Sampling and enjoying the best of local cuisine is always an important aspect of our tours. In Sri Lanka, colourful curries are a highlight, ranging in potency from delicately spiced to near-dynamite. Favourite staples include hoppers (pancake- like snack), string hoppers (steamed rice noodles) and pittu (a mixture of flour and coconut. Lamprais – rice and accompaniments baked in plantain leaves – is a legacy of the Dutch. For seafood lovers there is an abundance of fresh fish, prawns, crab, squid and crayfish. Desserts are intriguingly different and there are always a wonderful variety of tropical fruits. On our drives we will have the opportunity to try the wonderful array of street snacks, known as ‘short eats’ – a true Sri Lankan highlight. There will also be opportunities to enjoy international cuisine, so something to suit every palate.
Do try a spa treatment at one of our hotels. Sri Lanka has been a centre of spiritual and physical healing for 2,000 years. Ayurvedic programmes consist of a range of herbal treatments and various types of baths and massages. Also available are other Eastern and Western therapies and beauty treatments.
Traditional crafts – brasswork, ornately carved silverware, filigree jewelry, ritual masks, lacquer ware, batik and handloom textiles, wood carvings, and jewelry made from blue sapphires, star sapphires, rubies, cat’s eye and other precious and semi-precious stones – are an integral part of the rich cultural heritage of Sri Lanka.
On our tour, we will be delving deeper into the traditional crafts by engaging with the contemporary work of several creative Sri Lankan women who are using the traditional skills of local women to form business enterprises that help to strengthen local identity and provide positive directions for the future. We will visit the stores of Barefoot founded by Barbara Sansoni in 1964, and continuing with the assistance of Jane Conrad.
Here is the mission of Barefoot, as stated on their website, www.barefootceylon.com:
Barefoot products are made in Sri Lanka. Every item is specially designed for Barefoot, and is made either by workers at home or by local artists and craftsmen. There are no factories and no production lines; each worker is responsible for the quality of his or her final product. We teach skills and strive for quality from our hand weavers or stitchers. Our workers are not cheap substitute for machinery. This is why Barefoot products cost a little more, but last much longer.
- Geoffrey Bawa and David Robson, Geoffrey Bawa: The Complete Works, 2002
- David Robson, C. Anjalendran, Dominic Sansoni: The Architectural Heritage of Sri Lanka, 2015
- Channa Daswatte and Dominc Sansoni, Sri Lanka Style: Tropical Design & Architecture, 2016
- David Robson and Waruna Gomis, Anjalendran: Architect Of Sri Lanka, 2009
- Ulrik Plesner, In Situ: An architectural memoir from Sri Lanka, Aristo 2013
- Michael Ondaatje, Running in the Family, 1993
In the late 1970s Ondaatje returned to his native island of Sri Lanka. As he records his journey through the drug-like heat and intoxicating fragrances of that “pendant off the ear of India, ” Ondaatje simultaneously retraces the baroque mythology of his Dutch-Ceylonese family. An inspired travel narrative and family memoir by an exceptional writer.
Recent civil war
- Samanth Subramanian, This Divided Island: Life, Death, and the Sri Lankan War, 2015
- Michael Ondaatje, Anil’s Ghost, 2000.