5 Great Things to do in and around Ella, Sri Lanka

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Little Adam’s Peak, Ella

It was tough to tear ourselves away from the beaches of Tangalla, but promises of sweeping mountain views, tea plantations, and hiking got us excited about Ella. The town makes a great base for exploring Sri Lanka’s hill country, and sits in the middle of some really WOW scenery. While Ella’s busy main drag is a bit off-putting, the town has lots of good places to sleep, eat, drink, and get a massage after a long day of hiking.  Here’s a summary of our favourite activities around Ella. Continue reading

Categories: Sri Lanka | Tags: , , , , , | 26 Comments

Captivated by the ambiance of Galle Fort, Sri Lanka

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School children at Galle Fort, Sri Lanka

It’s late on a Friday afternoon in historic Galle,  and there’s hundreds of school children out in their tidy, white uniforms. Teachers keep a watchful eye on the youngsters as they walk hand-in-hand along the fort walls and play on the beaches. Their youth is an irresistible foil to this exotic old trading port in southern Sri Lanka. We are captivated by Galle’s ambiance. Come along as we a stroll atop the 17th century, Dutch-built fortification and explore the atmospheric walled town. Continue reading

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Don’t miss The Gargoyles on an Elfin Lakes hike

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The Gargoyles in Garibaldi Provincial Park, British Columbia

I’ve hiked to Elfin Lakes at least half a dozen times, but I’ve only recently done the gem of a little add-on hike to The Gargoyles. Elfin Lakes is a popular hike in Garibaldi Provincial Park, near Squamish, British Columbia. The 22 km (14 mile) return hike is a beauty on its own, but for just an extra 2.5 km (from Elfin Lakes) you get into some incredible glaciovolcanic landscapes. In non-scientific lingo, that means bizarre volcanic rock pillars, stark scree slopes, and turquoise-hued, glacially-carved lakes.  A few weeks ago, my friend Morag and I got to explore this otherworldly place called The Gargoyles. Continue reading

Categories: Activities, British Columbia, Hiking | Tags: , , , | 56 Comments

Hiking Brandywine Meadows and Mountain at Whistler’s Callaghan Valley

 

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Brandywine Meadows

I’m on a hiking roll, and just did another beauty—Brandywine Meadows and Mountain, at Whistler’s Callaghan Valley. This hike has an incredibly high reward-to-effort ratio, particularly if you have a sturdy 4-wheel drive vehicle. An easy walk brings you to a beautiful meadow surrounded by snow-dappled peaks. It’s crisscrossed with gurgling creeks and is currently ablaze in wildflowers—you’ll think you’ve landed on set in The Sound of Music. The trail beyond the meadow, to Brandywine Mountain, is more strenuous, but with so many gorgeous views it doesn’t feel onerous. And, if you don’t make it the whole way (we didn’t), it’s still an enormously satisfying hike. Continue reading

Categories: Activities, British Columbia, Canada, Hiking | Tags: , , , , | 17 Comments

Hiking Whistler’s Skywalk North Trail

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Skywalk North: Whistler, British Columbia

I’m so excited about a hike I did earlier this week that I’m taking a short break from my Sri Lanka series to tell you about Whistler’s Skywalk North (better known as one of the trails leading to Iceberg Lake). Despite the clouds and the voracious mosquitoes, Skywalk North was amazing and got me motivated to explore more trails of the Skywalk network. My hiking pals (Morag and Eva) and I love a hike with variety and this one gets top marks: The 23 km lollipop route (a loop with a short repeated section at the start and end) travels through cedar forests, alpine meadows, rocky slopes with dramatic views of the Coast Mountains, and a glacial basin with tumbling waterfalls and the turquoise-hued star attraction— Iceberg Lake. Continue reading

Categories: Activities, British Columbia, Canada, Hiking, Places | Tags: , , | 67 Comments

Tangalla Beach, Sri Lanka: Which direction should we walk today?

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Happiness at Tangalla Beach

We’re sitting under the canopy of a rickety, bamboo-thatched hut. It’s open on three sides, offering up views of the languid comings and goings along the beach. The floor is an extension of the golden sand that meets the azure sea. On the wall behind us is a massive poster of a chilled-out Bob Marley. There’s a rectangular cut-out in the wall next to Bob, with a view into the rustic kitchen, where  a couple of ladies are sharing laughs as one of them prepares Mike’s fruit juice. This place has become our favourite spot for a break during our long beach walks. Maybe it’s the combination of the beautiful beach, mellow vibe and no decision making except for which direction to walk that’s making me feel unusually content. A young man with a big smile brings Mike his juice, and me, my king coconut. Life is good here on Tangalla Beach. Continue reading

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Don’t let anyone tell you that Colombo is not worth a visit

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Galle Face Geen, Colombo

I enjoyed Colombo much more than I thought I would. I’d read many reviews that describe Sri Lanka’s capital city as not worth a visit, and plagued by traffic congestion, noise and pollution. Sure it has some of these issues, but not worth a visit—no way. We spent a couple of days there at the start of our trip and it turned out to be a fascinating introduction to the country. What I like most about Colombo is its vibrant and diverse public spaces. The city buzzes with energy, and nowhere is this better displayed than in Pettah’s market streets and at Galle Face Green—my two favourite experiences in Colombo (and among my top memories of our entire trip). Continue reading

Categories: Sri Lanka | Tags: , , , , , | 29 Comments

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