A delightful dose of Sri Lanka history, culture, and lobster curry in 72 hours for Condé Nast Traveler writer.
A three-day visit to Sri Lanka’s capital Colombo was a visual and foodie treat for Condé Nast Traveler’s Sarah Khan, thanks to one of the city’s long-established tour guides.
Here first stop was the restored 1681 Dutch Hospital in Old Colombo to meet Mark Forbes of Colombo City Walks “for a stroll through the erstwhile Dutch Fort, looking for traces of the city’s Dutch and British legacies”.
She writes: “Forbes’s enthusiasm for his hometown is infectious, and his stops include the stately Edwardian General Post Office, the ornate Cargills department store, the striking pomegranate-inspired Red Mosque in Pettah, and the Grand Oriental Hotel for a gin-and-tonic break.
After seeing the sights it was lunch at the Ministry of Crab, “a temple to seafood opened by Sri Lankan cricket icons Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara”.
While Colombo alone would make for a fun long weekend, “if you’re wondering where the locals head when they need a break, look a bit farther down the map”.
Which means Galle. “For centuries, Sri Lanka was coveted among international traders thanks to its prized cinnamon, and the seaside town of Galle (pictured at top) is a testament to that.
“The narrow lanes have immaculately preserved buildings in a hodgepodge of architectural styles, many of which now house hip restaurants, boutique hotels, and shops.”
After breakfast at Heritage Cafe, get ready for a walking tour of the fort. “I know, I know: Another walking tour? But think of Shanjei Perumal, who left his career as an ad exec in Colombo to start Galle Fort Walks.
“He’ll spill centuries worth of Galle’s secrets before treating you to a scoop of gelato at Pedlar’s Inn Gelateria, the most authentic ice cream in town—as it should be, considering its owner hails from a four-decades-strong gelato-making lineage back in Italy.
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