The generous contributions provided by the college via Gateway and Rosemary Murray Travel Funds aided in my travels to Sri Lanka this summer. I was able to spend a month travelling around and exploring the treasures that Sri Lanka had to offer. I started my adventure in Colombo, the country’s capital city. Here we spent a couple of days roaming the city, temple hopping and soaking up the culture. Our next stop was Udawalawe, a national park where we had the opportunity to go on safari. It was truly amazing being able to experience wild animals such as water buffalo, elephants and monkeys in their natural habitat. We then headed to the city of Ella, situated in the mountains of Sri Lanka. This was one of my favourite places of my trip and the altitude allowed for a temporary welcome break in the sweltering temperature. We did a lot of trekking in Ella, and even dragged ourselves out of bed at 4:30am one morning to watch the sunrise over one of the local mountains!
From Ella we travelled to Kandy on what is said to be one of the most beautiful train rides in the world. The journey definitely lived up to its name and we spent the entire 6 hours memorised at the stunning views from our train window. Kandy itself didn’t have much to offer in terms of tourist attractions so we swiftly moved onto our next destination, Sigiriya. The area is famous for its beautiful surroundings and a very large rock that you can hike up to catch the view. Our next destination was Trincomalee, our first bit of sand and sea of the trip. Having been racing around non-stop for the past 2 weeks, we welcomed the chance to relax in the sun for a bit of R&R and spent the majority of our stay on the beach. We then travelled about 8km north from Trincomalee where we spent the next few days completing our PADI Open Water Diving certificate. It was truly an amazing experience and we were even lucky enough to see a whale shark on one of our dives. I cannot wait to be able to put my license to good use in many other great dive spots across the world.
The last stretch of the trip was spent following the east coastline of Sri Lanka down south. On the way we stopped off at Arugam Bay. As a well-known surfing hotspot, we thought we would give it a go and soon discovered that it is a lot harder than it looks! We ended our journey in Yala, another famous national park, well-known for its leopard population, where we had the privilege to once again go on safari. Whilst we unfortunately did not see a leopard we did see a lot of elephants, monkeys and crocodiles. I would like to thank the people at Gateway and the Rosemary Murray Travel Fund giving me such an amazing opportunity this summer.
Human, Social and Political Sciences