as India’s more tranquil sister. The salmon-pink peeling paint windows wide open, and old-fashioned reclining chairs reminded me of old style English design… and it turns out that, in actual fact, they are! The trains and all the tracks throughout the country were built by the Brits during their occupation, and they’ve not been renovated in the 70 years since!
We arrived to a sunrise tuk-tuk ride to the gorgeous Aqua Inn. Amber coloured dogs came to great us, and guided us through the coolest gardens and decor that lead straight onto the beach. My morning sunrise swim was simply glorious- the sand literally feels like a carpet of thick velvet, and the water was like a frothing warm bath that I didn’t want to leave! After meditation, with the accompaniment of that charming-sweet scented sea breeze, we had breaky: there are plenty of veggie and vegan options in Sri Lanka (what with the majority of the population being Buddhist, I suspect. Oh and on that note, I saw my first ever troop of orange-roped monks on arrival at the station! Not sure quite why that excited me so much but it did.) Anyway, back to breaky. I had a fruit-salad-porridge which was yum. The bananas here are so tiny and taste really different to anywhere else. Oh and be sure to try King coconuts (orange, rather than brown).
Then we hopped on the most terrifying boat trip of my life. It felt so incredible fragile and frail being beaten by the rigorous waves, and so, of course, I too felt incredible fragile! Eventually we got to our destination: Pigeon Island. Here you can find the only remaining shallow water corals and tropical fish in all of Sri Lanka. It was absolutely magical and I’d really recommend you come snorkeling here. Not only were there most colourful and bizarre fish than I’ve ever seen (this one fish that’s literally a meter long silver twig with a spikey butt), but I had the amazing opportunity of swimming with hundreds of jellys, two sharks (!) and a turtle. So if you love sea life, this is for sure the place to come.
The next day, we went for an awesome tuk-tuk ride around Trincomalee to explore. The scenery is simply stunning, a tuk-tuk ride is an adventure in itself! But for other ideas of what to check out, I recommend having a look at the cool 7 Hot Spring-Water Wells, the Portugeuse Port (with so many cute friendly deer you can pet!), and the colourful Hindu temple at the top of the cliffs.
Unwinding on the outside terrace right now, surrounded by the gorgeous beach, palm trees, and cats and dogs lazily strolling around: feeling very blessed to be here right now, and to have so many adventures to come.
If you come to Sri Lanka, be sure to check out this beautiful beach town up north-east!