Day 11 - Heading home from Sri Lanka today. We are being picked up by another minivan at 2.30pm to take us to Negumbo airport for our flight home leaving at 6.20pm
Final morning in Columbo, met Sam and Rob at 8.30am in hotel this morning to make use of the rooftop infinity pool, before we headed out for one final explore.
Squinting photo into the sun.
Infinity pool view, we said with the clouds it could be the Norfolk coastline, not Sri Lanka!
Dried off and headed off out at 9.30am. We picked up two tucs outside the hotel and told them we wanted to get to the Red Mosque, who thought it could be so hard to get anywhere, taxis are very willing but have no idea where anything is in Columbo. I gave our driver directions and he took us to a big red shopping centre, before eventually getting us there. The girls in the other tuc jouned us 20mins later, they had abandoned theirs and walked the last half mile as their driver could only say 'yes' so he was useless and got them totally lost!
We then moved on into the bustling side streets for more local shopping in the Pettah Market are, girls buying sparkly things in one of the haberdashery, rob brought a bag, we tried to buy some long sleeved shirts in designs we liked, but they didn't have our sizes, and they kept bringing out different design shirts we didn't like, as well as then chasing us round the market with more shirts, really funny 🤣!
Rob checking out the bling chains.... not sure if he is buying or not?
Left the market just as the afternoon monsoon rains descended again in two tucs at 12noon to head back to the hotel to finish packing everything into our rucksacks, have a final shower and change into something cleanish?!? for the flights home. Thankfully the hotel were amazing and allowed us a late check out at 2.30pm on both rooms.
Final shopping opportunity at Negumbo Airport before eventually checking bags.
Leaving Negumbo at 6.20pm Tuesday night, flying on to Dubai for a 3 hour stop over.
Me and Julia had a beer and burger and chips each which cost us nearly £65! but we said it is what it is as we are in Dubai, and it was very nice.
Our flight departed Dubai at 00.40am Wednesday morning (6.5hr flight), and we arrived in Schiphol airport at just after 5am local time, and have been here since then before our flight to Norwich boards at 1.10pm local time, departing at 1.40pm.
Nearly home now, last leg of the journey before the taxi journey home! We have been up for so many hours now, through numerous different time zones we are not quite sure where we are.
Day 10 - Columbo.
We arrived in Columbo early pm and checked in to the Renuka City Hotel in the Galle Road area of Columbo (District 3). A popular tourist area in the centre of everything. We had a quick freshen up and then got a couple of tuc tucs up to the very old and colonial Galle Face Hotel.
Our hotel on the Galle Road, and our room below.
The Galle Face Hotel is apparently the best place to have a cocktail and watch the sun go down.
There were lots of cocktails to choose from; many named as you can see above after famous celebrities who have stayed at the hotel over the years.
The recommendations were absolutely correct the cocktails and the snacks were excellant! 🍸🍹
The beautiful sunset over the sea behind the Galle Face Hotel.
We then took two tuc tucs up to the fixed price State Owned Gift and Souvenir Boutique called Laksala for some final shopping and gifts. (Sam) Now what shall I buy.........?
Then back to our hotel for a shower and change before heading out for our final meal in Sri Lanka. We had found what was described as a traditional Sri Lankan village setting serving traditional Sri Lankan cuisine, it was called Nuga Gama, and was situated in the grounds of a huge Las Vegas style hotel complex called The Cinnamon.
The food and ambience was lovely, everything cooked fresh, and a fantastic mix of food and flavours. A very fitting last meal with our besties in an outstandingly beautiful and friendly country.
We then moved on the the Cheers bar in the same hotel for more drinks, a very bizarre place designed to look like a traditional english pub where people can still smoke inside, very surreal and we all found it highly amusing.
We then moved on to the pool bar area of the same hotel for final drinks of our new favourite spirit Arrack and coke (coconut liqueur) which we have been drinking all this trip.
Then back to our hotel, last morning in Sri Lanka tomorrow!
Day 10 - Hiikaduwa to Columbo.
We have a minivan booked to pick us all up from our hotel at 10.30am this morning. Met with Besties for breakfast at Chami's Place where wr ate last night as the food was soooo good!
First stop on route to Columbo was the Sea Turtle Hatchery & Rescue Centre also in Hiikaduwa.
We found out from the owner how they rescue sea turtles when they have been injured by man i.e. (damage to their shells and limbs by fishing nets, boat propellers etc).
We saw the following sea turtles they currently have in their care:
And the Albino sea turtle.
The egg hatchery; as man also takes the eggs from nests the beach to eat, as some sea turtles can live anything from 100 to 200 years, so people think eating the eggs will give them a longer life.
Julia holding a baby sea turtle, they are very strong.
Sea turtle missing both left limbs.
Sea turtle with badly damaged shell, that has been repaired.
And who knew that the heart of a sea turtle only beats 16 times a minute, and that they are also ticklish around the top edge of their shells, much like us if someone tickles your ribs
A place well worth visiting, and a worthy cause to support while we were on the island. Beautiful creatures who need to be protected; and who we were both very lucky to get the chance to swim with in the Indian ocean in Mirissa when we went snorkelling.
Next stop Columbo (2.5 hr drive away).
Day 9 - Hiikaduwa - Hotel Finlanka
Waiting for the rain to stop after arriving at hotel, before we went out exploring Hiikaduwa.
Local fresh fruit and vegetable market market near the beach.
Had to make quick impromtu stop at The Coral Sands Hotel on way back to our hotel as the monsoon rains fell heavy once again.
Wet road to our hotel
Because of the time of year we struggled to find any of the restaurants we had searched for in town actually being open; so we ended up in a place called Chami's Place in Hotel Santi (a 2min walk from our hotel), run by a cool guy called Chami. The food was amazing and so fresh.
And we both couldn't have been in better company with our Besties! 💕🍻😊
A great end to a very wet day.
Day 9 - Talalla Bay Beach House to Galle.
(Now starting to make our way up the coast to Columbo/Negumbo for our flight home on Wednesday evening).
Left hotel at 10am after a fantastic breakfast as per yesterday, but with traditional spicy omelettes.
We will miss this beautiful little hotel
We hired a driver and van for the best part of the day to get us up to Galle and then wait for 3 hours while we explored.
Lovely place, feels very different culturally to other places we have been on our trip.
Stopped for a drink in the bar above with the Morris Oxford outside.
As we went to leave the monsoon heavens opened and we all got drenched and ended up in the Royal Seafood Chinease Restaurant for our last lunch and drinks with Trish snd Andy, who were heading back to Talalla to collect their luggage before they fly home to San Francisco early am Tuesday morning.
The rain was relentless outside, so we ended up with a plate of seafood rice each.
At 2pm our driver arrived to collect us, we all said our goodbyes, until the next time, and made our way up to Hikkaduwa and our next hotel (Hotel Finlanka).
The rain was of biblical proportions on our journey up the coast (Picture above of what should be grass tennis courts, now full of water!).
Day 8 - Talalla Bay Beach House.
First day with no tucs, very strange!
Woke up around 9am for breakfast, our host, Nimini was amazing following a crazy Finish Line party on Saturday night. Breakfast consisted of tea and coffee, toast, bananas, water melon, papaya, buffalo curd and treacle. Absolutely delicious!
Spent a lazy day snoozing, catching up with the blog on the balcony during a full day monsoon downpour. We made plans for the next couple of days with Sam and Rob, before heading out mid afternoon for a walk along the beach for a Lion Beer and and some delicious snacks.
This was followed by a dip in the indian ocean which was what we all needed.
Evening meal Buffet was at the Talalla Retreat hotel a short down the beach.
We were all pretty tired following finish line party on Saturday and were all back at our rooms by 9.30pm.
The Finish Line - WE MADE IT!!! 😊😊👍
A massive THANK YOU!!!!!! to everyone who has sponsored us all, supported us, followed our adventures and believed in us and what we are doing.
It it has been a truly amazing and sometimes quite surreal 7 days on the road, clocking up a total of 777km in the fabulous company of our team mates and Besties, an adventure which we did not want to end.
We were very sad to say goodbye to our tuc at the finish line, and it feels weird not to be driving it today, it looked after us and kept us safe, and touch wood we had no mechanical issues during the trip (unlike many of the other teams).
Awesome finish line location, and a 10min walk up the beach to our hotel 👍
We handed over our tuc, keys, paperwork and toolkit to officially sign off the run. Then back to the hotel for quick shower and change before Team KittyHats, Team Rob Diamonte and the Disco Cats and the Team with No Name hit the finish line party at 6.30pm 🎉🏝🍻🍻🍻🍹🍹!
Julia won a non award of a painted gold cricket bat for getting back in to the tuc the day after her now infamous storm drain incident!! We have just got to get it home now?
New friends, great fun, good food, drink, dancing and a very late night for me.... did not get in til about 3am this morning, then up at 9am for breakfast, and we are feeling surprisingly good, but tired.
Day 7 - Final day of the Sri Lanka Rickshaw Run! - Total of 59km only today as quite close to the finish line.
We met with the team for breakfast, leisurely morning, some swimming, re-packing our rucksacks etc. Left baggage at hotel and went out for final run in the tucs to Matara, a busy local town.
Julia driving again, she's really getting the hang of this now! Very proud of her 👍😁💕
Dutch Market in Matara.
Our tuc tuc.
Temple on island in the sea with bridge.
Bridge not that safe, so decided not to stay too long......!
Tucs on the sea front.
Even an ice cream tuc tuc! 😊🍦, they are very popular and we have seen quite a few around.
We drove down to the lighthouse.
Beautiful little cove.
Rob contemplating life................
Quick drink stop at roadside boat restaurant in Talalla.
We just had to!
Then back to Dickwella Resort and Spa to collect our bags and head back to Talalla to check into our finish line hotel, before heading to the finish line!!!!!!!!!
Talalla Bay Beach House.
Day 6 - Total of 96km today. Me, Julia, Andy and Trish went out for the day together. Day started slowly with breakfast and a dip in the pool. Off to go snorkelling up the coast in Mirissa at 1pm.
Our snorkelling guides were excellant we got to see a massive sea turtle close up as well as a manta ray, barracuda, eels, rock fish, puffa fish, all in about 50 mins! A truly memorable experience 😊🌊🐡🐠
We then stopped for lunch as we were all starving and had fresh roti and kottu in a roadside restaurant.
Then on road again heading further up the coast to try and find the elusive Sri Lankan fishermen on sticks.
We found the sticks, but unfortunately no fishermen...
Headed back to Dickwella for drinks, and then walked out to the Mahi Mahi beach bar for our final meal on the last night of the run, before the finish line on Saturday. 😥😥
Day 5 - Total of 106km today driving from Udawalawa down to Dickwella.
Got up and ready at 7am, We are very excited! off to visit the Elephant Transit House about a 1.5km drive away from our hotel to watch the baby elephants being fed at 9am (this is a fantastic place where abandoned elephant calves are cared for until they are old enough to be released back into the wild). Our hotel had even made us all a pack up breakfast to take out with us!!!!!
Then from there back to the local hospital to get Julia's leg dressing changed.
Then back to hotel for a bit of R & R before hitting the road again.
Left hotel at 12.30pm and got back on the road.
Extremely hot and humid today, so plenty of roadside stops to let the tucs cool down before continuing on again, managed to get freshly cooked sweetcorn on the side of the road (my favourite!).
From there we headed for the south coast, Julia driving and me navigating, we managed to lose our team mates and we ended up on the coast road with no internet/map location! Eventually got directions to a little beach bar by the sea.
From there we continued on to the giant buddha statue at Wewrukannala Buduraja Maha Viharaya. (50 metres high and you can climb up into the head and look out of the eyes).
By this time the light was starting to fade fast again, so needed to get to a hotel, so look what we found about 10mins up the road in Dickwella!
View from our room out on to beach.....
Ended day with an amazing meal of jumbo prawns and coconut rice overlooking the indian ocean with our adventure buddies 🌊💕🌞
Now here for 2 nights (Thursday and Friday).