Escape to Sri Lanka
Palm trees, emerald green water, perfect waves, fresh coconuts everyday and a lot to discover from the beaches to the backcountry hills with tea plantations. Follow Sirikit, Julia and Valentine in their escape to Sri Lanka and fall in love with Midigama, but we must warn you, you might buy a plane ticket after reading this.
"For some time now Sri Lanka has drawn our gaze with tales of giant turtles, bottomless coconuts, and starry eyed waves. With the European winter being seemingly endless this year we have decided to do more than just gaze and wonder. We stuffed our board bags with wax and and bikinis and headed off for three weeks on all girls’ surf trip.
Armed with this sense of wonder and some strong, very strong, sunscreen, we arrived in the small town of Midigama after an epic 40 hour journey from Biarritz to the quaint southern surf town of Midigama. It was love at first sight, we set up base camp and dared not think about the day when we would have to leave.
Our home was the Midigama Holiday Inn, a little guest house owned by a local family set against a jungle backdrop down a dirt road. Here just a few minutes away from the bustle of the city we feel like we are in a village unto itself where on a drizzly night if you’re lucky (or maybe unlucky depending on your sensibilities haha), you might come across a python looking for a dry place to curl up or a massive dragon like lizard haunting the woods.
Very quickly we realized that midigama is a city populated with nice surfers who aspire to the same goals as our own, catching emerald waves and watching the long light of day die in the ocean green. We threw our suitcases down and hit the golden sand, boards under arms, ready to surf in this warm crystal water.
Midigama suits the palate of every surfer. The water is filled with shortboards, longboards, fishes, SUPs, and even some boards that have no name. No matter the board the smiles are the same and everyone has one from ear to ear after a long ride at Lazy Lefts the main surf spot in Midigama. It is a goofy footers paradise and I couldn’t feel more at home on this playful left hander. A short paddle north finds one in Lazy Rights, a spot that while isn’t nearly as consistent as Lazy Lefts still offers a fun ride for a longboard. A little south still one will find Ram’s where only the most daring surfers venture as the wave often breaks below sea level and onto a sharp urchin filled reef. If you want to get barreled in Midigama then Ram’s is your best bet. The wave isn’t perfect and goofy footers might struggle with the quick steep drop, nevertheless its worth a go.
No matter where we surfed in Midigama we found that the turtles where in fact everywhere, popping up at the most random of times to peep above the water and see who is invading their space for the day before slipping back under the water’s silken sheet.
Before long we make some new friends from all parts of the globe. Some are here like us for a quick surfers’ getaway and others have simply been adopted by this welcoming country. Even in this cruisy life there is no lack of activity, something is always going on but we are careful not to miss the something of the now and enjoy each moment, each friend, the new and the old.
Our evenings are spent alternating between sipping coconuts and watching sunsets and stretching our surf cramped muscles at one of the yoga sessions at Surfing Wombats, a nearby guest house touched by the dolce vita. Then it’s off to Mama’s, a restaurant just in front of Ram’s, for the best Kottu in town. Another good spot for a bite is just next door to Mama’s, The Surf View and their famous shabish with crispy veggies and sweet fresh fruits.
After a week we begrudgingly hang our bikinis out to dry and take up our raincoats for a romp through the dewy hills of Ella and to taste the famous tea of Ceylon from the source! The train ride takes us through Haputale and Ella and we feel that we have yet again stepped into another world. The air is fresh and the countryside green and we can’t wait to stroll through the historic Sir Lipton tea plantation. Walking through the fields we are very nearly adopted by the tea gatherers, so infectious and genuine is their warmth. The hills roll through the fog and the mist brings a sweet and mystical sensation of black tea to our nose.
We cross several Tamil places of worship and the women devotees decorate our foreheads with red points, the third eye they call it; indeed we feel something stirring in us, a wakefulness that is both calm and restless in the same instant.
After a strong handed massage down a little street in Ella we take our delicious dinner at the Curd Shop. Then we brave that other famous Sri Lankan mode of transportation, The Bus.
The bus might in fact be a race car, but if it is we can’t tell and the only prize at the end was finding that we had made it alive. For six hours people filled into the bus and for six hours no one got out, the concept of personal space does not exist in Sri Lanka, nor does the concept of lanes and on the rode the bus is king often splitting off into oncoming traffic without batting a headlight. There is not much to do but enjoy the speedy wind in our hair, the Sri Lankan landscape, and to immerse ourselves fully in this experience for better or worse.
Finally breaking free of our immersion we exit the bus in Galle and post up in the center of Galle Fort. We savor every taste of some of Sri Lanka’s best organic avocado ice cream; or maybe it just seemed like the best thing we had ever tasted after our harrowing bus ride. We take a break from our selfish indulgences to shop for our loved ones stranded in the depths of winter back on the continent.
With gifts in our bags we head back to our Midigama paradise, a coconut in one hand and a cheese rotti in the other. We find a quaint hut between Lazy Left’s and Ram’s to rest our travel worn backs. The surfers glide past, the turtles poke their heads, the waves lap the shore under the piercing sun of the Indian Ocean, and we meditate on the shade and surreal experience.
We often hop in a tuk-tuk to one of the neighboring cities such as Weligama or Mirissa to search for a new wave or sip an orange juice in a new spot. But we are drawn to Midigama which seems to comprise all that we are looking for.
Now back home from this little getaway we feel starkly aware that while Sri Lanka delivered on all that we had hoped it still has many wonders that we have yet to explore. So we will return one day, rather sooner than later."
Photo credit :
- Valentine Soules : @valentinesoules