Sri Lanka honeymooners ‘just want to get home’

Image copyright Getty Images

A honeymoon in Sri Lanka ticks a lot of boxes.

The tropical island offers golden beaches, remote temples and friendly locals, all at a gentle pace. But, since Easter Sunday’s bombings, the mood has changed.

Britons are being told not to go to Sri Lanka unless their trip is essential. The UK government says more terrorist attacks are “very likely”.

For travellers still in the country, there are worries about how they’ll get home.

And for those with expensive holidays booked and paid for, they may not get there at all.

‘We just want to get home now – and sharpish’

Image copyright Joe Jones

Joe and Rebecca Jones have one day left of their honeymoon in Sri Lanka, and are worried about making the journey home on Saturday.

Mr Jones, a 30-year-old teacher from Cardiff, said they had spent their time on the south coast of the island, far away from the carnage.

“Our honeymoon has been tarnished, but it hasn’t been ruined because the Sri Lankan people have got on with things,” he told the BBC from the southern town of Unawatuna.

“They’ve carried on as normal and really accommodated us. I think the people here are battle-hardened to attacks like this.”

But he admitted the couple were on edge about travelling to Colombo for their flight back to London.

“We just want to get back now – and sharpish.”

And he lamented that people would now associate the country with the terror attacks – instead of the glorious landscapes and “the friendliest and most hospitable people I have ever come across”.

‘Waxed legs and a bridal race’

Image copyright Abi McKie

Things got off to a great start for Abi McKie and Ali Smith. The young couple from Doncaster won their wedding, worth £20,000, after raising £1,000 for a children’s charity.

Ali, 25, waxed his legs for charity and Abi, 24, won a Valentine’s Day obstacle race, involving 10 brides dressed in a second-hand wedding dress.

With the whole wedding paid for, the couple thought they would spend the money to make their honeymoon extra special.

So they splashed out £5,000 on a two-week honeymoon in Sri Lanka, beginning in June, and dreamed about seeing elephants in the national park.

“I’ve cried quite a few times today,” Abi told the BBC. “Now who knows whether we’re going. I’m absolutely gutted.”

She said they had been so excited about the trip, and enjoyed planning it.

“We’ve already got our train tickets to Heathrow and our visas to travel but it’s now up in the air. Our situation is uncertain which I don’t like,” she added.

“And our travel agent is not sure if there’s anything they can do.”

The couple are due to marry on 31 May and travel to the Sri Lankan capital Colombo on 4 June, but Abi worries it may all come down to the wire.

“Our situation is nothing though compared to those who have lost loved ones or are out in Sri Lanka now though. That must be really hard.”

‘I’m in limbo’

For Rosie Lee and her fiancé Sam Barnes, a Sri Lankan honeymoon would have been their dream trip.

The couple, from Helston in Cornwall, would have celebrated their relationship’s ninth anniversary out there and had booked in two days of whale-watching.

“That’s one of my bucket list things so it’s a pretty big holiday for us,” said Rosie, 26.

The couple will marry in May and are due to spend 11 nights in Sri Lanka in July, followed by five in the Maldives.

But Miss Lee fears they may have to postpone it – and worries she might not get her £2,000 deposit back.

“I’m in limbo at the moment. I feel like I don’t know what’s going on,” she told the BBC.

“We’ve saved for three years for this moment and I feel like the attacks have taken it away from us.”

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