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Friday, January 04, 2013

Heritage and Cultural Walks in Galle

On my way to Sri Lanka this time round I happened to tune into the airlines air show, mainly because I had already seen many of the movies that were on display. I tuned into the voice of 2 people, one being Juliet Coomb, the other being the owners of the Cricket Club Cafe in Colombo.

After listening to what Juliet had to say I decided I must meet her, and so I did, I made the journey to Galle where Juliet has a cafe called the Serendipity Art Cafe, which is located inside the Galle Fort. Thought I could not find it on Google maps. Below is a map of the location, the address of the cafe is 60, Leyn Baan Street, Galle Fort.

Having spoken to Juliet for well over 40 mins on the 1st of Jan 2013, I learnt a lot about what she does and a bit of back ground about her.

Juliet arrived in Sri Lanka just after the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami, as a reporter, and as fate would have it, fell in love with the country and a local countryman, in the town of galle.

Juliet has written 11 books on and around Sri Lanka, some all by her self and some co-authored. In particular I thought the "Around the Fort in 80 Lives: Galle Fort, Sri Lanka" and a book about Colombo "Colombo 7° City Guide", stood out from the crowd.

Juliet actually conducts walking tours of the Galle Fort, where she will take you on a journey through time. Explaining the history of both the Fort and its inhabitants. Juliet also does tours of Colombo, in conjunction with a friend of hers.

In talking to Juliet I was very impressed by what I heard, as a new comer to Sri Lanka, "Although, I believe she strongly believes that she is as local to Sri Lanka as any other Sri Lankan.". That said I think she most likely knows more about Sri Lanka than your every day Sri Lankan her age.

As part of her research for writing she also spent some time on Sri Lankan cooking, and was I impressed with what she had to say about the different spices, herbs, fruits and vegetable which are commonly used in the kitchens around Sri Lanka, but more importantly the significance of these and why they are used, their side effects and their benefits to one. She mentioned that many of these ancient cooking practices that are handed down from generation to generation are being lost, and her project was to document these for the future. To add to all this, I also learnt that Juliet conducts Sri Lankan cooking classes for both foreigners and locals.

In a similar way I also came across Juliet's passion for Sri Lankan art and artists, she has written a book about Sri Lankan art, which is also available on the above amazon links.

All in all I think if you are in Galle, and you wish to learn a bit more about the town and immerse your self in this very living part of history, then pay Juliet a visit at the serendipity arts cafe, Note that the cafe is closed between 12 and 2 pm every Friday.

As I am so impressed with Juliet and her work I invited her to be a guest author on my blog, and to feature some highlights from her books, her walks and some life experiences, which will be a pleasant addition to the content of the blog!

You can find out more about Juliet and her work here -

Drop me a message or post a comment if you wish to be put in contact with the lady her self. Quote KanCanDo when contacting Juliet, and do send her my regards.

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