So this is a little embarrassing but I’m going to tell you anyway. I arrived at Singapore airport in the early hours of Monday morning. Sleep deprived and still running on adrenaline, I checked my ticket to see how much time I had to explore Singapore before my next flight. To my horror the ticket read I wasn’t flying out until Tuesday and the time was 1150pm, 42 hours away!! Needing confirmation that I wasn’t reading the ticket wrong I spoke with the helpful lady at the information desk who agreed and helped me book accommodation in Singapore. 

Fadhli

A little upset with the travel agent for booking the wrong flight, I met Fadhli, a local guy who helped me negotiate the train into the city. After a big day of exploring the city and finally a decent night sleep, I ate more noodles and thought I’d have a quick look at my ticket again. My heart stopped. I realised 1150pm wasn’t the departure time, it was the boarding time! I grabbed my gear and raced back to the airport hoping that Emirates staff would tell me it was all good. It wasn’t. Not only had I missed my flight, no one had any idea where my bike was. I was assured I would receive compensation but that would be no help as this trip was all about the bike. After several hours of extreme anxiety, thinking about what I was going to do without my bike it was finally located. I could relax!

The woman who told me that my bike had been located!!

The ticket

$600 poorer, one day late but with bicycle in hand, I arrived at Bandaranaike airport, Sri Lanka at 2am. Feeling like I had already missed so much, I decided to assemble my bike there and then. As I wheeled my bike outside it became apparent that it was raining really hard. After a small bombardment of Taxi drivers tried to convince me to travel with them instead I was off. It felt amazing. There was almost no traffic on the road so it was just me. I was struck with a huge feeling of freedom. The rain got heavy so I took shelter with some locals and ate Samosas and Wood apples (a local fruit which tastes like a cross between custard apple and wood… actually more like wood).

Eating street food with the locals in the rain at 3am

I finally found my accommodation, a nice little B&B by the beach. To my surprise the staff were up and gave me a tea and It was time for some sleep. 

I got about 4 hours sleep before I excitedly woke. After a walk on the beach and an amazing breakfast of local fruit, eggs and home made passionfruit juice I was off. 

My hosts

I followed a quiet coastal road south along the west coast. It was humid but the breeze off the ocean kept me cool.

Following the coast

As I approached the capital Colombo, the traffic began to become more and more chaotic (although it was somewhat organised chaos). After spending the night in a nice little B&B in the city I wanted to find the house I had heard about as a child. The house my mum was born in. The house that provided a roof for my mum, and her brothers and sisters, and my grand parents. I arrived at the Iconic Elibank road. Without a word of a lie, It was the cleanest, greenest, and most well kept street I had seen! After a quick photo of the street sign, I slowly rolled along the quaint shaded little street. I don’t know how to describe the feeling but I was mesmerised and the anticipation of which house I would be stopping at was overwhelming. I finally stopped and spoke with a security guard who was standing at the door of number 32. This was it! The old Toussaint residence is now owned by Ramani Fernando, and home to his Salon. As the website mentions, ‘Ramani Fernando Salons is the foremost chain Hair and Beauty salons in the country and are located in some of the most prestigious addresses in the country’.  This may be the reason this sweaty, white boy from Australia was politely refused entry by the ridiculously overdressed staff member. Either way the security guard was up for a good chat and was happy to take my photo at the front of the house. This made my day!

The old Toussaint residence

From there I made my way south, and the traffic slowly decreased. I was rolling along at more than 20km per hour with little effort but found myself stopping frequently to look at everything. I followed the road which snaked alongside the coast and in and out of small towns. Eventually I found myself at the seaside town of Beruwala.

Beruwala

The beachside road took me through small fishing villages and eventually I found myself at a guest house surrounded by rainforest less than 100 meters from the beach and to top it off there was a pool! It became apparent that I had sustained a pretty impressive T-shirt tan and it was definitely time to invest in some sunscreen.

slight burn

After exploring the beach, I set off the next day, this time shirtless with heavily applied sunscreen to my arms. I was reminded regularly by everyone I met that it looked like I was still wearing a shirt.

on the road

I found some funky little beachside restaurants along the way and enjoyed fresh seafood. I stopped at a turtle sanctuary, but more memorably attended the Tsunami Educational Centre where I was told the shocking story of the 2004 Boxing day Tsunami from a girl who survived the horrific event by hanging on to a palm tree. Over 230,000 weren’t as lucky.

By the end of the day I found myself at a small hostel with a deck that literally backed onto the beach.

relaxing

This morning I made the 9km journey to the Galle Forte and plan on staying here for a couple of days.

Galle Lighthouse

I know every one says this about lots of places, but the people in Sri Lanka are by far the friendliest people I have ever met. Everyone gives you a smile as you ride past and I mean everyone! Cycling along the smooth, pot holed roads I felt super relaxed and happy that I had made it, and even with an onshore breeze at my side was cruising along effortlessly at around 20km/h. The traffic is typical of your third world countries with plenty of beeping. There are your stereotypical smokey busses, loud trucks, and zippy rickshaws weaving across the road. I was surprised at the amount of people who get around on bicycles over here. Everyone is up for a chat are happy to pull up along side me and hold up traffic for a few minutes. 

Making friends.

Day 1 Airport to Negombo – 12.6km

Day 2 Negombo to Colombo – 48.6km

Day 3 Columbo to Beruwala – 62.1km

Day 4 Beruwala to a place outside Galle – 65.1km

Day 5 A place outside Galle to Galle – 9.2km