In the wake of the devastating news that happened in Sri Lanka during Easter Sunday, we wanted to share a more positive view on this incredible little island.
Firstly, we want to acknowledge that we have been deeply saddened by this inhumane attack on such a kind spirited country.
We have been fortunate to call this place home for the majority of this year. We arrived in January 2019 for a few weeks and three months later we were forced to leave as our extended visa ran out.
So we planned a short visa run with the expectation of returning and continuing our tropical island dream
Unfortunately, we haven’t been able to return to our second home. Instead, our heart aches for this humble country. Our hearts hurt for the people of this island. The people, of all religions, who are so proud to welcome tourists and share their beautiful home with us.
When we travel, we love to integrate with the locals and get a real feel of local life, get to know the people, the culture and the way of life. And now we send love to all those people we have met. The people who will be impacted directly by the catastrophic news. And also, those who have been indirectly impacted by the attacks, from the likely drop in tourism.
But Sri Lanka, we want you to know, that we will love you and we will miss you dearly. And will be back.
We want to use this opportunity to shout about all the good this island has to offer and share the fond memories we have, with you.
To give you the recognition you deserve here are the unique qualities we love about Ceylon.
1. The abundance of coconuts
If there’s one thing Sri Lanka isn’t short of, it’s coconuts! Whether you need a refreshing refuel during your scooty break on the roadside. Or you need to quench your thirst after a surf. Or a neighbour wants to say hello. Rest assured there will be a coconut close by.
2. The diversity of landscapes
Beach vibes. Yep. Tea plantations. Yep. Jungle. Yep. Whatever mood you’re in, you are spoiled for choice when it comes to the places to visit in Sri Lanka.
3. The magical fireflies
If you didn’t believe in magic and fairytales before, the fireflies of Sri Lanka will reinstate the magic within. Nothing quite beats sitting on the porch with a glass of wine, watching the fire flys dance around you.
Also, fun fact: fireflies are actually beetles. They glow up to deter predators but when the males want to lure in a female, the speed of flashing speeds up.
4. The daily kiddy catcher music
You may be awakened at 6 AM by a sinister rendition of Beethoven’s Für Elise. But the reality isn’t actually as sinister as it may first sound. It’s just the choon paan (AKA tune bread) notifying you that your fresh loaf is ready.
5. The best baked goods in Asia
Leading on from point 3. At least that’s our opinion. After we learned the kiddy catching music wasn’t going to hurt us and actually provided the baked goods, we, of course, had to try. Sri Lanka has some of the best bread and cakes we’ve had during our travels.
6. Keels chicken sausage rolls
AKA Russell’s daily diet… “If you know, you know.” R.Gous 2019
7. The sweetest and juiciest tropical fruit
Living in a tropical environment can only mean one thing; papaya, pineapple, banana, watermelon, coconuts. All day. Everyday.
8. All the different coloured bananas
Because the novelty of a red banana never wears off. The bananas are the punchiest, sweetest delights.
9. Coconut Sambol
Breakfast, lunch and dinner for us, please. Coconut sambol is an essential Sri Lankan dish. Coconuts are the biggest export to Sri Lanka. And it’s clear to see why. They are everywhere. Therefore expect to have coconut in pretty much every dish.
The coconut sambol was a personal favourite though. It’s simply made with grated coconut, garlic, chilli, lime juice and a little salt. That’s it. A sweet, creamy, zesty explosion to the taste buds.
Serve with hoppers, curry, rice. Delicious.
The Sri Lankan hopper. What can we say! This is another stable to the Sri Lankan diet and to us, became great comfort food. These dome filled pancakes are a taste sensation. Made with rice flour. Typically served at breakfast with a dippy egg inside. Yum.
We promise we did more than eat….
11. Wild and wonderful variety of animals and wildlife
Monkeys, peacocks, kingfishers, monitor lizards, elephants, mongoose, iguanas, cats, dogs…. the list is endless.
And you can even safari in Sri Lanka!
12. Freedom of the scooty…. and bicycle
There’s no better feeling than driving along with the wind blowing in your hair and the sun beating down on you. We have so many memories driving along the south coast on the scooty and bikes watching the sea turn a different colour.
13. Fresh seafood
Being right next to the coast, we tried our best to avoid a daily diet of tuna ceviche.
14. Surfing for all
No matter what your level; there are waves for all. Hikkaduwa, Weligama, Midigama, Hiriketiya and Arugam Bay are the hot spots for surfing. And with surfing comes smoothie bowls…
15. THE train journey
Travelling inland is a must when in Sri Lanka. Your eyes will begin to turn green, with the abundance of trees and greenery. And of course, the Ella to Kandy journey is a must. It’s clear to see why this was voted the worlds greatest train journey.
16. The beautiful Sinhalese language
Nothing quite like greeting our neighbours in the morning with subha davasak! ‘hello’ and receiving a big smile in return. Although towards the end of our travels we learned this was a very extra way of saying hello, like a very grand Good day to you!
Not one of the easier languages for us to learn. But we really appreciated some of the beautiful names of people and places.
17. Cold curry buffet (more food…)
Because who doesn’t love a buffet curry for £2.
18. Bird watching
It was in Sri Lanka we discovered our love for bird watching. If you spot a blue kingfisher, then you may also discover your unknown love for bird watching
19. Greenery & Trees
Everywhere. Like, EVERYWHERE.
20. The incredible Sri Lankan architecture
Sri Lankan’s have a way of building around their environment. This means they rarely impact the nature and most importantly the trees around them, so often houses feel like they have been their as long as the trees.
Homes will have beautiful high ceilings to help ventilate and work as a natural air conditioning. The use of wooden interior and exterior feels comforting. The Sri Lankan home has a way of bringing the outdoors inside.
21. Tea. Tea. And more tea.
So much tea! Every variety of tea you could imagine.
22. The rolling paddy fields.
And watching the peacocks majestically stroll across the fields while the farmer herds his buffalos.
23. Ayurvedic life
Sri Lankans believe heavily in Ayurvedic treatments. This means you can also receive ayurvedic consultation and treatment. Treatments are always formed around natural methods and tend to find the cause of the problem and heal from within.
24. Lion beer
This is a bit of a love/hate. Three months of the same beer can become tiring – a hard life. And can become a little dangerous when you replace water with Lion….
25. Sunsets and Swings
When your daily challenge is finding a free swing to watch the sunset from. And also ruling out each swing to decide on your favourite.
Who pop up when you stop looking for them.
27. THE PEOPLE
Most importantly. We love the people of Sri Lanka. We cannot thank everyone we met during our time for looking out for us during our stay. For welcoming us into your homes, for a cup of tea and biscuits. For sharing your homes with us. For sharing your traditions with us. For making us feel like part of your family. For making us feel safe. We send all of our love to you. We will be back.