Located on the south coast Galle was one of the first areas populated by Europeans. Galle has a large natural harbour and access to the fertile lands of the south. Portuguese first use Galle and Sri Lanka as an important stop on the spice routes back in 1600's. The Dutch took over later and built fortifications on a promontory large enough to contain a small town. The town was well laid out and apparently included a drainage system flushed by the tide twice a day and is still working today.
The old town is enclosed on all sides by massive ramparts, the walls are shear into the ocean on 3 sides and thicker and taller on the one land side. This wall gives a great viewing platform for the Galle International Cricket Stadium nearby.
At one point I spotted a couple of young monks in bright orange robes coming up the street. We'd seen quite a few monks while driving but I wanted a good photo of these guys, but before reaching us they went into the shops and houses along the street; oh well not to be..
Later when we were sipping tea at the Galle Fort Hotel, overlooking the waves and the ramparts, I saw the same two teenage monks on the ramparts among the Sri Lankan tourists. Again I tried to line up a photo of them against the ocean, but they went through a small gap in the wall and disappeared down the ocean side of the ramparts. 5 minutes, then 10 minuts went by and they didn't come back up. Partly due to curiosity of what was over the wall and getting 'the shot' I finished my tea and with camera in hand headed over. As I left I joked they must be taking a 'sea bath'. When I looked over the wall there was a tiny corner of a sandy beach and a few people splashing in the water, including the two monks, with their robes let down to their waist. I'd never seen swimming monks before, and being far enough away snapped a few pics of them in the water (will load the photos ASAP).
Galle is beautiful, I'd never made it this far south before, I would like to visit again. We took the brand new highway back to Colombo, 100 Kmph seems like flying after the slow progress on hill country roads.