The South Coast of Sri Lanka quickly became one of our favorite spots during our first visit with Cantaloupe Hotels back in November. Getting to return during high season in February was a dream come true – there is something about this little section of Sri Lanka that just feels magical. This has one of our favorite projects to work on so far, and we’re so excited to finally release this film!
Make sure to watch through to the end to see a preview of the amazing places to come from Cantaloupe!
I LOVE camping. My father was a very serious backpacker for many decades – I remember as a kid him going on 2 week, 100-mile expeditions in big hiking boots and the shortest of shorts and coming back tan and strong, and with no toenails – and he was already into his 40’s at this point. I think he only ever quit because as they aged, none of his friends were able to do it with him anymore. While I never got the chance to go on a backpacking trek – something I have always wanted to try, but I don’t know if I can be that low maintenance – from the time I was tiny, he took me camping. And (if you couldn’t gather from the above) we’re not talking RV camping with a bed and a generator and a TV, we rarely ever even went to actual campsites with actual bathrooms. We would pull up beside a lake somewhere in Northern California, hang our food from the trees (in case of bears), shower in the river, catch fish and eat them for dinner every night – and I always loved it. Although on my own, I have stuck to campgrounds with some running water, I have kept the skills I learned as a little girl – how to build a proper campfire, and how to to pee outside in any condition.
The chance to spend a night camping while we were trekking across Sri Lanka was an experience I jumped at. All of the classics – the hiking, the campfire, the food over an open flame, the lanterns, combined with traditional Sri Lankan feasts and a new way to experience them made for the most amazing combination. And there is something so comforting and that makes you feel so connected to the world when you have these shared experiences and nostalgias with people from a completely different culture in a completely different part of the world. Despite being 10,000 miles away – some of the people we met grew up camping just exactly the same as I did. Despite the earth being so large, traveling can make it feel so small.
Amy and I passed through Colombo for a couple of nights before heading down south, and stayed at the ZMAX Fairway Hotel in the center of Colombo. The hotel is settled in the charming heart of the city, right next to an old Dutch Hospital that has been converted into an eclectic mall of shops, restaurants, a spa and a pub. A lot of Colombo-natives that we’ve met in the last few months have mentioned Dutch Hospital as one of their favorite places to check out in the city. We were situated in the heart of many medieval architectural sites in the Fort district and a walk away from the charming boardwalk along Galle Face Beach. While we’re both subscribers to beaches > cities as travel destinations, it is always an experience to stop through and experience the Capital City of a country to see how it is developed into it’s own unique identity in the world. Much like Bangkok or Saigon, Colombo is a mix of new infrastructure and shiny towers while still being a developing nation, and with a lot of life on the streets. But the colonial influence from the Dutch and British is very strong in the architecture here – with stone walls everywhere and English-style manors in the neighborhood.
In preparation for our week in the Southern beaches in Sri Lanka, I stopped by the best little boutique in Colombo, Fusion 14 for some locally designed and crafted pieces. I’ve always been a huge fan of dressing up to match the theme of my surroundings (see What I wore in the Sahara Desert and my attempt at being a Game of Thrones princess in the Sevilla Alcazar), but didn’t want to feel like I was wearing a costume, since Sri Lanka is such a beautiful and modern country. Being able to wear clothing from a local designer, with silks sourced from India felt like I was being true to the modern place I was in – something I hope to do much more of in our future travels.