Testimonial Håkan C - Sri Lanka 2006
Me, my wife and our three kids spent four weeks in Sri Lanka in the winter 2006/2007. During this period we got to see a unique country with beautiful nature and fascinating cities, and experience their rich cultural inheritance. We landed at the international airport situated near the ocean and got a few days of relaxation before beginning our journey through the country. Kandy, one of the biggest cities and part of what is called the cultural triangle, is a high situated city in a green rolling landscape. The scenery was perfect and going through that area we naturally took a lot of beautiful photographs.
Except the fact that Kandy is very old (founded in the 15th century) and picturesque, it is also famous for the holy tooth relic placed in a big Buddhist temple. For us the building was a bit too much, but still charming and full of interesting details. Well worth a visit.
The cultural triangle is a geographic circle round an area where the biggest tourist attractions can be found. Sri Lanka host many world heritages. One of them is Sigiriva which we visited. We lived in a hospital and kind host family in Kandy. In the early morning we were served a breakfast of string hoppers, which is cold noodles with curry, before going up to this old town among the cliffs. The mist lifted and the landscape with its green hills became visible while we closed in on our goal. The mind-blowing view from the top of Sigiriva was well worth the climb. This along with the fascinating cultural history (it was capital in the 400 AC) made this excursion truly memorable.
Wherever you look you can see everywhere that Sri Lanka is the world’s fourth largest tea producer. If I to describe our journey choose a picture it would be of the green plantations, that is how much it has formed the island. We visited many of these plantations and one day even got the opportunity to go to a tea factory. It was really exciting watching the green leaves being transformed into shrunken black tea. Our daughters tried their skills as tea pickers, which wasn’t easy at all!
One of our goals with the journey was visiting a factory making clothes. Some parts of Sri Lanka are so-called free-trade zones, which means that the textile industry has moved a lot of factories to the island. This has resulted in a lot of inhabitants without wages and with extremely bad working conditions. A positive force in this is the Swedish company DemCollective with a fair-trade produce from the cotton to the finished clothes. We visited their factory in Kadawatha outside the capital Colombo. During our visit we met Annika Axelsson and many of the co-workers who showed us their collections as well as how they work. They also told us fascinating stories about how to be brave enough to set up a business in a society so different from Sweden. Another thing we were told was how to brake the unspoken rules and make a full week in a country with most holidays in the world. In Sri Lanka the holidays of all the four big religions has to be considered.
When sitting on the plane going home we could look back on an active month giving all of us unforgettable memories of good food, beautiful sceneries and lovely people.