Sri Lanka, situated just below the tapered Indian peninsula is the spice island that offers many different options, where you can visit the ancient cities with extraordinary charm and immerse yourselves in the wilderness of the forest, as also have an unforgettable swim on the reef, to meeting the people, who gladly shares through the dramatic experiences of their everyday life. I decided to write this travel blog to encourage other hesitant parents, to travel with their children freely.
Our first trip on the island dates back a few years back, living intensely the country, especially in its southern part, not just through travelling the major attractions, but also through penetration into lives of the common people we met during our stays, with children and with their stories.
The last journey had the same characters with me, my wife, our children for a 5 day trip. The long days, went too quickly, where the tropical island has given us even the exotic atmosphere, along with the poignant touch with the many stories of the territory, which abounds in its myths and legends. The island is also the cradle of two thousand years of civilization, a country known since ancient times as a land of pearls, spices and elephants, the home of a hospitable and gentle people.
In addition to these moments of deep understanding the myths surrounding the places, we had a glimpse of mysticism and religious intensity during our visit to the Buddhist temple, located on the promontory that separates the Gulf of Galle from that of Unawatuna. Amidst intense and bright days, we spend time along the coast of Mirissa beach, which boasts of being an extraordinary cove along with a multicolored and multiethnic beach, and Weligama, a paradise for fishermen and surfers.
The spice island can then be experienced in many ways and many paths are possible for the discovery of extraordinary historical and archaeological remains from the spectacular ancient city Polonnaruwa, Sigiriya, Anuradhapura and Dambulla, along with the extraordinary coastal town of Galle with its strong winds, Kandy, an ancient capital and sacred city and enormous wealth of biodiversity contained in reserves such as Sinharaja Forest Reserve and in national parks.
The nature shows a double, fascinating face with wild rain forests and man-made environments of internal hilly areas and tea plantations. To the south, the most important city is Galle, founded by the Dutch in 1600. The area of the fort and the buildings that houses are light years away from the busy and populated newest shopping area. The visit of the fortifications, especially at sunset, is incomparable.
Moving toward the west, after about 15 minutes of the coastal road, we arrive in the large bay of Unawatuna, considered one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, which was earlier destroyed by the tsunami and now laboriously recovered. We are about three hours from Matara, the other major city located along the south coast. Between Galle and the latter there are small coves or long stretches of sandy beaches with coral reefs, where we swim in peace.
In recent years, although the coast has become the privileged place of holidayers and many hotel facilities, resorts and villas, we just leave the main road and penetrate for a few hundred meters inland to experience a completely different atmosphere and appreciate one of the true faces of the island amidst lush green rice fields, banana plantations and plantations of coconut palms and an exuberant nature with the overbearing presence of animals like monkeys, herons and lizards.
A trip to any place in the world, is not complete immersion in the destination country if you live and do not explore the local cuisine. What could be more beautiful than the feeling of a fragrance that bursts from the typical dishes of Sri Lanka with the curry rice, a generous portion of rice served with various side dishes of vegetables, chicken and fish, flavored with just the curry.
Other popular dishes include noodles or fried rice cooked with vegetables, usually zucchini and carrots and eggs, Roti and Kottu, a kind of flatbread fried with minced meat or vegetables. For breakfast we had balls of steamed rice vermicelli, accompanied by some dishes like chicken and vegetable curry. The fruit then was something exceptional from fresh bananas, pineapples and papayas, which are found everywhere and they taste so authentic you will remain engraved for a long time.
Sri Lanka is an island that remains in the heart. It was fascinating for its unspoilt nature, animals, free elephants in nature that can be found along the streets, its beautiful beaches and seas full of fish as well. In Sri Lanka we decipher the myths as we meet people, who always has a smile and on the beaches we couldn't miss the whales and the indescribable thrill of being a few meters from her or surrounded by hundreds and hundreds of jumping dolphins.