The previous two days, Day 24 and Day 25, I’ve been in Negombo doing delightfully little except eating, drinking and washing. I started exploring the old Dutch canal running north out of the city, but the towpath and adjacent roads soon run out. In any case, the paths are something of an obstacle-course of fishing gear (pic). Which gave me enough excuse to return to the eating and drinking.
But I got out for a decent day’s cycling today, heading south along the coast road that eventually leads a back way to Colombo. It’s very agreeable scenery (pic) of old Portuguese churches, fishing boats, and local schoolchildren who greet you with a cheerful bye! due to a mistranslation.
The road skirts Negombo’s big lagoon. From that lagoon, heading south, is the other branch of the canal. It runs all the way to Colombo, and has paved lanes alongside virtually all the way – to my delight, as you can see (pic).
It’s utterly delightful, going through villages, past fishing huts and well-to-do houses, and gently busy with cyclists (pic). I notice that the Dutch didn’t get as far as installing windmills, which is a pity, because today they’d have been whirling like billy-o in the headwind I had on the way back to Negombo.
Anyway, I took a birdwatching boat trip into the lagoon’s marshes. Not that much to see – we saw a few green herons and kingfishers (pic) among others – but a fine relaxing thing to do on a hot day. My eye for spotting avians may not be great, but en route back to Negombo, I was pleased to find that my eye for spotting fresh fruit juice bars is as good as ever.
From here I spent a couple of weeks in south India. My bike wassafely stowed at a guesthouse near the Colombo airport, which is in Negombo; I returned to pick it up on my final overnight in Sri Lanka before an early morning flight back home.
It’s been a wonderful trip to an underrated and beautiful place for cycling; easy roadside refreshments, lush landscapes and intense cultural experiences, cricket lovely cricket, and friendly, welcoming people everywhere. Sri Lanka is a bit fab.
Miles today: 14
Total miles: 612
Miles Dondra Head to Point Pedro: 470