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Sri Lanka is a country of many traditions and faiths, but most of its residents are Sinhalese Buddhists. As such, exploring the Buddhist temples of the country offers a gateway to understanding the culture and traditions of most of its people. Gangaramaya Temple is one of the most important temples in Colombo and one of the city’s more interesting sites.
This Buddhist temple is encompassed by several buildings and is situated in the heart of Colombo, not far from Beira Lake. It includes a Vihara (temple), a Bodhi tree, an Image house, and an assembly hall for monks. The complex also has an eclectic museum, library, residential hall and an educational hall. The beautiful Simamalaka Shrine is nearby and a satellite …
I’ve taken more time to relax and watch the entirety of a sunset over the Indian Ocean than anywhere else; the majority of these were at the Galle Face Hotel in Colombo. And I’m not alone. Usually 50 — at times upwards of a hundred — guests are there alongside me enjoying it as well.
During my visit to Colombo this year I discovered the hotel had added a new twist to the sunset ritual. A Sri Lankan bag-piper playing a dirge, together with one of the hotel employees, solemnly and slowly march out to the edge of the sea at dusk. The uniformed man methodically lowers and folds the flag as the sad tune from the pipes mixes with …
I’ve stayed at many hotels in my life, across a broad range of countries and classes of service. Generally I’m a ‘Courtyard by Marriott’ kind of guy — reliable, clean standardized rooms. But the Galle Face is special and a night or two stay here should be on your itinerary when you’re visiting the capital of Sri Lanka.
I was first advised to stay at the Galle Face hotel by my friend, Wayne Houser, who connected me with Sir Arthur C. Clarke. I recall Wayne telling me all those years ago that it was a great hotel and was one of the only places you could get Arthur to leave the comfort of his home and join you for lunch or …
One of the rarest cars I ever countered during my travels to Sri Lanka, in fact, the only one of its type I’ve seen in the country, is this classic Cadillac coupe. Parked in front of the Galle Face Hotel, it was decorated for one of the many weddings held here.
It’s obviously a Cadillac, and appears to be a Coupe de Ville from the mid 1950s with some post purchase customizations. Anyone know anything more about this car?
(Click on thumbnails to enlarge photos)
I’ve previously written about my travels to Sri Lanka to visit my favorite author and friend, Sir Arthur C. Clarke. After the long journey to Sri Lanka from America, I enjoyed settling in at the Galle Face Hotel in Colombo, a charming Colonial era building adjoining the Indian Ocean, before traveling elsewhere on the island. This hotel was where Arthur wrote most of his last novel in the Odyssey series, 3001: The Final Odyssey. It was also among the only places that enticed Arthur to leave the comfort and convenience of his home to join me for dinner or a drink, or to watch the sunset.
I meet many fine people in Sri Lanka during these visits. …
DrFumblefinger’s preamble: One of the greatest aspects of knowing Arthur C Clarke was the many wonderful people I met through my friendship with him. Among these was Sir Arthur’s personal secretary, Dottie Weerasooriya. Dotts was and has remained a friend over the years and for the first time in the accompanying article shares some of her private memories of Sir Arthur, including his final days (Dottie was at his bedside when Sir Arthur passed on). This is the first “guest post” on this website and I’m proud its such an interesting piece. Thanks, Dotts, for sharing it with us! ******************************************************************************
THE FINAL COUNT DOWN
(Dedicated to the memory of our beloved Sir Arthur C. Clarke,
with love and deepest respect)
by Dottie …
During my travels to Sri Lanka, I’ve always stayed at the historic Galle Face Hotel while in Colombo. The Galle Face Hotel is over 150 years old, a slightly weathered but elegant remnant of the British Colonial era. Situated by the Indian Ocean, it was Arthur C. Clarke‘s favorite hotel; he actually wrote most of 3001: The Final Odyssey in it’s Presidential Suite, and it was one of the few places you could get him to join you for dinner; the Galle Face’s old time elegance, cool evening ocean breezes, view of the sunset and an excellent kitchen made this very understandable. Frequently on weekends the hotel hosted weddings, always …
It was five years ago, on March 19, 2008, that we lost Arthur. He had lived a full, highly productive and wonderfully interesting life — over ninety years on this planet he thought should have been called “Ocean”, instead of Earth (more appropriate, he opined, because our planet’s more than 70% covered by water). Arthur had been my favorite writer since I read “2001: A Space Odyssey” decades ago, by far his best known work but just one of many great concepts his fertile mind envisioned. Arthur’s the one who nicknamed me, “Dr. Fumblefinger” after a character by the same name in a short story he wrote (which was never published but which he shared with me — …