Final bike ride in Sri Lanka Bentota to Colombo Lifeday 25,415

The Fish Market

I was on the road just after 7am for the 40 mile ride up the coast and back to where I started 24 days ago.

An interesting ride along the beautiful coast, some what marred with so called luxury hotels hidden behind their prison height walls 🙁 with an intermingling of shacks and closer to Colombo a veritable shanty town around the railway line. Pretty astonishing such poverty in so much natural beauty.

Sawmill by the beach

The road I came into Colombo was just full of workshops either sawing up giant tree trunks or making furniture and doors etc. No health and safety here! shudder to think how many fingers and eyes have been lost from the huge circular saws 🙁

I arrived at the West Inn at 1pm for the bike to be reunited with its box 🙂 The Strava is here and pics here

Geoff Jones with bike

Me at the end of the ride

I then spent all afternoon to rearrange my flight home. My word the Qatar Airlines website is a total & utter shambles, glossy on the service but totally broken underneath apart from booking new flights. In the end out of desperation I went to their Facebook page and finally using Facebook Messenger the job was done! but oh how painful 🙁

I will be back home on Monday morning.

Here are the stats of the trip:

Trip to Sri Lanka Km 1772.2 6.9
Miles 1107.6 22731.0
Day Date Weekday From To Bike Days Miles Elevation (ft) Speed mph % Gradient Hotel
0 31 Jan 2017 Tuesday London Doha Flying
1 1 Feb 2017 Wednesday Doha Colombia West Inn
2 2 Feb 2017 Thursday Colombia Colombia 1 23.4 336 5.9 West Inn
3 3 Feb 2017 Friday Colombia Negombo 2 35.7 174 9.5 Emel Boutique Hotel
4 4 Feb 2017 Saturday Negombo Puttalam 3 61.2 183 10.9 Puttalam Thambapanni
5 5 Feb 2017 Sunday Puttalam Mannar 4 77.4 633 10.5 Juli Hotel
6 6 Feb 2017 Monday Mannar Jaffna 5 73.0 296 11.1 Old Park Villa
7 7 Feb 2017 Tuesday Jaffna Kilinochchi 7 63.2 200 10.8 AKR Hotel
8 8 Feb 2017 Wednesday Kilinochchi Anuradhapura 8 84.2 1031 12.9 Senowin Resort
9 9 Feb 2017 Thursday Anuradhapura Trincomalee 9 66.6 706 11.8 Orrs Hill House
10 10 Feb 2017 Friday Trincomalee Polonnaruwa 10 107.4 684 12.2 Peacock Vista
11 11 Feb 2017 Saturday Polonnaruwa Polonnaruwa 11 12.3 197 6.1 Peacock Vista
12 12 Feb 2017 Sunday Polonnaruwa Kanfdalama 12 70.5 1421 10.5 Heritance Hotel
13 13 Feb 2017 Monday Kanfdalama Kandy 13 57.9 3270 8.8 Homestay – Benjamin
14 14 Feb 2017 Tuesday Kandy Ramboda 14 32.9 3029 7.0 Thuruliya Residence
15 15 Feb 2017 Wednesday Ramboda Bandarawela 15 49.1 6286 7.0 Mountains Edge Inn
16 16 Feb 2017 Thursday Bandarawela Kirinda 16 69.3 804 12.2 The Wild Tusker
17 17 Feb 2017 Friday Kirinda Hambantota 17 48.0 376 10.5 Samren Hotel
18 18 Feb 2017 Saturday Hambantota Tangalle 18 31.8 627 10.0 Gayana Guest House
19 19 Feb 2017 Sunday Tangalle Mirissa 19 40.0 1269 8.4 Club Marissa
20 20 Feb 2017 Monday Mirissa Marissa Club Marissa
21 21 Feb 2017 Tuesday Marissa Galle 20 24.9 449 8.5 Old Dutch House
22 22 Feb 2017 Wednesday Galle Galle Old Dutch House
23 23 Feb 2017 Thursday Galle Bentota 21 38.4 539 11.3 Bentota Beach Hotel
24 24 Feb 2017 Friday Bentota Bentota Bentota Beach Hotel
25 25 Feb 2017 Saturday Bentota Colombo 22 40.4 221 9.3 West Inn
26 26 Feb 2017 Sunday Colombo
27 27 Feb 2017 Monday Home Colombia

A very enjoyable day around Bentota on LifeDay 25,414

Geoff Jones and crocodile

A nervous me with crocodile

The main reason for staying at the stupidly expensive Bentota Beach Hotel was so I could use their river cruise through the mangrove swamps. I opted for the one hour one as experience tells me I rapidly get bored sitting in a boat 🙂

It was just me and the guide, a young chap who spoke good English and had sharp eyes. So we quickly saw a lot of wildlife: herons, lizards, crocodiles come to mind. A nice tourist touch was pulling in and a guy with a baby crocodile stepping aboard so you could have a picture taken with it, me somewhat nervous of all those teeth.

My new found friend

In the afternoon after a decent swim in their 35 metre pool, the best feature of the hotel, I took myself of for a walk. The touts soon leave you after 50 metres of walking and I was soon on my own. On maps.me I spotted the Siri Sumansrama Temple (interesting that Apple use the name Siri for their digital assistant) so I headed over their. The place was deserted, its quite a modest temple but soon a monk came over and invited me in 🙂 He showed me around explaining why the Buddha is surrounded by Hindu figures and also the new Buddha statue they are making under the Serpents head. All very symbolic and interesting.

I was then invited into his house for a cuppa and cake, well I am a cyclist 🙂 Where he told me his story of becoming a monk when he was 9 and staying at this temple all the time and how he learnt such good English.

The subject soon turned to architecture the next thing I know we are in a Tuk Tuk to see the totally stunning former summer home of architect Geoffrey Bawa at Lunuganga. Wow totally amazing, he was obviously a keen arboriculturist as well the selection of trees was stunning! A gorgeous tall Teak at the entrance and then planted & trained  trees inside like Balsa, Ebony, Temple trees (Plumeria) and a lot more. The whole estate is cleverly designed to maximise the elevated position in a dog leg of the huge river. I just loved it and reminded me of Chris & I visit to Henry Moore’s old studio near Cambridge.  Totally incredible and many thanks to my new monk friend 🙂

A very interesting and enlightening day with loads more pics  here

Pedalling Galle to Bentota Beach on LifeDay 25,413

Thursday 23 February 2017

A really early start at 6.35 from the educational house 🙂 they were using the carport where my bike was stored as an evening classroom last night whilst her daughter was marking!

I had plotted a route last night away from the coast along quieter roads. The only problem was when I left it was the school rush hour! with hundreds of kids and various forms of transport everywhere! a bit like around Em’s old school magnified to Indian proportions 🙂

Once the last stragglers made it the road quietened down and it turned into a pleasant ride along the backwaters of Sri Lanka,  all the prices came tumbling down on leaving Galle Fort and once again i could get drinks for 37p or so 🙂

Eventually I reached the A2 coast road for the last small stretch into Bentota, patting myself on the back for avoiding all that traffic all morning.

I had booked into Bentota Beach Resort after reading the Rides around Sri Lanka book and their offerings of river trips to the mangrove swamps nearby. However, its really pricey X4 what I paid last night. OK it is infinitely more luxurious than last night especially the 35 metre long outdoor pool but beers are £4 a pint instead of £1. Interestingly the government adds an extra 30% tax on these luxury places.

I arrived at before 11am so was able to max out on pool time and mess about with the open water swim mode on the watch – it seemed to work quite well although I’ve now measured the pool on Google Earth so tomorrow is the real test!

The Strava is here and a few pics here