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"The bags back on a roll and read. It's go real fast board amateur traveler episode six hundred and sixty seven today the amateur traveler talks about cities and national parks and Temples Botanical Gardens and an orphanage for elephants as we go to the island nation of Sri Lanka welcome to the immature traveler. I'm your host Chris Christensen. Let's talk about Sri Lanka. I'd like to welcome the show. Mike Powers of small of the Road Dot blog spot dot C._A.. And Mike has come to talk to us about Sri Lanka. Mike Welcome to the show thanks very much Chris great demand the show and what is your connection with Sri Lanka just as a tourist really honestly didn't know much about Sri Lanka until told just recently and more learn about it just kind of got more and more interested in it and decided to spend two weeks there while you're traveling for three months in Asia excellent you mean you didn't know anything except for the other version we did of immature travelers actually did go back to two is actually quite good and I I did did you that for my plan and just so you could episode and why should somebody go to Sri Lanka. Really what was appealing is. There's so much variety in this country in such a small space. You know it's got a lot of colonial history. Starting with the Portuguese the Dutch the British certainly has influences from India and China as well more recently a lot of incredible natural scenery and wildlife of course. It's got nice beaches and go with that friendly people very hospitable country and actually quite affordable. We stayed at places as cheap as twenty five dollars a night that were very nice and then at the other spectrums can stay eh literally what would be considered a four or five star resort here for less than two hundred dollars which is really incredible value excellent and what kind of itinerary are you gonNA recommend for us. Thank you typically suggest about a week so in our case we spent two weeks there but you could easily contents it down to a week tour. You're going to be able to see a lot of an awful lot in a short space and so we're going to take you through a route starting Columba where you'll fly in typically typically and head south to the beach area in the southwest area of the country a little further south into the Dutch colonial town of Gaul and on a couple of hours on their two Yala national park for a safari and then we cut in straight into the center of the country through the mountains mountains through the tea plantations to an area called Horton's plain National Park in then onto candy which is really the start of the what they call the cultural triangle and a lot of really incredible historical sites and then back to Colombo and I we did spend a couple of days in Colombo and I would say it's definitely where it's been a little bit of time there as well excellent. Will you start at us there. Let's talk about Colombo. I what are we going to do there for us. We actually started in theory okay but we ended up in Colombo and it had a number of sites that are worthwhile. I think the pet market was most popular for us. It's just this crazy kind of hectic place. <hes> a great place to start is at the Red Mosque this red and white Moss right at the edge of the pedal market and you wander through these narrow narrow roadways and alleyways with all these interconnected buildings with little walkways winding through the buildings and it's just full of these vendors just going about their daily work really not catering to tourists at all. It's very much for the local population. It's just a very chaotic. I mean some of the shots who saw were just crazy. There was one spot fought where there were just literally two people sitting underneath a narrow little stairwell fixing phones for people crazy stuff like that so really that was kind of an interesting place to wander for a bit and we also stayed at the Gulf Ace hotel there which I know you're on your first podcast was also talked about an and I can say it is still a great place to stay just very atmospheric historic hotel dating back to about eighteen sixty four. It's actually was built before or some of the other hotels that you may have heard of the Raffles Hotel was actually built thirty five years before that so a lot of history infected got their own historian. If you can believe in our own Little Museum Zia in the hotel there have run into that at a few different hotels and it it still catches me by surprise when a hotel whips out their historian but <hes> yeah it's it's something to even at U._S.. Hotels and it does have a lot of interesting guests there. I mean a lot of authors that Mark Twain Arthur C Clarke Clar kipling hemingway among other so it's just a neat place to hang out and incredible views to out over the Indian Ocean especially at sundown in fact right got this little routine where Sri lanting guy comes out in a Scottish kill with bagpipes and they do their flag lowering ceremony and everybody county it sounds a little coordinated but it's kind of fun and it's definitely a nice spot to sit on the veranda there and watch the sun go down and I did notice that it actually made the book a thousand places to to see before you die now. I know that author who is a very charming woman by the way we have met but she does tend to like hotels a lot so it's really five hundred hotels is that you should stay in before you die in five hundred really cool places but this is one of the hotels that she picked for them. Yeah it definitely makes the list so that was Colombo. There's other things to I see do there but I think maybe we could move a little further. South to the beach area which I know is popular especially a lot of the European to go to Sri Lanka then we went to Eric called Ben Toda beach inch yet on the southwest coast of Sri Lanka and really fit any of the beaches along there. They're all quite nice and we picked up until the only because because the resort were staying at which quite ice happened to be there. We actually just really took it easy again. This was your adjust to jetlag portion of gas it. It was just I was just GonNa say read my mind. It was planned to kind of overcome the jet land it was a long flight as well so it's nice place arrest up and the other thing that we weren't really anticipating leaving Canada in the wintertime. This was march in the share one really in Canada minus ten minus twenty degrees weather arriving at tropical destination. I can't wait to get off the plane and this nice hot weather but boy was it was quite the adjustment to the letter to it was well over plus thirty and it was almost a little to be honest so as nice of the along the ocean and be able to jump in the ocean and cool down a little bit as we kind of acclimatized to to change there as well. That was a total beach again you could stay at any places there along the coast through there are other things to do as we drove along the coast. I there are a lot of <hes> turtle sanctuaries hatcheries. You can stop at some of them will let you release turtles into the sea the first small fee so something to consider if you have kids along the coast there's also the traditional mask making area is around near a cold Aria pal out and got a little museum there actually I wouldn't maybe spend too much timely museum. It's it's actually kinda stuff <hes> a little bit dark museum but they do have a number of stores in the area around that museum where you can pick up a master asked if you're looking for a souvenir so that's that's worth stop if you're looking for a souvenir and I can't picture in my mind what a Sri Lankan mask looks like you know WanNa come in all sizes shapes and all kinds of grimacing faces anything you want to look at that. You can imagine you'll find. They're just pick one that it just kinda interesting so it's definitely GonNa be a unique kind of handicraft local to Sri Lanka. That's going to give you a reminder of the country so that's what we're after predominantly wooden masks a lot of predominantly what mask could absolutely so on a little more of a somber note you can also stop at this Nami Memorial <hes> actually Kamla bump but the major one is around a town called Pera Lilla and you can't miss right off the highway. There's this giant statue served. The Lord Buddha marking spot in this town literally was quite devastated in the lost about twenty five hundred people you can still see a lot of the foundations bruin of foundations along the roadside and equally can actually see a lot of people built new homes right up to the coast again but this unfortunately was also the site of of the world's worst train disaster with fifteen hundred people lost their lives when this train was literally just pushed right off the tracks by the Sonam who okay not unrelated okay yeah and I'll forewarn you to there's a little photo museum that you can visit just to the entrance of this memorial and some of the photos in that museum humor quite graphic so <hes> especially. If you have kids we weren't quite expected as we walked in a you may want to just be aware of that. The other thing that this this area's known for his gemstones and there's a lot of little operation two can stop at we stopped at a family run operation and it's Kinda neat to see how they mind. The gemstones stones a pull them up from fairly fairly shallow mine. It's only about thirty or forty feet deep awash often use receive to collect the gemstone tone so if you're interested in that as well it's a great place actually purchase a gemstones in that area is wealthy looking for some jewelry and are there particular what types of students that they are known for the one that you can occur only get in this series called the Blue Moonstone that we heard about as were there but there are all kinds literally over about fifty different types of gemstones that they mind their including things like Ruby and Sapphire and things that you that familiar with let's this continue on the coast. Then we headed down towards the south end of the country to the historic Dutch town colonial town of Gaul and actually it was I a Portuguese town come to think of it before it became a Dutch in the seventeenth century but a lot of the remains there or the historic tyzzer or more Dutch today and it's built on this little peninsula that juts out into Ocean thats equated. Stephen towns literally just walk around the town of takes. Maybe an hour to <hes> you're GONNA see a lot of the sites along the way passing you know historic org lighthouse this large clock tower that overlooks a well-known Cricket Stadium there. There's an old Dutch reformed church from the mid seventeen hundreds and then bears remains range from Ford in the military installations..