13.01.2018 Sri Lanka – Colombo

A day full of surprises and one we will remember for many years to come.


We had prepared, or should I say Peter had packed 3 cases of goods that we wanted to donate to the poor of Sri Lanka. I play tennis with Claudia in Germany whose brother-in-law and sister-law (Ruth & Heinz) live on the island. I had arranged all the details with Ruth who does a lot of social work here in Sri Lanka. Ruth had kindly offered for one of their employees to collect us at the harbour.  The driver was then to take us on a city tour. Ruth had taken the time to make a list of places that might be of interest to us. They were!

Our donations consisted of school books which we had purchased at a low price in England, pencils, crayons, T-Shirts and sweatshirts and other items all leftovers from our wholesale business, biros that one of my photo group members Kirsten had given us, other office supplies including toothbrushes and toothpaste which had been donated by three of my English night school members.


The evening before arriving we contacted the reception to check if they could give us any information about going through customs with 3 cases. They advised us not to do so and I suggested we put the goods into backpacks to carry them of the ship. However, we only have two backpacks so the run of things would have taken ages. On talking to other passengers we suddenly had a total of 11 backpacks and enough people to carry them all off the ship. Peter packed then all carefully the night before and at 8 a.m. when the ship arrived we were ready for our new adventure.


Unfortunately two errors happened. We docked at a different area than had been on the plan and my telephone was not working. I had not given Peter´s number to Ruth.


Everyone met as planned and we all left the ship together. We were earlier than had been arranged for our collection at 9 a.m. so did not worry until about 9.45 a.m. when we still had not been picked up. The entrance to the harbour area was totally hectic. Taxi drivers and Tuk Tuk drivers everywhere. The drivers were fighting amongst themselves to get the tours, the tourists were overwhelmed by all this. Fortunately, there were some police there to try and get things under control. We watched it all from our position behind the barriers where drivers could not come up close to us and keep offering their services.


Everyone who helped with the backpacks!

At 10 a.m. I decided to ring Germany and try and get into contact with the driver. We thought he may have been waiting at one of the 8 gates or been delayed in the traffic.

I rang Claudia´s home number. It must have been around 5 a.m. when I dragged Horst, Claudia´s husband out of bed. Horst made a note of where we were standing in Colombo and Peter´s telephone number. He was then able to get hold of Ruth, his sister, and she in turn contacted the office in Sri Lanka who in turn contacted the driver. Horst sent me an SMS to let us know something was happening. He also sent me Ruth´s address here which I asked him to do, in case the driver did not come so that we could deliver the goods ourselves. Twenty minutes a beautiful white BMW turned up in front of us and the driver held up a sign with Mr. Peter & Mrs Linda on it. Seeing our smiles he jumped out of the car, opened the boot and began to help us load our 11 backpacks into the car.

I jumped into the air-conditioned car and immediately sent Horst and Claudia an SMS that the driver had arrived. We now had approx. 29 degrees blazing heat.


Where would you like to go and what would you like to see were Kalinga´s first questions. I mentioned the places Ruth had mentioned and he put the tour together in his head and started to explain the route that he wanted to suggest.


First stop a Hindu temple. This temple amazed us by its size. Kalinga drove into the parking area at the back and asked if we had something to cover our legs – we did have something this time. We usually wear long trousers in these countries as it is easier when touring but today we were both in shorts but had taken precautions for visiting temples.

Kalinga was careful and explained what we should do and not do. He picked up our shoes, which you have to take off when entering a Hindu temple, and took them to the car. On entering he immediately started telling Peter about the temple. I am afraid I held back behind the two men and was mesmerised by the interior and sorting out my camera settings, as we seemed to be going through such continual light changes from really bright light to shadows and then this dark atmosphere. I tried using my flash but lost the atmosphere of the hall so it was back to changing settings all the time.


The name of this temple is Sri Ponnambala Vaneswara Temple. It is a Hindu temple, built in1856 from bricks and mortar. Sir Ramanathan Ponnambalam, decided to rebuild the temple entirely of imported Indian granite. It is considered to be one of the oldest ShivanTemples. We found it very interesting and that is good news when Peter finds temples interesting. It is huge. After our tour of  the temple, Kalanga took us to the front to be blessed.



 Sri Ponnambala Vaneswara Hindu Temple. It is a Hindu temple

Dutch Church

Manning Market

Muslim area 

After leaving this temple we drove through the city to a Dutch church which Kalinga wanted to show us. This also proved to be interesting. The church is badly in need of work on its exterior walls. Kalinga explained that when it was built in the early 18th century it could be seen from the harbour so that the Dutch sea men coming in could recognise it from a distance. This is no longer the case. The grave stones at the church intrigued us. Many going back to the early 16. hundreds. Kalinga explained the meaning of the engraving on many of the stones. A large majority of the European people died of malaria in those days. This was visible from the stone.


Driving along he explained about the bus system and pointed out that the bus destination was written up in three languages.


We drove through the Muslim area which was filthy and continued the city centre. The city centre has ever changing faces from filthy/dirty areas to really smart clean areas.

Kalinga took us to both.


Weaving through the city we made our way to the vegetable wholesale market. This is now called Manning Market. So many unknown types of vegetables. Everyone was very friendly and ready to have their photo taken. Peter even did some sweeping up with the locals.


This was followed by a short walk to the dried fish market and the fruit market. We decided we did not want to go to the meat market.



Next stop – The Gangama Temple. This is divided into two sections. The first section being a waterfront temple. The second section on the opposite side of the street being the larger part. This is a Buddhist temple and I have never seen so many statues in one temple as here. There was also a museum with the smallest Buddha statue in the world being a magnifying glass. After walking round this temple Kalinga again took us to a separate section to be blessed.  We received a “long life bracelet” from the monk and were blessed. The monk showed us some very valuable and precious statutes which are kept behind a locked door. On leaving the temple Kalinga pointed to a sign which informed people that this temple was presently collecting money and goods for poor children. We knew Ruth would not mind us giving some of the items to this temple for the poor children so Peter went to the car and fetched some blank school books, pencils, biros, T-shirts and spectacles. Kalinga disappeared with the items as he said they needed to make a note of where the goods had come from and who had brought them here, but returned very quickly and asked us to take our shoes back off and follow him.

Again we were presented to the monk who took us to his holy room with the small valuable alter. I asked Peter to present the goods and the monk asked him to lay them on the alter. We then received further blessings and more “long life bracelets” as well as “wealth bringing cards” which have embossed brass plates in them. We must always keep them in our pocket or in our wallet. We felt totally involved in these ceremonies and felt very moved by them. Kalinga was continually giving us interesting and valuable information. These two temples were among our many “highlights” of the day. My camera was running HOT HOT HOT!



The Gangama Temple by the lake

The main Gangama Temple

Next stop – lunch. We were all a little hungry but we were all a little worried that Peter and I should not get ill by eating or drinking in the wrong place. Our driver suggested taking us to a modern shopping mall where we could eat in the food court. This turned out to be very good and the food court was outdoors, very clean and the food was fantastic.


After lunch we strolled through the shopping mall just to see what was on offer. A top modern and expensive shopping mall just like you would find anywhere in the world.




Shopping mall 

Next stop - Independence Memorial Hall. In 1948 Sri Lanka received its independence from Great Britain and this hall was built in memory of such. The hall was quite well visited when we arrived and we walked through it to the end. Suddenly, I turned around and the hall was empty and I was able to get a great photo of the hall from the inside.


Next stop – The "Odel" shopping Mall. We took the opportunity of using the clean toilets here but after peeping round the corner decided we did not want to visit another modern shopping mall and asked Kalinga to take us to a supermarket which locals would use. This again proved to be very modern and clean.


Independence Memorial Hall

Street photos

It was now 5 p.m. Our day in Colombo Sri Lanka was drawing to an end.

Sunset was to be around 6.10 p.m. We had chosen again to take up Ruth´s suggestion of visiting the Galle Face Hotel for cocktails and a beautiful view over the ocean to the west where the sun would set.

Kalinga dropped us off and we decided first to walk the beach for a while before going into this beautiful and very elegant hotel. Making our way down towards the terrace we ordered two cocktails and searched for a table “for two” nearby the terrace staircase. Ruth had given us another valuable tip! Just before sunset a bagpiper and a soldier would come down the terrace staircase and the flag would be lowered at sunset. We experienced this from our front seats. They both came out of the hotel and down the staircase. The bagpiper playing all the time. On reaching the flag the soldier lowered the flag and folded it into a neat bundle which had carried back up to the hotel side by side with the bagpipe player as if he was guarding a plate of gold.

The sky had clouded over and it did not look as if we were going to get any sunset vision but suddenly whilst drinking our cocktails there was a small opening between the clouds and ocean and suddenly this huge red ball appeared on the horizon and we got our planned sunset. I touched my “long life & good luck bracelet” and felt very lucky and honored to have seen all the things we had this day.



Galle Face Hotel 

Time to return to the ship. Kalanga asked where we would like to go after this hotel visit and was quite surprised at 6.45 p.m. when we asked him to take us back to the ship. It had been a long hot day that we had thoroughly enjoyed. Colombo has many faces – I would not like to live here, but our visit has given us a lo of information and on hands activity to introduce us to a completely different culture.


Our thanks go to all the people who gave us donation items to add to our own.

To Ruth and her husband for doing this valuable charity work and for supporting us with a car and driver for the day.

To Horst and Claudia who I woke up at 5 a.m. to sort out our problems and who in the first place set up the connections to Ruth.

Finally, thanks to Kalinga our driver, for making this day one of the highlights of our World Tour.


13.01.2018 SRI LANKA

Am Nachmittag zuvor musste ich die 3 mitgebrachten Koffer unserer Spenden umpacken in Rucksäcke und Taschen wir hatten die Information von Mitarbeitern der CARA das der Zoll die Mitnahme von Koffern nicht erlauben werde.

Mehrere Mitreisende stellten uns Rucksäcke und Taschen sowie sich selber zum runter tragen zur Verfügung. 

Am Morgen, wir waren 12 Personen in unserer Gruppe wurde es am Hafenausgang wieder einmal nicht so genau genommen, es gab allerdings keinerlei Kontrollen.

Wir bahnten uns den Weg durch unzählige aufdringlich penetrante Tuk Tuk Fahrer die hofften ihr Geschäft mit den Passagieren zu machten.

In einer Sicherheitszone fanden wir  einen Platz für unsere 12 Taschen und Rucksäcke.

Es war 8.30 Uhr, um 9.00 Uhr sollten wir von einem Fahrer der Familie welche die Spenden in Empfang nehmen und verteilen wollten abgeholt werden.

Es wurde 9.00 Uhr, es wurde 9.30Uhr von unserem Abholer keine Spur.

Vor verlassen der „Cara“ hatten wir gehört dass der eigentlich zugewiesene Liegeplatz sich geändert hatte, also machte sich in uns die Vermutung breit dass er an einem der weiteren 7 Hafenausfahrten wartete. 

Wir hatten weder Adresse oder Telefonnummer, Ruth die Spendenempfängerin weilt in Deutschland, was tun. Kurzentschlossen rief Linda nun unseren Bekannten Horst, Ruth's Bruder um 5.00 Uhr in der Frühe in Deutschland an, und hatte Glück. Die Maschinerie setzte sich in Bewegung.

Nach einer weiteren Stunde des Wartens und weiteren aufdringlichen Angeboten der Tuk Tuk Fahrer hielt wie aus den nichts kommend eine große weiße BMW Limousine, unser Abholer ein wie sich den ganzen Tag über herausstellte überaus umsichtiger und aufmerksamer Mann.

Schnell hatten wir alles verstaut und nahmen im wohl temperierten Wagen platz.

Kalinga unser Fahrer stand uns samt BMW den ganzen Tag zur Verfügung, da wir keine große Lust auf weite Überlandtouren hatten, wollten wir uns den Sehenswürdigkeiten der Hauptstadt COLOMBO ausführlich widmen.

Als erstes steuerte Kalinga den großen von außen kaum zu erkennenden Hindu-Tempel Ponnambala-Vanneswarat an. Erst einmal hieß es Schuhe aus und die Beine bedecken, erst dann konnten wir den Tempel betreten. Innen erwartete uns ein recht dunkles Innenleben aus massiven viereckigen Pfeilern, alle waren reich verziert mit Menschen-und Tierähnlichen Figuren, die auf mich wie Fabelwesen wirkten.

Der Tempel war von Gläubigen gut besucht. Lediglich ein Priester segnet im leisen Gebet Gläubige die sich dafür angestellt hatten. Kalinga erreicht in einem kurzen Gespräch nachdem er dem Priester unser beider Namen zu geflüstert hatte, dass auch wir gesegnet wurden. Wir waren beeindruckt.

Mehre interessante Gebäude wie den Präsidenten-Palast, das Gouverneursgebäude,

den Communication-Tower, (im Besitz der Chinesen) dass World Trade Center mit seinen beiden 37 Stockwerke hohen identischen Gebäuden sahen wir nur aus dem Auto heraus.

Eine holländische Christliche Kirche auf einem Hügel erbaut aus dem 16. Jahrhundert war unser nächster Stopp. Zur Bauzeit war die Kirche noch von See aus zu sehen heute ist sie von höheren Bauwerken umgeben. Vieles was für den Bau der Kirche benötigt wurde kam aus Holland.

Sie ist allerdings in einem Äußerlich schlechten Zustand und bedarf einer Renovierung.

Wir sahen auf den Boden auf den Fußboden Grabsteine von 1624 und älter. Interessante Zeichen deuteten darauf hin woran die Personen gestorben sind.  zbs. wenn ein Totenkopf den Stein zierte war die Person an Malaria gestorben, eine Sanduhr bedeutete das die Person sehr jung verstarb und wenn ein Bein über dem anderen gekreuzt war ist der Tot infolge eines Unfalls eingetreten.

Es folgte der Stopp am Buddhistischen Gangaramaya Tempel. Er besteht aus 2 Anlagen.

Der erste sehr kleine Tempel erbaut 1979 liegt an einem See reich verziert, allerdings ist er mehr für die Touristen da. Am Eingang wurden pro Person 300 Rupien fällig damit war aber auch der Eintritt für den auf der gegenüber liegenden Seite mächtigen Tempel bezahlt.

Dieser Tempel glänzte durch unzählige Mensch- und Tierfiguren. Viele Bücher, zum Teil

über 1000 Jahre alt und beschrieben auf getrockneter Baumrinde und Baumblätter waren ausgestellt. Im kleinen Museum standen einige vererbte Oldtimer in Vitrinen lagen unzählig dem Tempel vererbte Armbanduhren. Wir bekamen noch einen von Hand betriebenen, allerdings außer Betrieb befindlichen Fahrstuhl zu sehen.

In einem gläsernen Raum dem „RELIC CHAMBER“ in denen besonders alte und seltene Figuren aus purem Gold und Diamanten sowie ein Haar Buddhas ausgestellt waren sahen wir wie einen Mönch der Gläubige mit einer Blütengabe in die Hand und einem Tablett ähnlichen Teller mit einer kleinen Buddha Statue darauf gesegnet hat, anschließend bekamen sie noch ein rotes Band an das rechte Handgelenk gebunden. Das Band steht für ein langes Leben.

Dieses Ritual wurde uns dank Kalinga der das noch für uns eingefädelt hatte auch noch zu Teil. Wir waren beeindruckt. Nach einem weiteren Rundgang durch mehrere Räume fragte Karlinga mich ob ich eine Spende geben würde, ich griff sofort zu meinen Geldscheinen, er meinte allerdings keine Spende im herkömmlichen Sinne sondern erklärte mir das es nett wäre wenn wir von unseren mitgebrachten Teilen Brillen für die Alten sowie Schreibblöcke und Stifte für die Kinder spenden würden. Daraufhin packte ich einige Teile zusammen und übergab sie den Mönch der dafür extra einen Platz auf den mit seinen Schätzen bestückten Altar frei gemacht hatte. Als Dank erhielten wir noch weitere Bänder für ein langes Leben und 4 Scheckkarten große herrlich verzierte Karten die Sorge dafür tragen sollen (werden) das es uns immer gut gehen soll und es uns an nichts fehlt.

Dafür gebrauchen wir die Karten ja nun wirklich nicht. 1. haben wir seeehhhrrr viele Menschen um uns herum die wir als wirkliche Freunde bezeichnen dürfen. Mehr wollen wir nicht

2. Für das notwendige zwischen den Fingern haben wir durch Fleiß und etwas Geschick selber gesorgt. Wir werden diese besonderen Karten an uns tragen, sicher helfen sie, dass es uns, unseren Familien und Freunden alte wie neue stets an nichts fehlen möge.

Ein Besuch im Obst und Gemüsemarkt durfte nicht fehlen bei uns heißt das Großmarkt, vergleichbar war allerdings nur die Größe. Untergebracht in mehreren ellenlangen alten schmuddeligen ehemaligen Lagerhallen spielte sich das wuselige Leben ab. Jeder Händler bot die zuvor von den Bauern erworbenen Waren an.

Als besonders reinlich und aufgeräumt, so wie wir es kennen kann allerdings keine Rede sein.

 Zwischendurch machte sich unser Magen bemerkbar und verlangte nach Nahrung, auch da wusste Kalinga einen geeigneten Platz, wir hatten die Auswahl zwischen mehreren kleinen aneinander gereihten kleinen Garküchen und entschieden uns für unterschiedliche Reisgerichte. Super Lecker.

Bevor wir uns den Independence Square widmeten schauten wir uns noch kurz in zwei Geschäften um. War für uns aber uninteressant.

In den offenen Independent Memorial Gebäude wurde 1948 das Unabhängigkeitspapier unterzeichnet. Angegliedert ist ein großer sehr ordentlich gepflegter Park.

So langsam wurde es Zeit für unseren Abschlussstopp. 

 Auf Empfehlung von Ruth sollten wir auf die Terrasse des 6 Sterne „Galle Face Hotels“ gehen, Platz nehmen und auf den besonderen Moment warten wenn die Sonne ins Wasser fällt. Ein Blick zum Himmel sah allerdings nicht nach einem spektakulären Sonnenuntergang aus. Eine weitere Besonderheit erschien in Person eines Dudelsack Spielers der jeden Abend um 18.00 Uhr begleitet von einem Pagen zum einholen der Flagge spielend die Stufen herunter schreitet.

Wir hatten inzwischen unser Getränk zum erhofften Sonnenuntergangsmoment erhalten als sich kurz über dem Meer ein blauer Streifen zeigte, genau dadurch entschwand die rote Sonne dann für alle sichtbar ins Meer.

Kalinga brachte uns wohlbehalten zum Eingang des riesigen Hafengebiets von wo uns ein Shuttlebus zurück zu unserem Wassertaxi brachte.

Trotz eines mäßigen Starts in unser Abenteuer hatten wir dank unseres hervorragenden

Chauffeurs KALINGA einen nicht zu übertreffenden Tag mit vielen wunderschönen 

Erlebnissen an schönen Plätzen. Danke Ruth, Danke Kalinga.