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Angela Menezes

Delhi, India

Angela’s story

A journey through my father’s childhood


Winning this trip to Sri Lanka means much more to me than simply embarking on a breathtaking tour of one of the most beautiful islands in the world. I had a very personal reason for taking part in the SriLankan Airlines online competition. You see my father actually spent some of his early childhood years in Sri Lanka. It was where he lived and went to school. As luck and coincidence would have it, my father’s neighbor in Sri Lanka was a little girl who was also his neighbor in Kerala, India. They made precious memories as children. He studied at St. Peter’s College which is a leading boy’s school in Colombo, and she went to a prominent Girl’s school called St. Bridget’s Convent.

In a twist of romantic coincidence, when they returned to Kerala, he went on to marry this girl. It is of course my mother that I speak of. So it was for him that I took part and winning this trip has deep meaning for him and for me. This, my first visit to Sri Lanka with my father, is filled with nostalgic significance as I accompany him on this beautiful journey down memory lane.


Mosin's Story



Shopping


Colombo has so much to offer visitors and I’m not talking about souvenirs and stuff. We strolled through some really impressive shopping malls and modern department stores. I was pleasantly surprised at the amazing range of clothes, shoes and other products bearing international labels. But what really took my breath away were the fabulous bargains on locally produced items such as handcrafted gifts, masks, Sri Lanka’s famous tea, batiks and even exotic gems such as blue sapphires which the island is famous for.

There were superb restaurants and tea houses serving a cross section of everything. The choice was very impressive.

Specialty tea, fast food, seafood, Japanese, Indian, Chinese and of course authentic Sri Lankan, which by now I had come to love. At the end of our shopping tour, we were treated to tea at the famous Dilmah Tea House which offered us an amazing choice of teas and teatime snacks.

St. Andrews Hotel, Nuwara Eliya


Seeing and experiencing Sri Lanka’s diversity is actually believing it. NuwaraEliya is a picturesque town resembling an English village, high in the mountains, thousands of feet above sea level. How pristine, cool and refreshing it was!

We were fortunate to stay at St. Andrews Hotel, a charming, cozy place with an architecture and design reminiscent of a bygone era.

The hotel is surrounded by tall pines and green lawns, and the service was warm, personalized and truly special. Watching my dad, he seemed content and quite at home in this beautiful place.


Lake Gregory, Lover’s Leap and Golf


Our journey to NuwaraEliya, was filled with many amazing sights. Lake Gregory and Lovers Leap falls are two breathtaking, natural wonders that draw many visitors and sight-seers each year. Glistening in the morning sun, Lake Gregory lays nestled in the heart of the town offering a variety of water sports and leisure activities. Lover’s Leap Falls, so named after a tragic tale that has become a legend, cascades over rocky cliffs into a pool below.

This excursion was followed by a round of golf at the spectacular NuwaraEliya Golf Course, much to dad’s delight. He fondly remembered this beautiful town with its architectural evidence of British colonization, and I couldn’t help slightly envying his memories, as we strolled along the neatly manicured banks of Lake Gregory.

Tea Plucking and Tasting


If I was told, a month before my trip, that we would be hand picking tea in the mountains of Sri Lanka, I wouldn’t have believed it. But it happened and how amazing it was for both of us. There we were, on the emerald green slopes, right at the source where the world’s best tea is grown, selecting ‘two leaves and a bud’.

This was followed by a visit to one of the numerous tea factories where we witness first hand, the intricate process of tea being sorted, dried and packed.

Heading back to our hotel we relaxed with a cup of this very special brew enjoying the view, the cool climes and the memories we were making.

Train Tour


Another delightful experience was the train tour we went on. In my opinion, it’s the best way to see the natural beauty of this gorgeous country. I was told the railway system was introduced in 1864 by the British to transport coffee from the mountains to Colombo. We got on at the famous NanuOya Railway Station from NuwaraEliya and travelled to the historic Kingdom of Kandy.

Our journey took us winding through tea covered mountains and forests dotted with waterfalls, rivers and streams. We travelled first class so our journey was really comfortable and pleasant. Dad really enjoyed every minute of it.

St. Peters


Our tour began with a visit to St. Peter’s College, a leading Catholic Boy’s school which he attended as a little boy. This was a truly emotional experience for dad. I could see him drift back into the 1940’s once more. He told me that so much had changed since then yet so many memories came back to him.

It was very emotional for me too, as we strolled the halls he ran along as a boy and walked across the school grounds where he played.

We greeted his successors who, much to dad’s delight, invited him to a bit of cricket. I guess it must have felt like coming home.

Whale Watching


Sri Lanka has many wondrous experiences to offer visitors. I can confidently say, getting on a boat and getting up close to a Blue Whale is right up there in the top five! My father, despite his age was not going to miss this opportunity to go whale watching which, is a highlight on most tourist itineraries.

And we were handsomely rewarded! Within a short time, we came upon one of these magnificent creatures.

Frankly, I can’t put that moment into words. You have to experience it, to truly understand how profound a sighting can be!

The Galle Fort


I had heard about it and read about it but finally walking through the magnificent Galle Fort which was built by the Portuguese and then later on taken over and fortified by the Dutch, was an amazing experience. It was like stepping back into a part of history itself. This historical monument built in the southern seaside city of Galle in the fifteen hundreds, stands as a testament to Portuguese and Dutch colonization of Sri Lanka.

Still majestic with its stone walls and sprawling ramparts, today it is a quiet, charming place with little criss-crossing streets bearing old Dutch names. These streets are lined with beautifully restored ancestral homes, converted hotels, cafes and restaurants.

My father’s eyes recollected so many things. Maybe it was the architecture. Maybe it was the salty sea air but his eyes were filled with wonder and nostalgia.

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