The Mount Lavina Hotel, Colombo.

Had an early morning as I had a train to Mantara from the Colombo ‘Fort’ railway station. As I was served breakfast the owner of the boarding house mentioned that I could take the train from the Mount Lavina railway station to Mantara which just was about 500 metres away from the boarding house. As I arrived the Mount Lavina railway station, I noticed that I had more than three hours to spare. Lucky me! After buying a second class ticket, I then took a ‘tuk tuk’ to the beach and had a couple of cigarettes there while enjoying the sights of the waves and people watching at the Mount Lavina beach.

Having drinks at the Mount Lavina.
Mount Lavina Hotel.
Mount Lavina Hotel Doorman’

Walked to the nearby ‘grande old dame’ of Colombo which is the Mount Lavina hotel and wandered in it enjoying facades of the hotel where British aristrocrats once patronized between it’s walls. The Mount Lavina hotel used to be the residence of the Governor General of Ceylon during the British colonial rule and a hospital during the Second World War. I just had time for drinks at the terrace restaurant while enjoying the views of the Mount Lavina beach. Admired the attire worn by the staff at the hotel where traces of the colonial rule was present. Some scenes of the 1957 blockbuster movie  ‘The Bridge Over The River Kwai’ that starred William Holden and Alec Guinness were filmed at the Mount Lavina Hotel.

Mount Lavina Railway Station

Mount Lavina Railway Station
On board the train to Mantara in the 2nd Class Coach
Got a seat at last !

Train ride to Mantara

Food vendors on board the train.

Pit Stop @ Gintota Railway Station
As it was approaching the departure time of the train, I made a hasty return to the Mount Lavina Railway Station which was less the 200 meters away and I found out that the train was delayed. Later, as I boarded the train I noticed that there were no seats left, meaning that I had to stand for the rest of the journey …. The train ride was an interesting one despite having to endure three quarters of the journey standing. Most of the train journey were concentrated at the coastline and majestic views of the Indian Ocean were offered up to the maximum. The interaction of the locals and foreigners in the train were evident where one could see people from all walks of life i.e. the passengers, vendors selling drinks, food, toys and lottery tickets too as well as hotel touts bargaining with the tourists, monks being highly respected, physically handicapped beggars walking along the aisles of the coaches reaching out for alms, young children at the windows gazing out with parents reminding them not to put their heads and arms outside the window, was a good experience itself. It reminded  me of my schooling days when I had to take the train during school breaks using a government issued third class warrant ticket .
British Lighthouse, Galle Fort, Galle.

Masjid @ Galle Fort, Galle.

Galle Fort Walls, Galle.

View of Galle Oval from the Galle Fort.

Galle Fort, Galle.
On reaching Galle where the train stopped to picked up passengers to Mantara, I decided to disembark the train as I would like to roam around Galle town where the Galle Fort is located. After agreeing the price with a ‘tuk tuk’ driver for the short tour of the Galle Fort and the trip to coastal town of Mirissa was discussed I was on the move  again starting with the tour of the Galle Fort. The Galle Fort is a small town within it’s walls which was built by the Portuguese, fortified by the Dutch and then taken over by the British. The town was once  the major southern port of Sri Lanka attracting traders from all over the world. The fort also boasts buildings with the architecture of the former colonialists and also filled with churches, masjids and temples of the Buddhist faith. It withstood the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami which crippled Galle town. The Galle Oval which hosts many cricket tests and One Day International matches is located just outside Galle Fort.
Kogalla Beach
Aircraft Restaurant 

Galle to Mirissa

The ‘tuk tuk’ ride to Mirissa was an enjoyable one as the views of the Indian Ocean was never ending. I stopped at Kogalla beach for a late lunch at an interesting themed restaurant. The restaurant was actually an aircraft that had belonged to the Sri Lankan Air Force as the restaurant was just beside an air force base. I was thinking the Sri Lankan Air Force might have a share in it as I could see some Air Force personnel operating the restaurant. It was a good experience. 

Mirissa habour at dusk.
I arrived at my hotel in Mirissa to some disappointing news – my ‘Swimming with the Whales’ event  had to be cancelled due to the forecasted heavy seas the next day. Sigh……
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