We wanted to explore travel by train, everyone who had been to Sri Lanka said it….take the train. So we left our luxurious residence and left by taxi to Colombo station. We got ourselves a ticket at the tourniquet and went tot he right platform. Crowded, colorful.
At the platform, a man came to us and told us where the non-smoking carriages would stop at the platform. Great help, as there were many people waiting, and we had no idea.
After the train arrived at the station, we got in and found ourselves a seat, someone helped to get our suitcases in the rack. The train started moving and was full of activities, we made pictures and videos, but none of it could really capture the atmosphere, the warm carriage, filled with all kinds of colors, smells and fragrances. I keep my notebook at hand, but can’t write while the train moves. It doesn’t matter, there is full-time live entertainment, either in the train or outside.
We enjoy to put our heads out of the window, local people even get fresh air at the open doors of the moving train. During our ride we see the landscape moving, from centre of Colombo, to outskirts with tiny buildings, build with wood and old materials, probably not hiding any luxury. We cross rivers and swamps and are always close to the sea. We stop at small town stations along the track. The smell of smoke enters the train and at some moment we recognize the smell fish, not so much later we see the all types of fish drying at big racks in the open air. A man with a huge plate at his head enters the carriage, he is singing ‘nanasi, nanasi, nanasi’, pieces of pineapple stacked high up – it smells so sweet and he moves so easily – with his giant fruithat. Fuel damps enter the train again when he leaves for the next carriage. It looks like the local market here in the train, chilled drinks, fried fish,, books, newspapers, nuts, sweets, bread, musicians, beggars. They bring entertainment and hope to earn some money.
We enjoy the views, the sellers, the colourfull dressed women, the talks with people in our carriage. The Chinese man who made a beautiful picture of us, the man who tells us about the surroundings and offers to guide us in Galle, the different small talks. We definitely get attention as we are, together with the Chinese couple, the only foreigners at the train today.
Destination – Galle Fort
After a great and more than 4 hours train ride, we arrive at our destination, Galle. The station is crowdy and tuktuk drivers are all ready to grab our suitcases to be sure that we would not escape or choose a different driver. We had no idea how far it all would be, and paid way too much for the few minutes ride to our hotel. Nevertheless, we were nicely delivered at our next stay in Galle Fort. Old heritage, build by the Dutch, long ago.