By Jason Bird
On one of our final days on this great trip, we made our way south down the coast to the city of Galle. And no, it is not named after our 2016 premiership centre half forward who kicked over 70 goals last year, Luke Galle.
Galle is a town that both the Portugese and Dutch settled and fought over in the 16th century. Imagine going to a coastal town in Australia and finding a massive man-made wall built around the entire town. That is Galle, but in a more tropical humid area, and it looks pretty amazing.
You can go on top of the wall (fort) and walk around most of the town and you get a pretty good view either looking out into the bay or into Galle International Cricket Stadium.
We were told the fort was originally built by the Portuguese as a trading port before the Dutch came in, took it over and built the fort up even more (eventually the fort was won back by the Portuguese). You can see where all the cannons were located that defended the fort and all the buildings inside the town are all of Portuguese/Spanish design.
Anura, our driver and guide for the week, told us Galle is one of the most expensive places to live in Sri Lanka, and most of the land and buildings are owned by Indians (to the resentment of most Sri Lankans).
Standing on top of the fort looking into Galle International Cricket Stadium was pretty cool. Supposedly when big international matches are on, the stadium sells out and they sell standing room on top of the fort for anyone who can’t get into the ground. On a nice day, beers, sun and the cool breeze from the bay would be pretty awesome to watch a match on top of the Fort.
Whilst we were inside Galle, also tried one of their popular delicacies, drinking the insides of a King Coconut. They simply get a King Coconut, cut off the top, add in some whipped cream and you drink it. Very sweet and refreshing after walking around the Fort.
On our way to Galle from our hotel was also an eye-opening experience. We drove through a few coastal towns and areas that were affected by the Tsunami.
Passing ruins of destroyed homes and businesses that resided right on the beach front, we were told to imagine a two-storey high wave that went in-land for 5km. So to stand right there and imagine being there when the wave came through, it really makes you respect the Sri Lankan people even more for their resilience and perseverance.
There are numerous monuments and shrines dedicated to the people that were tragically lost. The Japanese Government built a massive statue right on the coast which is to ward off bad luck for the future. If you are a Game of Thrones fan, imagine those big statues in Braavos when ships enter their port, that’s sort of like what this statue reminded me of.
We headed back to the hotel for the night where I had a great Thai curry crab and plenty of Lion beers to wash it down.
It truly was an amazing trip and we can’t thank the guys at Blackchrome Sportswear, Mark Bassett and Troy Beard, enough for taking us and the SFNL for co-organising the competition.