In mid-May, my friend Hannah came to visit. She’s currently getting her Master’s at St. Andrew’s in Scotland, but is from Vienna, Austria, where we met in the summer of 2010. We were both working at The Vienna Review and our editor barely had to introduce us before we hit it off and were out the door for an afternoon of exploring (read: the American got shown around town by the Viennaese!) Before long, we were working late in the newsroom together, enjoying some nights out in the glorious city that is Vienna, and even got to jointly research, report on, and write a cover story about the XVIII International AIDS Conference that was being held in Vienna. (You can read more about that cover story and that summer — one of the best of my life — at this post and ones below it!) A year and a half later, I saw Hannah a few times in D.C. while she was interning at the Austrian Embassy. And now, she came to Sri Lanka! Talk about a global friendship :) We had a really great and relaxing week together, traveling to Nuwara Eliya, Ella, and all the way east to the surfing hot spot that is Arugam Bay. I hadn’t been to Ella or Arugam yet, and was really excited to explore these new places.
Ella was as beautiful as everyone promised it would be. We ate our breakfasts against a backdrop of waterfalls, and later hiked to those falls and beyond. The only consolation to leaving was knowing that in exchange for the cool nights and lush mountains, we’d get a sunny, uncrowded beach. In Arugam Bay, we stayed in a lovely ‘folly’ (see photo below) and spent hours reading, hanging out in the ocean, and enjoying meals with fellow travelers. It was so nice to have a friend from such a memorable period of my recent past come to Sri Lanka — it was so fun recounting our Vienna adventures together and discussing journalism, our shared interests, and the traveling life. This was my last extended trip out of Colombo, and it was one of the best weeks of the past nine months for me. I’ll let some of the photos from our vacation do the rest of the telling.