There are few better ways of understanding a country than jumping on a train. Sri Lanka is no exception and this beautifully compact island nation with its contrasting countryside and coastline is perfect for exploration by rail. Ceylon Government Railways launched its first carriages in 1864 during the colonial period, and today, a century and a half later, Sri Lanka is a patchwork of train routes, operated by government and private companies. We were taking the grandly named Rajadhani Express which we had booked for less than a fiver for a ticket on the Colombo Fort to Matara branch which we were reliably informed would not only be the ‘most comfortable train journey you will ever take in Sri Lanka’ but crucially would drop us just a stone’s throw from where we were staying in the fishing town of Koggala.
I’m not much of a runner. I prefer to take things slow and enjoy the scenery. However, I will be joining 400 proper runners this evening at The North Face Night Rock Run in Ras Al Khaimah home to desert landscapes, such as Wadi Al Shawka.
I do like mountains however, and some of you will remember when I climbed Kilimanjaro and reached Uhuru Peak. I climbed with Exodus and Friends of Conservation for the Tanzania Porter Education Project and you were all very generous in your sponsorship.
A few years ago I visited Nepal with Exodus and fell in love, not just with the landscapes but with the generosity and spirit of the Nepali people.