Ayubowan.. (Sinhala for Hello)

Today is my 1st day home after a fantastic trip to Sri Lanka. When I decided to take a holiday to Sri Lanka it was amazing how many people asked me if it would be safe to go there. The press coverage of the problems the country is having between the government & the Tamils is so misleading.. I felt completely safe throughout my trip & in fact tourists have never been a target for the Tamils in the 3 decades this has been going on. It is such a shame that ambiguous press coverage has affected the amount of tourists visiting this very special country.

This time I only had a 1 week stay but I definitely will be going back to do a longer more exploratory trip. I am now desperate to visit other areas & experience more of the huge amount of diversity Sri Lanka has to offer..

The highlights for me personally were varied..
– The people were so lovely & friendly.. Yes on the beach you encounter the local sellers but as I kept telling my friend “don’t touch” anything unless you have a genuine interest in buying.. touching seemed to give them the impression you want it & then it can be difficult to get away.. All the people we met along the way, in our hotels etc were so welcoming & pleasant – always smiling, even in the 35° temperatures we had!!

– The hotels were wonderful, we stayed in a great beach resort hotel – the Eden Resort & Spa in Beruwela & then in a fabulous boutique hotel outside of Colombo called Wallawwa.. 2 very different types of accommodation but each of them superb at what they do. I fell in love with Wallawwa & know that I have clients, especially those that have been to Costa Rica with us, that would love this property, along with other boutique hotels the country now has in several of the areas..

The food was a pleasant surprise to me – it was out of this world with heaps of choice. As a vegetarian I sometimes feel restricted with the choices that I have.. This certainly was not the case in Sri Lanka.. I had a huge a amount of options & you might think that the bright green pea & cashew nut curry would be horrible but it was divine.. All the food is so fresh & if you like your seafood then you will be in heaven.. I generally am not a fan of buffet restaurants but @ the beach hotels they tend to offer a main buffet restaurant & it is the perfect opportunity to try all the local foods. I would never have ordered potato curry on the side of scrambled egg on toast for breakfast & would have deprived myself of a real delight“ honestly, don’t knock it until you try it!!!

– Shopping, specifically jewellery shopping, was such an exciting experience for me.. We visited a gem wholesaler where they showed you the various gems as they are mined & then we moved into the air conditioned shop. If I was a rich woman I would have left that shop the happiest person alive. The rings, pendants, ear rings etc they had to sell were just out of this world.. If you do not want to buy anything do not go in!!!! I found an absolutely beautiful huge Blue Topaz ring with a diamond either side.. I am still dreaming about owning it now I am home!!. I did come away with a beautiful ring that they changed some of the stones on for me, so is a bespoke ring  “a one off”. It is stunning & I can easily justify the cost by saying I deserve it!!

– Going to Pinnawela & the Elephant Orphanage was such a memorable experience.. I feed the baby elephant a bottle of milk – consumed in 5 seconds flat!!, & then when it was the elephants bath time in the river I was actually in the water with a huge male splashing him with water & rubbing his head with a coconut shell – yes he was lying down @ the time!! Seeing all 86 elephants, babies as well, come stomping along the road to the river was incredible, especially as I was only a foot away from them..

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I have wonderful memories of Sri Lanka & really cannot wait to go back & explore more it has to offer. I would not hesitate to recommend people to visit, do not be put off by the reports regarding the problems they have with the Tamils. The Foreign Office is not advising against travel so why not go? You will have a fabulous time & we will tailor-make the trip for you to ensure you have the perfect time.

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