Day 13 of Sri Lanka Trip, to Colombo on July 23, 2017

Towards the end of our tour of Sri Lanka as we planned to take an another train ride back to Colombo. But before that, since we had time, we decided to take another visit to Galle Fort first.

Unawatuna Beach


Unawatuna Beach
The beach here is much wider, and offered more water activities than Mirissa.


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Breakfast


Breakfast
We had this breakfast in a restaurant by Unawatuna Beach. Since the latter half of our journey, there’s little distinction food-wise between our breakfast and other two meals of day.

Just after breakfast, two of my more adventurous friends scouted a surfing club where introductory surfing classes were provided. (Beach-wise Unawatuna was much better than Mirissa.) But for me, bathing in seawater (and occasionally battered by waves) was as much as I’d like to take.

So at about noon, we left the town of Unawatuna and headed for Galle, paid its Fort a final visit.

Galle Fort

During the day with sun shining bright and heat permeating the air, the streets of Galle Fort weren’t as populated as in the dusk.

Main Gate into Galle Fort


Main Gate into Galle Fort
With Coat of Arms and inscription “1668” as year of construction. The gate was widen in the late 19-Century under British rule to allow easy flow of traffic.


Detail of Main Gate


Detail of Main Gate
Inscribed with “ANNO MDCL XIX” (1669), depiction of Dutch Coat of Arms with the ubiquitous emblem of cock and an inset “VOC” (Verenigde Osstindische Compagnie, Dutch East India Company in English) in the center.


Amangalla Hotel


Amangalla Hotel
This building was originally constructed in 1683 (see the inscription in the photo) as Dutch Government House.


Clan House


Clan House
A British mercantile firm called John Black and Company established themselves in Galle Fort in 1847 and built this building. The building was currently under conversion into a hotel.


Flowers and Cafe


Flowers and Cafe


Streets of Galle Fort

Streets of Galle Fort
Streets of Galle Fort


Meeran Jumma Masjid


Meeran Jumma Masjid


Galle Light House Entrance


Galle Light House Entrance
This is Sri Lanka’s oldest light station dating back to 1848, but the original 24.5-meter-high lighthouse built by the British was located about 100 meters from the current site and destroyed by fire in 1934. The existing 26.5-meter-high lighthouse was erected in 1939.


People at Galle Beach


People at Galle Beach
Japanese Peace Pagoda built in 2005 can be seen in the distance.


Flowers


Flowers


Old Dutch Hospital Grounds


Old Dutch Hospital Grounds


Old Dutch Hospital Arcade


Old Dutch Hospital Arcade


Galle District Court


Galle District Court


Magister Square


Magister Square

After that, we left Galle and headed North along the coastal country road. Although we could take the train directly from Galle to Colombo, the (in)famous unpunctuality of Sri Lanka trains (that we encountered later) and the fact that from Galle all the way up till Aluthgama (which is half the journey), the railway was actually farther from sea than country road.
And in this way our driver could take us to some restaurant for lunch, which he knew for sure provided free driver food.

Galle Lighthouse among Bastions


Galle Lighthouse among Bastions


Ceremony Planned on Samanala Play Ground


Ceremony Planned on Samanala Play Ground
Our driver pointed it to us specifically, that this pagoda was built for some ceremony. It’s either wedding or funeral, but I didn’t recall exactly.


Country Road


Country Road


Indian Ocean

Indian Ocean
Indian Ocean


Resort by Indian Ocean


Resort by Indian Ocean

Catching Train

We had lunch in a restaurant in the town of Hikkaduwa. The restaurant manager told our driver there’s a 3:10-ish train at Hikkaduwa to Colombo, which we intended to take, and which we missed by a minute probably because we spent longer than expected checking out the bathrooms after lunch.

Given there’s only a handful of trains per day, sounds disastrous? Not actually, as we came to the ingenious solution of asking our driver to take us to the next train station in the city of Ambalangoda.

So there’s this exciting van vs train race separated by a narrow field, which, since Sri Lanka’s railway infrastructure wasn’t so developed, our van quickly pulled ahead as we cheered our driver up.

Telwatta Railway Station


Telwatta Railway Station

We stopped at this smaller Telwatta Railway Station for a short while. After learning the express train to Colombo wouldn’t stop here, we made our way farther north to Ambalangoda.

Palm Trees


Palm Trees
This narrow field separated the coastal road that we were riding on from the rail tracks.


Costal Road


Costal Road

It took our driver 20 minutes to get Ambalangoda from Hikkaduwa, the “express” train 60 minutes by schedule, and 80 minutes in reality. Didn’t know what happened to the train along the way, but judging by how calm local people were waiting on the platform, I guess this wasn’t uncommon in Sri Lanka.
However, to be fair, it should be a universal truth that single-track railway is susceptible to delay.

Ambalangoda Railway Station


Ambalangoda Railway Station


Ambalangoda Railway Station Interior


Ambalangoda Railway Station Interior
The table on the right displayed the few trains that stopped at this station.

Tracks at Ambalangoda Railway Station

Tracks at Ambalangoda Railway Station
Tracks at Ambalangoda Railway Station


Locomotive Arriving


Locomotive Arriving

Train to Colombo

Compared with the previous highland train to Ella, this coastal train to Colombo was much less crowded, with quite a handful of seats available when we boarded. Expectedly, none were better than its doors.

Traffic on Bentota Bridge


Traffic on Bentota Bridge


Approaching Aluthgama Railway Station


Approaching Aluthgama Railway Station


Aluthgama Railway Station


Aluthgama Railway Station


Scenes along Railway Track

Scenes along Railway Track
Scenes along Railway Track


Indian Ocean and Coastal Road

Indian Ocean and Coastal Road
Indian Ocean and Coastal Road


Maggona Jumma Mosque


Maggona Jumma Mosque


Indian Ocean


Indian Ocean


Scenes along Railway Track


Scenes along Railway Track


New Tracks Being Laid

New Tracks Being Laid
New Tracks Being Laid


Indian Ocean


Indian Ocean


Boats by Ocean


Boats by Ocean
Boats by Ocean


Track and Palm Trees by the Ocean

Track and Palm Trees by the Ocean
Track and Palm Trees by the OceanTrack and Palm Trees by the Ocean
Track and Palm Trees by the Ocean


Palm Trees by the Ocean


Palm Trees by the Ocean


Indian Ocean


Indian Ocean


Signal Lights


Signal Lights


Train Carriage


Train Carriage
Nameplate says this carriage was constructed back in 1990, which was older than me. This train wasn’t as crowded as the Ella one, as it’s not too hard to find an available seat, nor was it as tourist-packed. Of course, I stuck with the best seat, the doors.


Kalu River


Kalu River
Kalu River


Sunshine over Kalu River


Sunshine over Kalu River


Another Train at Kalutara South Railway Station


Another Train at Kalutara South Railway Station
A passing loop on this predominantly single track railway.


Scenes along Railway Track


Scenes along Railway Track


Fields by Indian Ocean


Fields by Indian Ocean


Trail along Railway Track

Trail along Railway Track
Trail along Railway TrackTrail along Railway Track
Trail along Railway Track


Wadduwa Railway Station

Wadduwa Railway Station
Wadduwa Railway Station


People Waiting at Signal Light


People Waiting at Signal Light
Railway track cut through the main entrance of Jie Jie Beach by Jetwing Hotel. So, people both on and off the train were taking photos.


Scenes along Railway Track


Scenes along Railway Track


People Waiting at Signal Light


People Waiting at Signal Light


Scenes along Railway Track

Scenes along Railway Track
Scenes along Railway Track
Scenes along Railway Track


Village by Bolgoda River


Village by Bolgoda River


Sunshine over Bolgoda River


Sunshine over Bolgoda River
Could you believe that those buildings on peninsula belonged to Lanka Academy of Technological Studies, which I assume, the only technology was fishing?


Fishboat on Bolgoda River


Fishboat on Bolgoda River


Trees by the Ocean


Trees by the Ocean


Coastal Railway

Coastal Railway
Coastal RailwayCoastal Railway
Coastal Railway


Scenes along Railway Track

Scenes along Railway Track
Scenes along Railway Track


Moratuwa Railway Station


Moratuwa Railway Station
One of the few multi-platform station on the line.


Coastal Railway


Coastal Railway
Coastal Railway


Scenes along Railway Track

Scenes along Railway Track
Scenes along Railway Track


Younglings Playing on Beach


Younglings Playing on Beach


Party


Party
The friendly Sri Lankan people were waving at us.


Villages by Railway Track

Villages by Railway Track
Villages by Railway TrackVillages by Railway Track
Villages by Railway Track


Trains Passing Each Other


Trains Passing Each Other

Right after Mount Lavinia Railway Station there was a short tunnel. A gentleman informed me that after the tunnel there would be a short segment of track which makes the perfect picture. Yes, for the first time in our journey around Sri Lanka, we saw a proper skyline of Colombo in the distance.

Mount Lavinia Beach


Mount Lavinia Beach
Mount Lavinia Beach
Mount Lavinia Beach
Colombo skyline in the distance.


Villages by Railway Track

Villages by Railway Track
Villages by Railway Track


Coastal Railway

Coastal Railway
Coastal Railway


Sunset over Indian Ocean

Sunset over Indian Ocean
Sunset over Indian Ocean
Sunset over Indian OceanSunset over Indian Ocean
Sunset over Indian Ocean

Quite ironically, thanks to the delay, we were able to watch this spectacular sunset over the Indian ocean.
Here’s a note to camera lovers, this last segment of coastal railway was directly next to ocean, so my camera lens ended up covered in tiny water drops and I do believe their performance was quite significantly impacted. Though after the experience in Moroccan desert, I never bothered to take too much care towards my now-disposable camera.

People on Beach Watching Sunset


People on Beach Watching Sunset


Coastal Railway near Colombo

Coastal Railway near Colombo
Coastal Railway near Colombo
Coastal Railway near Colombo
Coastal Railway near Colombo
It’s close enough to downtown, so there were people taking photos at us.


Coastal Railway near Colombo

Coastal Railway near Colombo
Coastal Railway near ColomboCoastal Railway near Colombo
Coastal Railway near Colombo


Colombo Fort Railway Station Interior


Colombo Fort Railway Station Interior

It took the train more than two hours to cover 84 kilometers of track. But quite to our surprise, we almost arrived at the same time as our driver, who blamed it on the traffic jam near Colombo.

So after that we asked our driver to take us to our Airbnb apartment, thanked him for two weeks of extraordinary service, and ended the day.

Cinnamon Grand Colombo Hotel


Cinnamon Grand Colombo Hotel
Our Airbnb apartment is just next to it.

END

CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 Day 13 of Sri Lanka Trip, to Colombo on July 23, 2017 by Huang's Site is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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