Galle Tours – Sri Lanka, Galle
About this place
Old Galle is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Galle Fort itself is still a living monument with a bustling community within the great ramparts, massive bastions, pepper pot towers, while narrow streets display its Dutch heritage with beckoning pillared verandas and fretwork facades. Walking around is best so you can peep through frangipani filled courtyards at houses, galleries or shops selling antiques, spices, pictures, nouveau-boule and hand-woven sarongs. Boutique hotels in Galle incongruously cheek by jowl with postage-stamp size cafes, so you are never far from a perfect sun-downer. Pondicherri meets Cadaques! But step outside the Citadel, and a different city with a different agenda is the ‘New Galle’ tussling with bustle, noise and chaotic traffic coming in every direction. Keep a hanky close for exhaust fumes or a whiff of Old Delhi can get very much in yer face! Especially at the Dutch Market where fruit and vegetable sellers hawk their wares or the Fish Market where today’s catch is chilling. After the mayhem of the day be sure that wherever there is the greatest view, a veritable gem of architecture secretly sits, glamorous and illusive as an old movie star, meticulously restored from 300-year old merchant’s villa, with cobbled courtyards now transformed into glistening sea-water pools.
The early traders got blown into Serendib’s ancient port by the Trade Winds which acted as shuttle service for Roman, Greek, Arab and Chinese who came and saw and conquered prizes of ‘gold, silver, ivory, apes and peacocks’. Today’s traveller can use those very same winds to kite-surf. Or deep sea fish, dive, trek to rainforests, see Buddhist temples, explore eco-villages which makes time stand still, promenade on stone ramparts 20 meters thick and let history and legend seep into his bones in “one of the world’s last authentic island destinations”.
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