The main reason why I went to Sri Lanka (and not to Jamaica, Cuba, Mexico etc like I originally intended) was a retreat I had found and booked: it was one week of yoga and surfing, and working intuitively, with meditation etc. Learning to surf had been on my bucket list for ages, so there I went.
We were a group of girls in a stunning villa in Madiha, right by the beach. I shared a room with a girl from Norway, and we had a lush outdoor bathroom. Most of the girls had their own boards with them and had been surfing for years, which I hadn't expected. Luckily there were tw other girls who had never surfed before, so we took lessons together in Weligama, another village by the beach with the best conditions for beginners.
We got an introduction from soem cheerful Sri Lankan surf instructors, and then we headed out with our board and one of the guys, who helped us pushing us out on the waves. It was good fun but I swallowed so much sea water at my first lesson! The waves are sometimes quite strong, and the worst part is getting back out there after a surf.
In the mornings we had meditation and yoga classes (at 6 am, so we could go surfing straight after breakfast without it being too hot). Then in the late afternoons there was either yin yoga, or restorative yoga, or yoga nidra, and meditation. The mosquitoes were eating us alive - try relaxing in sivasana when you itch all over! No amount of mosquito spray seemed to help, so we just covered up in towels. But that was the only downside.
The food was great, with lots of curries. Very little spice though, everytng was tame for us Westerners. I missed me a good chilli!
One day we went to an Ayurvedic doctor, where we all got diagnosed with too much Pita (fire) in our bodies. Maybe it was just the tropical heat or the sunburns of some of the girls? After that we drove to a tea plantation, where we go a great tour around and could try all the teas they produce. The machines they are using are over 140 years old! Very cool to see.
Another day we drove to Hikkaduwa beach which was stunning.
We also visited a temple nearby which was so beautiful. The paintings were super old, and there was a pre-school on the property where a group of little kids just arrived to practise some traditional dancing. They were thrilled to see us foreigners and picked us tons of flowers and wanted to take photos with us and let us watch them dance - very cute.
It was a short but very relaxed week.
I will stay another week now in Mirissa and try to do a bit more surfing.
And so after a week in Germany that got progressively colder and rainier, I left on the 11th of November. After a 4 hour stop in London Heathrow the plane headed direction Sri Lanka :)
I arrived around midday, and stepped right into the first tuk tuk to my guest house in Negombo which is around 1 hour North of Colombo.
It felt strange and super nice being back in Asia. The typical tropical smell and sounds, the light, the colours....
The guesthouse was super sweet, run by a very nice family and situated in a quiet side road. My room was in the house of the granny who sat all day long in the hallway, in case I needed something.
I had only booked one night to chill out a bit after the long flight.I did a little walk around and stumbled over an impressive newly built Christian church. Surprisingly also my guest family was Christian.
In the evening the daughter grabbed me and bought me to their private living room where she sat with me writing down paper after paper full of Sinhalese words and their meaning in English. It was very sweet and actually great to have an overview of the most important words. Usually I only look up "Thank You" in any language of the countries I travel to.
After that I went to my room trying to have an early night, since I hadn't slept much at the airplane.
But sure enough I couldn't fall asleep, although it is only a 4,5 hour time difference. I felt a bit emotional too. After 4 years in my safe little routine of my Spanish life I felt a bit out of my elements. I missed friends, I felt emotional about my family in Germany which is always a bit tough (especially since I hadn't told my grandparents and my mother about my travel plans), I felt quite lost.
The next morning I felt a bit better though. I left early to make my way to Mirissa where my good old friend and ex-flatmate Tamzin was waiting for me. She was teaching yoga in a hostel just a few kilometers from the place where I had booked a retreat for the following week. Luckily I could volunteer for the week before the retreat at that hostel too.
I hopped on the bus from Negombo to Colombo, and went to the train station (the guesthouse daughter had explained to me where to walk). The only train to Mirissa was at 2 pm so I took the train to Matara which is nearby. I bought a ticket for the 3rd class, having seen a documentary just a few nights before at my sister's where the journalist had taken the third class, and it looked perfectly fine. It cost me not even a Euro for that 3-4 hour train journey to the South coast. I loved the views from the train, and enjoyed the ride. The people are incredibly sweet and friendly, the kids are smiling at the white foreigner with the big nose, and people often start chatting with you, "where are you from", "are you married", and "why not??"
Around midday I arrived in Matara, and decided to take a tuk tuk instead of the bus, because I was supposed to arrive early afternoon at the hostel and didn't want to waste time.
I made it, and had a funny and strange reunion with Tamzin :)
Then I immediately got a first instruction into my jobs at the hostel - a little kitchen work in the morning and sitting at the reception in the evenings because the owner had a group of friends over and wanted to spend sometime out of course.
So the first evening I spent already at the reception, but it was easy work, checking in a few people, answering a few questions. There were also some super cute little kittens that were mostly living in the kitchen :)
The next day Tamzin and I headed out, to Mirissa Beach. Oh my, so beautiful!!
The next week we spent mostly beach hopping, taking the local busses to Madiha, Weligama, Midigama and Unawatuna. I spent one morning walking through the backskirts of Weligama. We ate Curry and Rice every day, lunch and dinner. Love that stuff. As well as fresh coconuts, papayas, pineapples, passion fruit.... heaven!!
One night we went out for a drink at the beach after my shift. The tables got almost swept away by the waves. later we saw a turtle on the beach trying to dig her hole to lay her eggs - so precious!!
In the afternoons I could join Tamzin's yoga classes on the roof terrace of the hostel, with the sun slowly setting over the palm trees.
Now on to my week of pampering in a posh yoga and surf retreat in Madiha :)
I find it quite funny. Germany with it's history now has so many "foreigners" living here, you feel like in Turkey (well, minus the weather). The trend continues of course, since Germany has taken a lot of refugees.
I know, a lot of here are not happy with this. A lot is due to fear, and some of it is justified. It is not an easy situation which even led to many people voting for a far right winged party at the recent elections.
I understand the fear of "Islamisation" but a lot of the people are simply afraid of the unknown, different cultures etc. Germans are known to have quite a closed mind. BUT yes, islamisation is a thing, and I don't quite like that, either.
I wish this world had only earthlings, no separation between countries, religions etc.
I think it is wonderful to have so many different cultures at one place, and if it was done right, it could bring a lot of advantages and exchange and positivity.
I see people at the supermarket treating the black cashier girl with her head scarf very cold, not saying hello, thank you, and afterwards checking immediately their money.
Well, as long as our societies are build on money, separation and status, we won't find peace. It is hilarious because there doesn't have to be scarcity, with our technology (check out The Venus Project with some of it's great ideas!).
Anyway, this was one week Germany 2017. I don't see me ever moving back here. It's been almost 8 years now that I left and I didn't regret it one single second.
I visited family, my dad in Wilhelmshaven, where I went with my sister and her boyfriend, and my mother and grandparents (almost 90 years old!) in Geesthacht.
Now on to some sunshine!
Here we go.
I left my bubble. My safe little healing hippie space of the past 4 years - on to new adventures!
After a glorious roof terrace party, last summer like days at the Bornos Lake, and the ultimate glass of wine at Carmen's I hit the road.
Sad I was. Oh how sad :( I am not very good at goodbyes. In fact, I suck at them. And as much as I love change, as much as I craved a change - I still felt heartbroken, leaving everything behind, even if it is just for 6 months.
I try to remember though "If you never say goodbye to the best things in your life, there are things you don't appreciate at all" (yes, it is from a cheesy Lighthouse Family Song :D).
So, yes I cried my way through the journey from Seville to Hamburg. I know, other people have no problems with saying goodbye or traveling (or at least they don't admit it) but I am a sensitive soul, and I usually allow myself to feel it, go through it, cry it all out, and then move on.