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Sri Lanka, Ceylon, The Island of a Thousand Names. Its natural beauty lies in its tropical forests, beaches and landscape, as well as its rich cultural heritage. Ayubowan is the warm greeting with which I was greeted on arrival in the country, wishing me a prosperous life.

Cape Welligama Resort, on the beautiful southern coast where, at dawn, fishermen stand for hours perched with their rods on stilts up to three meters high. This resort of luxury villas is built on a 270-degree promontory affording spectacular views of the rugged cliffs and the Indian Ocean. I was able to enjoy the comfort, the lush gardens and pools, and the delicate style with which it is decorated by Thai architect Lek Bunnag, always with the attentive butler service in my villa.
And though it's hard to leave this paradise, the nearby Galle Fort, a World Heritage Site, is a postcard from another time. Three centuries of Portuguese and Dutch colonization gave way to the British Empire but left its mark on its streets, buildings, and customs.

Sri Lanka Travel storie Javier Uberuaga

Following the southern coast, always on the shores of the Indian Ocean, and along colorful roads sometimes crowded with a colorful tuk-tuk, motorized tricycles present throughout the island, my trip took me to the rugged coast of Yala National Park, a refuge for elephants and leopards, among many other species.

Sri Lanka travel story javier Uberuaga
Sri Lanka Travel Story Javier Uberuaga

Between the jungle and the Indian Ocean was the Cocoon tent where I would be staying for the next few nights, at the Wild Coast Tented Lodge.
In Yala National Park I was able to enjoy safaris every sunrise and sunset, where it was so easy to find leopards, elephants, sloth bears, photograph herds of spotted deer, or a great diversity of birds and, with luck, some saltwater crocodiles.

Pude disfrutar de la comodidad, de los exuberantes jardines y piscinas, y del delicado estilo con el que está decorado por el arquitecto tailandés Lek Bunnag, siempre con el atento servicio de mayordomo en mi villa. La experiencia de salir a navegar entre ballenas es algo difícil de narrar; en temporada, se llegan a ver desde la costa. Y aunque a uno le cueste salir de este paraíso, el cercano Fuerte de Galle, Patrimonio de la Humanidad, es una postal de otro tiempo. Tres siglos de colonización portuguesa y holandesa, dieron paso al Imperio Británico, pero dejaron su huella en sus calles, construcciones y costumbres.

And what better way to savor and understand Sri Lankan cuisine than to enjoy a cooking class and really discover the flavor of the spices. For a moment I came to think that their dishes want to move away from India and sneak closer to Thailand, probably because of the use of coconut milk, especially in the curries.
Nothing more colorful than cooking surrounded by coriander seeds, black peppercorns, green and red chilies, cumin and cloves, the warm and floral Ceylon cinnamon, the therapeutic turmeric, and the intense aroma of cardamom.
A country, a cuisine, to which the Buddhist majority brings flavors that also come from other latitudes such as those brought by the Muslims from the east coast, and so many centuries of Portuguese, Dutch, and British colonization.

Sri-Lanka-Travel-story-Javier-Uberuaga
Sri Lanka, the island of a thousand names

Heading towards the center of the island by road, I could discover a changing landscape, villages, and different costumes, proof that I am on an island where Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, and Christians live in harmony for centuries, always ready to make me feel welcome.

Ella, Haputale, Nuwara Eliya are places that perhaps deserve a more leisurely visit, but my desire is to reach Ceylon Tea Trails, in the center of the Ceylon tea growing region in the highlands, makes me postpone it for another occasion. If our time is limited and our desire to get there is great, the comfort of a scenic helicopter flight, or a seaplane sea landing on the waters of Lake Castlereagh, is certainly recommended.

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On the shores of the lake are five authentic tea planters' bungalows: Norwood, Summerville, Dunkeld, Castlereagh, and Tientsin. Walking among the plantations, interacting with the tea pickers, always ready to teach you, or visiting a traditional Tea Factory, where the tea-making process has changed little in the last hundred years, really made me experience the sensations that lead me to continue traveling. Walking among plantations on my way back to my bungalow in the Tea Trails, after visiting the veteran Dunkeld Estate Tea Factory, I wondered how many generations, mainly women, have been hand-picking those tea leaves, in the same way, and with the same sacrifice as their mothers and grandmothers.

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Western travelers in search of beauty and the discovery of other forms of spirituality found our refuge at Santani Wellness Resort & Spa. Its remote location made me leave my stress at the door, and step into a place of rest and relaxation. I could immediately feel my mind freeing and, in the tranquility of my room, the distinction between inside and outside was blurred by the inspiring scenery that surrounded me. I was not surprised to find out that Santani means "in harmony with". In addition to teaching me how to improve my nutrition, practice yoga, or relax at their Spa, they taught me how to lead a healthier life once back in my real life.

Sri Lanka travel story javier uberuaga

Without any doubt this has not been the traditional trip to Sri Lanka, where you expect to visit temples, however discovering another version of this charming country has been a pleasant surprise.

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