Sri Lanka: a hard landing

Our last sight of Malaysia is a lovely sunrise at the distinctly unlovely Air Asia terminal. Three hours later we arrive in Sri Lanka, our second last country of the holiday.

We last came to Sri Lanka twelve years ago, not long after the 2004 Tsunami. Back then, Colombo was not a city in which to linger for long, but we were lucky enough to stay at the best hotel around here – the majestic Galle Face Hotel.

It still seems to be a city to get out of as soon as possible. It is loud, traffic is bonkers busy, drivers often ignore the concept of pedestrian crossings and the nearby river is pretty damn stinky. Sadly, this time we’re not staying anywhere near as good as the Galle Face.

Our hotel on a very busy road (think Piccadilly circus only three times busier). It has echoing corridors that render a door opening an experience loud enough to wake the dead. There are probably 30 guests, but only enough space for eight to have breakfast. It backs onto a train line and the wifi is dial-up speed or less. We’ll be very pleased to get out of here but at least it’s clean, staff are friendly and it is near to the main station.

We escape the noise, traffic, scam artists and constant offers of rides by tuk-tuk drivers in the nearby Hilton. It is an oasis of calm, with wonderful gardens with swans and massive fish in the landscaped pond. It has great coffee and the best rated Italian restaurant in Colombo, which delivers us a huge meal for around £25. The wifi is even good enough for us to research our Greek adventure starting in a couple of weeks. How wonderful.