Architecture all over


At 6am we cycled through quiet streets to explore the Galle Fort in the cool. On the way we spoke to an aged man of friendly disposition, orange dyed beard and few teeth, a ‘retired person’ as he described himself, formerly an English teacher. People are interested to know our country of origin and our occupations. ‘IT Manager’ is an acceptable response but ‘Librarian’ elicits genuine respect – a real profession. Brief discussions of cricketing matters often follow.

The Fort is a small world of its own. We walked around the ramparts, also a popular activity for Sri Lankan men who want to keep fit. At school time hundreds of school children swarmed in by foot and vehicle causing a traffic jam. We had breakfast of curd and treacle followed by egg hoppers with curry at the New Orient Hotel, a very pukka establishment.

View from western ramparts

Then we took a short ride along the coast to see the Lighthouse Hotel, built by renowned Sri Lankan architect, Geoffrey Bawa. On the way I spoke to a couple of itinerant knife sharpeners who had whetstones mounted on their bicycles. They needed more customers so I wished them good luck.

Bring out your blunt knives!

The Lighthouse Hotel has a lovely shady terrace overlooking the Indian Ocean and an amazing spiral staircase decorated with sculptures depicting the Portuguese arriving in Galle and subsequent battle with local warriors.

Lighthouse Hotel sculpture by Laki Senanayake

The Cathedral of St Mary is a prominent landmark in Galle so we went to look at it, passing a nearby Hindu temple under construction and still in monochrome.

Post siesta we travelled in the other direction to the Japanese Peace Pagoda, situated on a forested headland overlooking Galle harbour from the east. This involved mixing it with the A2 traffic again and riding up a really steep hill.

Japanese Peace Pagoda, Unawatuna

We are getting pretty good at handling the crazy traffic. The combination of large trucks and buses, cars, vans, motor bikes, bicycles, tuk tuks and pedestrians (no footpaths) makes for a rather exhilarating atmosphere of simultaneous caution and risk taking. It’s kind of fun to be part of it!

The house we are staying in was built 2 years ago, based on the old Dutch style, with 5m high ceilings.

One Response to “Architecture all over”

  1. rosalind powrie Says:

    The swarm of humanity,sounds like being part of local life there is a connecting experience-in the buzz. Enjoy your last few days xRos

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