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The Grand Hotel: A Step Back in Time

02 Grand Hotel, Nuwara Eliya (31)

If you love visiting and staying in hotels built during the British Colonial era, a great stop is The Grand Hotel in Nuwara Eliya.  The hotel is situated about a mile above sea level in Sri Lanka’s Hill Country, in the heart of the tea-plantations and fields of vegetables.  The Grand Hotel was built in the style of an Elizabethan-era manor house.

Nuwara Eliya was a popular vacation destination for the British and Scottish citizens who took care of the Empire’s business in Sri Lanka during the 19th century, so much so that the region was fondly known as “Little England”.  Much of Sri Lanka is steamy hot year round, but the cool days and nights in the mountains reminded the …

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“Pic of the Week”, August 31, 2018: Galle Face Green, Colombo

15 Galle Face Green (2)

Situated on the Indian Ocean, just north of the historic Galle Face Hotel and south of Colombo’s business district and old Fort region, is a public park known as the Galle Face Green

The park covers 5 hectacres (12 acres) and is a popular place for people to gather, especially at sunset when the beautiful light of the setting sun and cool ocean breezes draws folks in.  The Green has in the past, also served as a horse racing venue, golf course and sports field (football, cricket, rugby).

During my visits to Colombo I enjoyed walking along the Green’s oceanside path just after dawn — one of my ways of dealing with jetlag.  The walk …

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“Pic of the Week”, August 17, 2018: Batticaloa’s Mahatma Gandhi Park

00 Gandhi Memorial Park, Batticaloa

Mahatma Gandhi Park (aka ‘Gandhi Park’) is a fairly new addition to the lagoon waterfront in the heart of Batticaloa town.  Built to honor the great Indian leader, the golden statue of him is definitely designed to capture your attention. 

The park is popular with visitors and locals alike and is a nice place to relax.  While resting on one of the benches, look for fishermen in small canoes or enjoy one of Sri Lanka’s many beautiful sunsets.

(Click on thumbnails to enlarge, right arrow to advance slideshow)

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“Pic of the Week”, July 13, 2018: The Galle Face Hotel Library and Museum

07bGalle Face Hotel tour (48)

I’ve previously shared a post about one of my favorite hotels, namely Colombo’s Galle Face Hotel.  Today I’d like to highlight two areas hotel guests can explore which were new to the hotel since I’d last stayed here.  These were added during the hotels recent upgrades and renovations.

The hotel now has a very fine Library.  A multi-room quiet place with very comfortable arm chairs and sofas, I spent some time here looking around and taking in the framed historic documents, illustrations and maps, and coffee-table books.  I love libraries and had never been to one so sumptuous and inviting in a hotel before.

It was in the library that I discovered where the bust of Sir Arthur C. …

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.All Trips / Asia / Sri Lanka

Seema Malaka Temple, Colombo

01 Seema Malaka Temple, Colombo (4)

One of the most beautiful temples in Colombo — even all of Sri Lanka — is Seema Malaka.  It’s a Buddhist temple situated on calm and peaceful Beira Lake, not far from Gangaramaya Temple Seema Malaka was designed to be a place for meditation and rest, rather than worship.  It’s a quiet spot from which to retreat from the hustle and bustle of Colombo.  

The temple you see today is a replacement for one constructed in the late 19th century which sank into the lake in the 1970s.  In 1976, famed Sri Lankan architect, Geoffrey Bawa (the father of “tropical modernism” style), was hired to redesign and construct the temple.  Bawa’s design was said to be influenced …

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Exploring the Pettah Market, Colombo

00 Pettah Neighborhood Colombo Market 04-2017 (56)

I love to explore markets and walked a few miles to see this one — the Pettah Market in Colombo.  Situated in an older portion of the city, the market extends over several blocks in the Pettah neighborhood and caters to local residents, not tourists. In fact, I think mine was the only white face in the market.  The market was lively, filled with colorful produce and interesting smells, and full of conversation and bartering — as any good market should be.

The fresh produce was beautiful, featuring what was in season, notably pineapples, wood apples, papayas, watermelon and lots of different types of bananas.  A huge assortment of vegetables were piled on the ground or on low tables and a …

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“Pic of the Week”, May 11, 2018: Wild Peacocks, Yala National Park

01 peacock yala

Yala is Sri Lanka’s largest National Park and is best known as a good place to spot leopards (although we didn’t see any).  We did, however, come across lots of wild peacocks — both male and female– including this male who was putting on quite a show for the ladies.  Feather erect and fanned out, he slowly moved in a circle and strutted his stuff!

Peacocks are a type of pheasant, but with distinctive iridescent tail feathers.  As you can see from the bottom photos, the feathers make up over half of the male bird’s body length.  It is believed females choose their partners according to the size and colors of these feather trains.  These birds are blue peacocks, native to …

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“Pic of the Week”, March 30, 2018: Good Friday in Trincomalee

‘s Cathedral, Trincomale (6)

Last year I had the pleasant experience of being in eastern Sri Lanka on Good Friday.  I was traveling with a friend who is a devout Christian and Roman Catholic.  As such we visited several of the Christian churches on the east coast of the country.  

Christianity is one of the smaller religions in Sri Lanka, the most common being Buddhism.  But there is a strong Christian community especially in the eastern part of the country.  On Good Friday (the day of Jesus’ crucifixion and death) we visited St. Mary’s Cathedral in Trincomalee.  The church was very crowded and busy, with a large line of people waiting to get to the front of the church.  Their goal was to see …

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