We weren’t sure if spending 36 hours in Sri Lanka was going to be a waste of time as we were only stopping in on our way to The Maldives but it was just enough time to leave both myself and D wanting for more!
We arrived into Colombo from Abu Dhabi around 9pm at night and had to take a cab to our accommodation. As we were only there for a really short space of time we booked to stay at a B&B called Drift which was reasonably priced and well rated.
Drift is located on the Galle Road in Colombo and is within 3 minutes walking distance to some really cool cafes, shops and restaurants. It felt more like a hostel than a B&B with a shared ‘living’ space for eating and socialising but we were welcomed very warmly upon arrival and were excited about exploring our home for the night.
Our room was adequate and the bed was comfortable, perfect for just one night but the bathroom was AMAZING! We especially loved the shower with its rainforest head and unique feature of a glassless window meaning you could look out on the city while showering.
After checking in and leaving our bags in our room we went to reception to get advice on somewhere close by to eat. The receptionist recommended The Gallery Cafe which stays open until midnight and is located just across the street so off we went. With little expectation and just looking for something to fill our bellies before going to bed we walked down a dimly lit alley only to discover one of the most beautiful restaurants I have ever eaten at.
The Gallery Cafe once belonged to Geoffrey Bawa, a world renowned Sri Lankan architect, and what is now a stunningly beautiful restaurant was once his office. Geoffrey himself personally approved the take over of the property and its transition into a restaurant and art gallery.
We were quite late arriving at the restaurant and you could tell that the waiting staff were thinking about going home for the evening but nevertheless we were quickly shown to a table and presented with menus. We were neither dressed for our extremely beautiful surroundings or expecting such a fine dinning menu so I started to panic slightly thinking that it was going to cost a fortune when all we really wanted was something quick before bed. I reached for my phone to convert the prices on the menu to a currency I could understand and was very pleasantly surprised. Not only did we not have to embarrassingly exit this stunning place whilst awkwardly apologising to the waiter who didn’t really want to seat us in the first place but we would be able to dine like Kings on this fabulous menu and it wasn’t going to break us.
I had the Sri Lankan crab to start and the duck for my main and both dishes were devoured, I didn’t even take time to take a picture! By the end of the meal we had both decided that we would return to Sri Lanka one day for a visit to The Gallery Cafe alone!
After our wonderful late night feast we headed back to Drift to sleep so we could get up early and make the most of our few remaining hours in Sri Lanka. As always the most important part of any trip for me is food so in the morning we set off to get our bearings and find a place to get some food. We walked along the Galle Road and discovered a beautiful shop called Barefoot filled with colourful hand woven items from bags and toys to table cloths and clothes! Barefoot we later discovered was started by artist Barbara Sansoni and has been opened since the late 1960s.
At the back of the Barefoot building there is a cafe that is somewhat hidden away but when you walk into this secret little garden the place is bustling with life, so much so that we thought we were going struggle to get a table. We found one close to the bar and marvelled at the artwork on the surrounding walls.
We ordered food and once again Sri Lanka did not disappoint! The food was delicious and very reasonably priced.
(D got caught in action!)
After Barefoot we headed back out to the street to continue exploring. Like most cities in South East Asia the traffic in Colombo was mad! We wandered along the streets and took our life in our hands crossing the roads to avoid the numerous tuk tuks and motorbikes!
After a while we decided to stop for a drink and relax before taking a cab back to the airport. We stumbled upon a gorgeous hotel called Colombo Courtyard and made our way to their poolside bar.
This hotel is a hidden gem and will definitely be the location of our next visit to Galle. The interior of the hotel reminded me a little on the Gallery Cafe with art work and well designed pieces all put together to create a picture perfect display. The kind of place that you just don’t want to leave.
The poolside bar was surrounded with comfy chairs and loungers and while relaxing there I wished that we had booked to stay there and not drift.
The airport was 90mins away from where we were staying and we didn’t want to panic about the traffic so we reluctantly peeled ourselves off the comfy loungers and made our way back to Drift to pick up our bags.
We were beyond excited for the next part of our journey to The Maldives but we left Sri Lanka with a little bit of a heavy heart thinking we were missing out on such a wonderful place given the amazing experience we had had in such a short time. We contented ourselves with the agreement that we will most definitely return to Sri Lanka and the next time it will be for a lot longer than 36 hours!