The year 2019 started with Dinee’s MSc exam. And after a busy travel year in 2018, the Travel Doc Fam was slowing down. The pregnancy was progressing without any trouble, but it was hard for us to move. And we were mostly stuck in Colombo, even during weekends cause of the exams.
For the year 2019, we did not have high hopes on the travel front. We were lost with our Instagram too, as we knew we are no longer going to be a couple, but a family. So, we knew that 2019 would be a transition year for Travel Doc Fam – though we did not see the name back then – and we knew a lot is going to change as the year goes by.
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As soon as the exam ended in mid-January, we headed off to Kosgoda to stay at the Habitat Hotel by the Asia Leisure. Habitat was our first time with the Asia Leisure group, and we loved the one night we spent there. It was a last-minute decision to book this place and as a result, we managed to get one of their suite rooms for a very reasonable price through a last-minute deal.
The suite room had this beautiful bathtub overlooking the ocean and a spacious room with a comfortable bed. We loved the food and enjoyed our time in the pool. We also had a great time at the beach and took some photos of the bump!
River House Balapitiya
After finishing the MSc, Dinee moved to Matara to work at the Matara General Hospital, and we shifted our stuff from Malabe to Matara. February was spent on the shifting houses and settling down at Dinee’s family home.
So, in March, we decided to go on our final trip before the delivery, and as we could not go far, we booked the River House at Balapitiya. River House was again a hotel from the Asia Leisure group and having only the great things to say about the stay in Habitat; we had high expectations.
But the stay in River House was not the best of the trips. Maybe it is because the pregnancy was advancing, and we were not in the mood to travel as before. So, after spending just one night, and taking a few photos, we came back home.
Camping at Panama
With Dinee in no state to go anywhere in April, I went on a camping trip with some of my campus friends. We had this friend in Pottuvil, and he wanted us to come to Arugam Bay. The season only starts by May in Arugam Bay. And we decided to take advantage of the low rates of the pre-season and went on a two-night trip to the east coast.
On day one, we camped at Panama beach, just south of the famous Arugam Bay. This trip was an excellent beach camping experience, with a ton of fun memories. For the second night, we booked a hotel in Arugam Bay, in the middle of the busy Arugam Bay tourist area.
Shangri La Hambantota
Later in April was the dreaded ‘Easter Attack,’ which devasted the travel industry in the country. And early May, we had our baby girl born to this world. So, the months of May, June and July had no travel activities for us.
In August, with Sinsi just turning three months, we decided to take her on her first-night stay. And we chose the Shangri La hotel in Hambantota since it was one of the best hotels on the southern coast and we did not want to take any chances with our baby girl.
The stay was much better than we expected. Sinsi thoroughly enjoyed her stay. She was so curious even at this early stage and was full of curiosity exploring the massive restaurant when we took her for the breakfast buffet.
Breezy Lake Weerawila
With less than two weeks after the Shangri La trip, Sinsi got her second chance to go out, this time again to the Hambantota district. We were having a mini get together of our campus batchmates – ten families took part – and we booked the entire hotel at Breezy Lake Weerawila.
It was a good trip, meeting the guys, playing cricket and passing the time in the pool, laughing at all the good times we had on the campus, it was a good time. And we were impressed with the hotel and left the place deciding we should do these mini get-togethers more and more often.
After the back to back trips in August, we had to take a small break with various matters coming up. So, there were no trips in September and October. But as November came along, we knew we must go somewhere for Dinee’s birthday.
So, after moving back and forth between a few hotels, we finally settled down with the Palmstone Retreat in Kitulgala. We always wanted to go Kitulgala for birdwatching and white-water rafting – Dinee had gone rafting once, I haven’t – but for one reason or the other, we could not make it. So, when finally, this deal came along, we knew we could not miss it.
The stay at Palmstone Retreat was way better than we expected. It had all the modern luxuries, build in the middle of a rain forest; we could not have asked it any better. So, after spending two comfortable nights there, we felt the need to travel more often.
Back to Breezy Lake Weerawila
Just a week later, from our trip to Kitulgala, we were again on the move, this time for another two nights stay at Breezy Lake Weerawila. This trip was another get together of the campus guys, and this time about seven families took part.
This time the trip was not as good as the last time. There were fewer people and even less stayed both nights. We still had a good time by the pool, but the food was not as good as the last time. And above all, coming to the same place in quick succession made everything a tad boring and took out most of the excitement.