River Retreat, Medagama

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View of the lake as morning breaks

River Retreat is a small bungalow bordering Bolgoda lake. Me & my kids took a break one weekend last year & the serenity of it all is still caught up in my mind. In fact I’ve got this pic framed & hung because it reminds me of a quiet breaking of dawn (the image has been treated with sepia tones); away from the hustle & bustle of Colombo; our rushed lives and the pain of getting up to do the same old thing again & again. Here at River Retreat time slows down.

The place provides with 5-6 comfortable rooms a friendly cook who will make the most mouth watering Sri Lankan dishes. It has a small pool. Bathing in the Bolgoda river is not advisable. At this stage just a few kilometers before it reaches the sea, the water is murky and unclean. There’s rumour of crocodiles & there’s no saying if you’d see them.

You may arrange for camp fires and BBQs but I would hesitate to create a racket in a place blessed with quietude.

Early morning we ventured into the large garden looking for birds trying to spot as many as we might. Commorants and Herons are seen perched on the banks of the river. The more common birds frequent the large trees, they sing song mingles with the rest of the quite tones. Perhaps that’s the most soothing thing about birding in the morning. A pleasant touch of nature makes you wake up to what you are missing every day. (& that for a countless number of weeks)

Boys Kayakking on the lake

Later after breakfast we took the Kayakes out & went paddling in the placid river. We plucked water lilies, studied the mangroves but always kept a watchful eyes for the crocs. We did meet up with a monitor lizard swimming unnoticed in the shades of the groves. It is harmless.

The next time I go to the Retreat I would like to camp for the night. With comfort of running water and clean toilets camping is a welcome idea! But not otherwise. At this time of the year the trees are in full bloom in brilliant red and yellow. If the rain doesn’t spoil your fun by keeping you in doors this could be a definite weekend get-away.

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