Imagine this: Getting up in the morning to the sound of the waves. Sipping on a tropical fruit juice while watching the surfers waiting for their moment to shine. Being served a delicious breakfast. Jumping into the refreshing pool and sunbathing for a bit before lunch awaits you. Having a walk on the sandy beach then going for an excursion in the tuk-tuk… That’s what we call “spoilt rotten” – that’s how we felt living in Matara.
We thought we deserved a break from traveling;-) and booked into a friend’s private house on the Southern tip of Sri Lanka for 21 days. The service, the accommodation and especially the people that came with it exceeded our expectations. Lali, the manager, was always ready for a chat and the man to turn to if something had to be organised. His wife, the queen of curries, made sure we became true Sri Lankan food lovers – and showed us how to make rotti. And lovely Supun anticipated our every wish and made our stay a memorable one.
Don’t get us wrong. Yes, we got spoilt rotten, but we didn’t just stay in the safety of the pool for three weeks. Simply walking to the beach meant dodging falling coconuts, weaving in and out of monkeys and stepping over the resident lizard. Once in the sea, the waves pounded you like a Thai massage. On the road, there’s never a dull moment being a passenger in a tuk-tuk – especially at dusk and with extreme gradients. And the most nerve-wracking of all (for me, John says): Raising our heart-rate at the snake farm where the owner goaded several venomous cobras with his foot. Suspiciously, he was not around for the second visit due to a foot injury.
We truly loved it. The pampering and the adventures. But as much as we hated to say “goodbye”, we started feeling a tingle in our feet. The impatience of travelers, I guess, to go and see more. To move on. And that’s exactly what we do now. We are back on the move.
Some of our highlights:
- Eating like kings. We enjoyed all the Sri Lankan food that found its way onto our table, but these dishes were are absolute favourites: Fresh fruit juice, fresh fruit (papaya, mango and pineapple) and pancakes for breakfast, rotti, khottu, Supun’s grilled fish (probably the best fish we’ve ever eaten), spicy aubergines and green beans… and the curries, of course.
- Hitting the roads in a tuk-tuk.
- Visiting the lively fishing harbour in Dewinuwara and the busy food market in Matara (every Wednesday and Sunday).
- Having snakes caressing our necks at the snake farm.
- Watching the local fishermen in their narrow catamaran fishing boats.
- Welcoming dad / granddad and Sylvia and spending five adventurous days with them.
- Walking the streets of quaint Galle.
- Spotting elephants, crocodiles and leopards in Yala National Park. The baby elephant made our day.
- Witnessing a local character harvesting the coconuts in our garden.
- Learning how to make rotti. Come to ours to taste it when we’ll be back.
- Visiting a remote cinnamon farm in the jungle and watching the spice production in progress.
- Spontaneously barbecuing with some strangers from Switzerland on our veranda. They are no strangers anymore.
- Even stranger: A likeable Czech couple getting married in our garden and inviting us to their wedding.
- Being stunned by the dramatic evening skies that look different every day.
The learning curve:
- The honking sound of a vehicle can mean several things: Hello. Goodbye. Thank you. Look out! Do you need a ride? Get out of my way! …or just because.
- Holding onto your children in a rough see means when you fall you drag them under as well.
- Mosquitos are not deterred by the local repellent.
- Cashew nuts are paid by the piece – not per grams or kilograms. We bought 100 nuts. That took a while.