3am alarms are ridiculous but a necessary for 6am flights. With not much sleep to had before the alarm or on the plane, we landed in Melbourne in desperate need of coffee.
With an 8 hour stopover and our bags checked through to Colombo we whizzed through immigration and security and hopped on the Skybus to the CBD.
As we walked from Southern Cross station towards the Laneways in the early morning fresh sunny air we contemplated stopping at each coffee shop we walked past but too sleep deprived to make a decision we kept walking until we finally got there and found one with outside heaters.
After coffee, we continued wandering the streets. We had no plan. We haven’t been in Melbourne for a few years so we just enjoyed walking and reacquainting ourselves – the Laneways, Federation Square, State Parliament, Museum, Chinatown and lots of random streets in between.
We returned to the Laneways for lunch and with the sky clouding over and cold breeze picking up we discovered we’d walked 10km after realising our legs had gone a bit stiff, so we headed back to the airport at a leisurely pace.
Our flight to Colombo wasn’t full. We’d already got lucky by getting a pair of seats by the window but when it was clear everyone had boarded Emma nabbed the empty pair 2 rows back so we had our own. With a 10 hour flight time this made a big difference.
The flight crew were super friendly so we figured we’d like Sri Lankans. Emma soon realised they had assumed she was Buddhist because of her hair – to our amusement she didn’t get offered a choice of meals like the rest of us did, she was just given the vegetarian option each time.
We landed in Colombo bleary eyed at 10:30pm on the same day we left Wellington after 23 hours of travelling. 26 hours after that bloody alarm.
A really easy airport, once we’d finally cleared immigration we soon had our bags and in the arrivals terminal scored a local SIM on a tourist package that for NZ$13 gave us 9GB data (plus calls and texts). We also hit up an ATM so we were all set to bounce straight out of the city early the next morning.
The temperature was not too hot as we caught a cab into the city to a B&B Marie’s colleague had recommended. It was perfect – friendly, tidy and in a quiet location. Knackered but kinda not tired we did a bit of reorganising of bags, more to make ourselves feel better than actually needing to.
Initial impressions were that it was going to be an easy place with friendly people. We’d already figured we’d like it.