Having spent nearly 90 hours in bed now, I am growing a little weary of staring at the bedroom walls, so I thought I would dig out my pictures from Galle the other weekend and remind myself of fun days, when daylight didn’t hurt my eyes and my head didn’t persist on complaining that it was being wrought asunder.
This is going to be image-heavy… I have tried to make sure I resize all my pictures so it doesn’t take forever to load.
One of the many UNESCO listed buildings we visited was this tiny Dutch church.
It was very simple and beautiful inside, I loved the painted “stained glass” windows.
This is the christening gown… and gloves? belonging to a local chap of great importance…
And right below is his tombstone. Very neat.
There were beautifully carved tombstones throughout the church – I liked this one, with the dogs:
But nothing beats this one, with its carefully sculpted text and its jolly little skull. I thought it was a very modern-looking design, actually – I haven’t given much thought to my own gravestone, if I should have such a thing, but I would love one like this!
In the church the caretaker was at first very friendly and answered all questions, although he stormed off to shout at someone using a camera (I was snapping all of these on my iPhone so I’m not sure he noticed). It’s not that photos aren’t allowed, he just wanted money for that privilege. Then he came back to me and told me to put my name in the book and money in the box – I read the UNESCO blurb and they just said “any donations are gratefully accepted”, and as I didn’t feel very donate-y I didn’t, but this did not go down well. The man told me in no uncertain words that if I didn’t have any money, I should ask my husband – gesturing at Vijay. My explanation that Vijay was not my husband but just a friend meant that he looked at me with even more horror and disgust, so I shamefacedly dug out some change from my purse and dropped it in the box. I don’t think the sound of the coins in the box redeemed me though – “we like the money that tinkles but we prefer the money that folds”. Church wins.
Ready for a deluge of colour?
Galle was by turns a Portuguese and then a Dutch colony, but has been an international port for centuries (possibly millennia) and it shows.
The sun refused to come out for most of the time we were there – I can’t imagine how beautiful it would be when it’s sunny!
Just like many other coastal areas of Sri Lanka, Galle was hit by the Boxing Day Tsunami, and was miraculously preserved by the sea-facing fort walls, built by the Portuguese and the Dutch. I had a moment – several moments, actually – thinking about how devastating it must have been all along the coast, and how lucky I was to be seeing these ancient buildings which, were it not for the buffer along the sealine right opposite, would have been smashed and destroyed in a few seconds.
Vijay and I walked along the fort walls, which were teeming with locals and day-trippers enjoying the ocean breeze and having lunch. I have never been comfortable with taking pictures of people doing their thing – it was the same in China – so I didn’t take photos of the old ladies decked out in white and having picnics, but it was very picturesque.
Me, trying not to be blown away
The ocean, looking foreboding
I was a bit confused when I first saw this sign:
It seemed incredibly reckless to jump off the fort into the rocky ocean below. But actually (of course!) the idea is you pay a local to jump into the water, for your entertainment. I’m afraid we passed. Plus it started to rain all of a sudden.
We dashed for shelter – getting off the fort wall wasn’t that easy, but the Real Rain held off until we were on the road, and then we had to run for fear of drowning.
We sat inside the serendipitously-named “Serendipity Café” until the storm passed.
Vijay taught me how to play Carrom
I also picked up a book that I would have really liked to buy, about the history of the people living in the Fort, but I didn’t have enough cash on me.
It also featured some of the amazing murals that can be spotted around town:
Vijay got this one of me on his phone – wasn’t posed! But it serves its illustrative purposes, in case you were struggling to imagine what I look like WHEN READING A BOOK.
See also: What I look like when TAKING A PICTURE:
THIS picture, in fact:
The sun came out just as we were leaving. We went past the old Fort Printers – now converted into a restaurant and hotel – and I saw this tantalizing glimpse of its little lap pool. Isn’t it fabulous?