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June 17, 2014
Arriving at Colombo Fort at 4:45am, we were guided across the overpass to the other side of the street from the station, where a bus destined for the international airport was waiting. It took just over an hour and cost 200 rupees total for the two of us plus our bags.
The airport bus drop off is not directly at the terminal, but at a village area 1km outside. This was convenient as it allowed us to grab a cheap breakfast of our favorite: string hoppers, egg roti, dhal and sambol before checking in. We reveled in our last Sri Lankan meal. That last bike of gooey, spicy goodness from my slimy hand into my mouth was a treasured moment not soon to be forgotten.
After an easy 15-minute walk, we got to the arrivals terminal, checked in, and went to the transfer lounge to have a shower. This was much needed after a sweaty overnight bus ride from Trinco, and with 41 hours more air travel to go in my case. For 15 USD they provided a towel, a locker key, soap, shampoo, and conditioner. It was worth it.
All spruced up, Kim went on to Dubai, and I to London Heathrow, where I had an 8pm to 8am layover before continuing on to Vancouver.
At Heathrow, despite my departure being from terminal 2 I was herded with all the other poor souls doing an overnight layover towards terminal 1. There, I wandered over towards gates 5 and 74-76, just past the British Airways International Lounge, where I found the perfect spot to crash. It had four connected chairs with no armrest, was tucked into a dark corner of an already sparsely trafficked part of the airport, and had power plugs right there. From 10:30pm to 5:30am not a soul passed by, which provided me with a blissful, uninterrupted seven hours of sleep. It got quite chilly, so for the first time in the trip I actually put the pants and rain jacket I’d needlessly packed use. The rain jacket in particular was perfect. It added a bit of warmth and the hood perfectly covered my eyes.
- The bus from Colombo Fort to the airport is direct, cheap, and easy. If you have the time, there’s no reason not to take it
- If you have a long travel ahead, showering at the Colombo international airport is recommended. At $15 USD, it’s closer to Western prices, but it’s worth it for the added comfort to you and your neighbors on the plane of being fresh and clean
- If you have an overnight layover in Heathrow and don’t want to pay for a hotel, head towards gates 5 and 74-76 of terminal 1. Just above the stairwell to the gates is an ideal sleeping spot. Before going to sleep, put on some warm clothes as it does get a bit chilly overnight.