When I was about seven, I think, and it was my first time visiting Mumbai (then Bombay), I believed that every alley and every street would somehow dead-end into the Arabian Sea. Imagine my disappointment, then, to find that most of Bombay dead-ended into a snarl of traffic somewhere instead of dead-ending into the ocean!
Finally, donkeys’ years later, to my utter joy, I discovered Galle Dutch Fort – a UNESCO heritage site of a fortified city surrounded by ramparts on all sides, built by the Dutch somewhere in the 17th century. And here was at last, a childhood dream come true – where every street, yes, every street and every alley dead-ended into the Sea! Even streets like these, with mildewed, sepia-toned walls…!
But first the Dutch fort itself – colored ominous grey on a rainy afternoon in October. And what is the first edifice to be built by any race to inhabit a new land? It is usually and always a Church, or a temple – in other words, a place of worship.
So here it was – the Dutch Reformed Church – standing tall against a rainy sky.
So, if you like me, love Europe, for all its cobble-stoned beauty, you would find yourself mesmerized by Galle. As holiday romances go, this is one such that you would want to keep coming back to. All of cobble-stoned Galle is lined with pretty little cafes, restaurants, knick-knack stores selling all sorts of things you don’t ever really need, but want (and how badly!!), and gems, of course (for which Sri Lanka is so famous). While I had the propensity of spending another half a day inside the Barefoot store at Galle, what really had me like a kid in a candy store was the ‘Stick No Bills’ Village poster store. (I have been a stationery addict for as long as I can remember!)
As atmospheric little seaside cobble-stoned towns go, there is little that compares to Galle. SO much so, that I decided to come back for one more day’s worth of stay, after Tangalle! And here’s where we stayed at – Fortaleza Hotel. What’s not to like about a hotel that has a cafe with distressed walls that look like this and a room with muslin mosquito nets hanging from a four poster and a porthole of a window?
Galle, you little charmer of a seaside town, you. You have me under your spell. Who says charm is the Irishman’s middle name? The title, you gentlemen, now belongs to Galle – undisputably.
And all of this made possible by my wonderful friend, and the intrepid little travel venture she leads, by the name of Wonderful world getaways!
Blog reproduction from Mohana Talapatras blog at http://goo.gl/8t7M26