sunset in galle, sri lanka


In the hot hot afternoon we sat in a rooftop bar overlooking, not surprisingly, rooftops, in Sri Lanka's stunning colonial city Galle. A chilled and crispy beer was about the best ending to a perfect sunset tour of this place, and to cool us down after some rather remarkable street food: roti.

The old town is a beguiling mix of Baroque, British, Dutch and Islamic architecture, and you can take all of it in from the 400-year-old fort that lords above. We started at the lighthouse and followed the 3km wall that’s flanked by 14 bastions, finding aerial views of the local fishermen and women selling their tuna and other local fish.

Stopping by Lighthouse Beach we dipped into the pale blue water, watched young boys dive and dunk in the surf as we curled up on the shell-flecked sand with a sweet king coconut we bought for 50 cents.

‘Hot hot roti’, promised a cart on Rampart Street right in the centre of town. A man in a cart makes the pastries to order at about $1 each, and fills the crisp flatbreads with spiced potato and onion. Watch the soft dough be flung out over a hot plate, transparently thin, then a spoonful of caramelised mixture is folded and turned into little pockets, grilled so they're flakey and light and hot hot.

Book in for a sunset session at Mama’s Galle Fort Roof Café (76 Leyn Baan St), and find a spot on the roof. The quaint, breezy bar offers cold local Lion beer, small plates of excelletn deep-fried whitebait and memorable views.

Mama’s also does an excellent curry and rice, if you missed the "hot hot roti", or head to The Fort Printers (39 Pedlar St), a boutique hotel that turns out elegant fare, including an excellent, rare seared tuna with eggplant sambal or lobster and fish curry, in a pretty courtyard with a dreamy pool you'll want to swim in.