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After 5 days in Kandy it was time to move on to our next destination. We decided to detour from our planned route to include a visit to Trincomalee on the east coast of Sri Lanka. Tourism in Trincomalee is back on the rise following the tsunami of 2004 and the civil war.
It took us five hours to get there which included an hour stop in Dambulla where our daughter threw up before lunch. It was baking hot and the air con in the vehicle didn’t seem to be touching us so we all tried our best to keep hydrated. After stopping numerous times for directions to the hotel we were staying in we finally arrived. We unloaded our bags and said goodbye to our taxi driver and headed into the hotel we had booked, Dyke Rest.
A man came to greet us with a confused look on his face. “May I help you?” he asked. We told him we had a reservation and received a “Really? Not today!” in reply. We showed him the confirmation and he ran off to the phone. When he came back he apologised as they had no room available and we would have to spend a night in their sister hotel, Victoria Inn, before returning for the rest of the stay. Mum was not happy at all. It was hot and everyone was sweating and tired. The man showed us to the back of the property which opened out on to a small patio and then directly on to the beach. The calm blue sea was only 10 meters away. We were told that we could use a spare double room to change into swimwear and go into the sea before going to the sister hotel. All this while receiving free welcome drinks and ice cream.
Unpacking and changing into swimwear in a small, hot room didn’t do much to improve Mum’s mood. A swim in the sea helped a little but getting out again, changing and packing to move hotels just put everyone in a foul mood. A couple of Tuk Tuks took us and our bags to the Victoria Inn. It was in a quiet location, close to Trincomalee harbour and not near the beach. A quiet talking Sri Lankan lady greeted us warmly with a smile and showed us to our room. It was a nice room and we were pleasantly surprised. We could finally relax a little and cheered up a bit. Dad set off in search of food and found the nearby Dutch Cafe to order take away from. The lady at the guesthouse kindly set up a table for dinner outside where we ate and watched bats flying around.
Breakfast the next day was served in the same spot and we had warmed up to the guesthouse and the lovely staff. After a walk around the area we were not sure we wanted to pack and move again. The deciding factor would be if our room in Dyke Rest has air conditioning. It is the dry season in Trincomalee at the moment and temperatures were reaching 36 degrees Celsius. We have not acclimatised to the weather so the decision to move hinged on the air con. When Dyke Rest confirmed we had air con then our decision was made. We would move back to Dyke Rest and its lovely slice of beach in Dutch Bay.
We were made to feel at home immediately and settled in to our room. Mum and Dad made the decision to stay out of the heat in the middle of the day and we would use this time to concentrate on schooling the kids with a DVD as a reward. Early mornings were for sun rises. Late afternoon was reserved for the beach and the sea. This became the basis of our routine for the next few days as we chilled out and fell in love with Trincomalee.
The famous beaches of Uppuveli and Nilaveli were just north of Trincomalee but we dismissed going there as we had our own private beach right out the back door of our guesthouse!!!
After breakfast we used the mornings for excursions. The first of these was a visit to the Koneswaram Temple set up high overlooking the sea. The kids schooling involved some learning about Hinduism later that day.
On our next excursion we woke early to set out on a boat in search of wild dolphins before a rare early morning swim.
Our days in Trincomalee were slow and lazy. The staff at Dyke Rest were fantastic at helping us with anything we needed. They too were laid back and that seemed to just rub off on us all.
So when we left Trincomalee for Habarana we were sad to be leaving but we were also very glad that we had changed our plans and made the effort to visit the east coast.