Christmas Holiday in Galle Fort—Part Deux

  • 24th December 2013

Start your day with Egg Hoppers today made from rice flour and served with spicy dahl and sweet curry.

 

Egg Hoppers come out piping hot

Egg Hoppers come out piping hot

 

 

It's almost like eggs and pancakes!

It’s almost like eggs and pancakes!

 

Having explored the Fort area yesterday, a tour outside in Galle beckons for day two.  Plan a trip to the Handunugoda Tea Plantation.  En route stop at one of the Turtle Hatcheries and release baby sea turtles into the clear ocean.

 

 

Pick them up gently touching their fingers and back.

Pick them up gently touching their fingers and back.

 

 

The Sea Turtle Farm and Hatchery collects the eggs from the beach every night and hatches them in a safe environment improving the turtles chances of survival and keeping them from poachers who also comb the beach.

 

There are 7 types of sea turtles in the world and 5 call this beach their home.

There are 7 types of sea turtles in the world and 5 call this beach their home.

 

 

 

Gently scoop the little guys up from the pool.

Gently scoop the little guys up from the pool.

 

 

The pristine and secluded beach is only a few steps away.

 

 

Heading out slowly but surely

Heading out slowly but surely

 

 

Blazing their own trail

Blazing their own trail

 

 

A lovely experience for youngsters.

A lovely experience for youngsters.

 

 

The road to the tea plantation offers vistas of brilliant green rice fields, white cranes and large iguanas lumbering across the road.

 

Emerald green punctuated only by the great white birds.

Emerald green punctuated only by the great white birds.

 

 

We wait patiently as a huge iguana crosses in front of the car.

We wait patiently as a huge iguana crosses in front of the car.

 

 

Just 25 minutes from the hotel the Handunugoda plantation is the lowest lying tea estate in Sri Lanka which also includes a rubber and cinnamon plantation.

 

Entering the fields with our guide.

Entering the fields with our guide.

 

Sri Lanka produces a unique White Tea said to be imported from China.  The story has it the tea was grown by a Chinese Empress who employed only virgins to pick it using special gloves and tools made of solid gold.    Special caution is used today as well when growing and harvesting this tea which contains antioxidant properties that are off-the-charts.  The tea demands one of the highest prices worldwide.

 

 

The plantations extend on forever.

The plantations extend on forever.

 

 

While walking through the plantation one examines pepper vines, lemongrass and a myriad of fruit and flower trees.  A small rubber plantation coexists within the tea.

 

The rubbery, latex substance is collected in a coconut shell.

The rubbery, latex substance is collected in a coconut shell.

 

 

 

The bark is pulled back.

The bark is pulled back.

 

 

Probably the most interesting part of the tour is seeing the English and Irish machinery, more than 150 years old, used to dry and desiccate the leaves.

 

The leaves are first spread out to dry.

The leaves are first spread out to dry. By days end the whole belt will be filled (there are many more belts)

 

 

 

The leaves make their way to many different drying machines.

The leaves make their way to many different drying machines.

 

 

The aroma in this room is incredible.

The aroma in this room is incredible.

 

 

The end result of multiple passes through many machines is this small amount of pure black tea.

The end result of multiple passes through many machines is this small amount of pure black tea.

 

 

Finally, the tour ends with a tasting of a myriad of teas, crossing the range from white to black.  Take your time and savor the difference.

 

 

All the teas lined up are as beautiful as they are tasty.

All the teas lined up are as beautiful as they are tasty.

 

It is Christmas Eve so if you are going to make any of the many midnight mass ceremonies in Galle, a midday siesta is in order now. This also allows you to skip the hottest part of the day.  Wake up just in time for tea followed by a glorious sunset view from your room of the Dutch Reform Church next door.

 

Sunset over the Dutch Reform Church in Galle.

 

 

Christmas Eve is a lively time in Galle Forte.  The Amangalla is beautifully lit up and guests await carolers from nearby churches.

 

The tree glows in the Zaal at the Amangalla.

The tree glows in the Zaal at the Amangalla.

 

 

The tables are ready for Christmas Eve dinner.

The tables are ready for Christmas Eve dinner.

 

 

Carolers offer traditional music as well as some Sinhalese Christmas favorites.

Carolers offer traditional music as well as some Sinhalese Christmas favorites.

 

 

The tablescape includes traditional Christmas Crackers.

The tablescape includes traditional Christmas Crackers.

 

 

The Christmas Eve Menu at the Amangalla:

Roast pumpkin and sweet potato soup with blue cheese buttermilk

Wild rice, turkey and walnut salad with cranberry dressing

Pomegranate and celery sorbet

Champagne risotto with truffle oil

Pecan and cashewnut pie with gingerbread ice cream and brandy cream sauce

 

Wild rice salad

Wild rice salad

 

 

 

Pomegranate and celery sorbet

Pomegranate and celery sorbet

 

 

 

Champagne risotto with truffles

Champagne risotto with truffles

 

 

Entering your room you are greeted by stockings on all beds with treats and gifts for adults and kids alike.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Midnight mass anyone?

 


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