Category Archives: Sri Lanka

Kochikade to Puttalam on Lifeday 25,394

A pale looking Geoff Jones in Sri Lanka
A pale looking Geoff Jones in Sri Lanka

An excellent day, great breakfast at the hotel and I was on the road by 7.05 even after having by picture taken.

The route I created step by step on Strava worked very well, avoiding the main road until there was no alternative at Chilaw. Even though today was a national holiday for Independence Day all  the small shops etc were open, free enterprise in action 🙂

The first part was along the beach road and amazing to see real markets & commerce in action fishermen give the catch to their wives, kids who lay it out on the roadside (more upmarket make a simple stall) , freelance guys dash up and down on mopeds with big trays on the back buying up surplus fish who take it to the bigger outlets with proper stalls further down the road. Fascinating to me is what creates these ‘bigger’ places in the first places. To the untrained eye the whole road looks identical 🙂

Setting of early on empty roads meant I could do the prescribed 60 miles today although after midday the frequency of stops dramatically increases due to the heat, 32 degrees today.

Arriving in Puttalam II couldn’t find anywhere to stay by looking around so I booked the Thabapanni Resort although it should change its name to Last Resort – what a dump 🙁 the total opposite to last nights place and not that much cheaper. I set of to try and find a bank to replenish the funds, it’s all cash here. None of the Mastercard’s would work here so I had to resort to Barclays Visa and its ripoff charges. I found a upmarket (for these parts) ice cream place, although the ice cream was of poor quality. On my little trip in search of food I met 4 guys on their bikes from Strasbourg looking for accommodation 🙂 They managed to get fixed up in Senathilaka on my way back to my dump. I’m now enjoying dinner with them, Maxima, Francesco, Christian and Michel in their hotel. Although after the meal I still feel ravenous.

So the current debate is to whether we will be allowed to cycle through the Wilpattu national park tomorrow with it’s elephants etc 🙂 a 56km error if we get turned back 🙁

Todays Strava is here not bad 10.9mph into a headwind

Dropbox pictures here

 

Colombo to Kochchikade on Lifeday 25,393

Morning traffic
Morning traffic

The early start didn’t go quite as planned probably because I didn’t get to bed until after midnight 🙁 Everything went in my bags OK although I’m sure quite a few clothing items will never get used.

Shock horror  on reaching the main road to see it totally jammed up at 7.15am, Total nightmare 🙂 at one point I saw a bakery/cafe open so popped in to get some egg noodles. This was a hard boiled egg plonked on top of a plate of noodles! I devoured it anyway. The traffic was still doing its stop/go antics and buses determined to squash me into their stops and passengers leaping out of Tuk Tuks determined to knock me off.

The traffic continued unabated after a while I began to realise that Strava had lazily put me on the main road rather than a minor road route. After yesterdays dead ends etc I could see why.maybe Strava took the easy way out. However, I was getting fed up with the buses and trucks so I gambled that the road along the beach would be OK.

It was a good call suddenly I could relax and see the real Sri Lanka, I celebrated by drinking a coconut 🙂 the road surface was good apart from where a wheeled vehicle had run through the setting concrete 🙁

I eventually arrived at the tourist mecca of Ettukala with dozens of hotels and lots of very white people. I was tiring even after my 6 stops in the 30 or so miles, the traffic noise, lack of sleep & the heat plus a headwind made me think of calling it a day even at 1pm. I came across a sign pointing down a lane saying ‘Emel boutique hotel” Intrigued  I ventured down the lane and found it on a nasty bend, the booking.com price seemed OK.

They gave me a slap up lunch and two beers with the net result I slept all afternoon 🙂 Hopefully tomorrow I will get away at 7am and this time I’ve made Strava use the back roads.

Just hope I sleep OK, it’s close to the flight path to the airport and the neighbour has dogs that I’ve heard barking 🙁

The Strava for the 35.7 miles is here and the pictures are on Dropbox here

All religions catered for

 

 

Around Colombo Lifeday 25392

bike assembly
Bike assembly

After sleeping like a log and with no snoring I assembled  the bike in my bedroom at West Inn, the only damage was the rear mudguard. This was broken (quickly fixed later by the car seat repair workshop down the road).

After breakfast I then tried to find my way to the old town avoiding main roads. Both maps.me and gmaps were useless 🙁  showing roads that certainly don’t exist now and probably never eg a track by the river. After doing numerous edits to OSM I eventually gave up and went on the main road.

Unfortunately for me this Saturday is their Independence day celebrations. this meant the army, air force and goodness know who else were practising marching on the main roads 🙁  the congestion was unbelievable,  the worst I’ve ever experienced, especially since the zillions of Tuk Tuks can turn on a penny.

Inside Cargills store
Inside Cargill’s store

Eventually I made it to The Old Fort not much to see except the station and traffic. I did a tour of the old colonial buildings . Ny favourite was the huge Cargills shop were the once mighty shop has been reduced to a few grocery shelves in a small section of the vast interior. Poor Mr Cargill must be turning in his grave.

Then it was onto the vast market area with the vast majority of stalls selling mobile phones or trainers. The new thing for me was loads of men asking if I wanted to sell the bike! I hope the lock I bough with me is going to be strong enough 🙂

For lunch i went to the rather upmarket Sugar cafe. Great veggie burger and a beetroot drink The Galle Road seafront was packed with tanks etc etc all getting polished for the big day.

Had my first experience of hitting a car in over 40 years. A young lad suddenly stopped when trying to turn a corner, with me wanting to go straight on 🙁 fortunately I was going very slowly but my left elbow still hit his rear window. No damage to his car or the bike 🙂 but it did call for a rest and a drink.

Cycling back I came across, for the first time, a real tea shop. It had a vast selection of teas all with meaningless names and of course the young lad was clueless as well. I settled for a Kandy tea (only name I knew) a bit strong for my taste.

The temperature was in the thirties and bright sunshine all day so I ended up in the afternoon drinking everything I could find. Must load the bike up with water tomorrow.

The West Inn have agreed to hang onto my bike cardboard box until my return flight. Only decision left now is do I turn left to go south round the Island or right to do the north in the morning.

My record breaking (not) Strave is here and the pics are on Dropbox here.