We got off the train in Galle and decided to walk the 14 minutes to our hostel. Aside from every single tuktuk driver beeping at us, we got to the place in an uneventful fashion. We couldn’t work out how to get in the entrance of the hostel as the main gate was closed and there was a sign with 2 phone numbers written in pen on the door and both were out of service. We sat on our bags in a semi-abandoned state when a man came out of the guesthouse next to us, he informed us that the people who ran the hostel had packed up shop and gone back to China, updating nothing and no-one to their decision. But he had a room, and we could stay if we needed to. It was an easy decision and we allowed ourselves to be rescued.
Galle is a wonderful city on the southwest tip of Sri Lanka. According to wiki (the font of all knowledge) the Portuguese arrived in the 16th century when Galle was the main port. Shortly after, in 1640 the Sinhalese King invited the Dutch over to help fight the Portuguese, and in true colonial style the price Sri Lanka would pay was all major ports and Tamil regions of their country being taken by the Dutch. The history of Sri Lanka is long and complex but very interesting, so do your googles because this is not a history lesson. The Portuguese built a fortified city in Galle – apparently the best example of one in south-east Asia – this was then further fortified by the Dutch in the 17th century and is now a world heritage site. Maybe this is a history lesson….
Now Galle Fort is used as a sort of shopping/tourist area. Around the perimeter there are some historical buildings, a museum, and the courts. In the old dutch hospital you will find some shops and restaurants. The top floor gets a lovely breeze and great sea views. We stopped for iced tea at One Minute By Tuk Tuk which is a small cafe on the upper level. Galle is dotted with wonderful little places like this. If you like a slower pace of life I recommend Galle for a few days of pootling about. It might be too slow for some (my husband thinks you should only visit Galle for a single day) but if you enjoy hidden cafes, fruit markets spilling onto the street, historic buildings, and no crowds, then this might be the place for you.
Bus to Mirissia
The bus from Galle to Mirissa saved us time and money in the end because the bus drops you off right at Mirissa beach and only costs 90 rupees each (£0.40). They run every 30 minutes from the huge bus station near the train station in Galle. There are people who stand outside the bus and shout destinations so you can confirm with them that it is the correct bus. You take a seat and pay when the ticket conducter walks through. If you have large bags and choose not to leave it in the luggage rack at the front then you buy will need to buy a seat for your bag too. We are traveling with one 55 liter Osprey Farpoint and one 40 liter Osprey Fairview so we managed to stuff them under our feet.