the Urelu Road, almost equidistant between the Palaly Airport and
the Jaffna Town is "Anouk Swiss Chalet", a discreet
and charming guesthouse, managed and operated by Anula Radalage
Meier, an enterprising woman from the south.
It gets its
name from Anula and her sister Janaki (Anou-K), and Anula's former
marriage to a Swiss doctor. The Swiss flag in fact modestly flies
at full mast at the entrance to the property, giving no inkling
of the warm hospitality inside.
almost all expatriates visiting the Jaffna peninsula, Anouk Swiss
Chalet is a comfortable and spacious old Jaffna house whose four
large rooms have been air-conditioned and furnished with a minimum
The walls are
white, stark and bare, as are the central dining area and 'meda
midula', leaving ample space for sunbathing in the hot Jaffna sun,
or simply lazing around to the rich strains of classical music from
Swiss Chalet architect Jivaka de Soysa has brought in the concept
of attached toilets open to the sky, and, with hot and cold water.
Anula says that many of her foreign guests "indulge in an
invigorating shower under the Margosa tree at dusk". This followed
by a barbeque in the "meda midula" under the stars "completes
are generally a selection of both Continental and Sri Lankan dishes,
while delicious traditional Jaffna specialities are home made, and
take pride of place. Dinners are usually relaxed barbeques in the
'meda midula', where guests are welcome to tend and fan the embers
while the "catch of the day" gets done to their liking.
Chilled salads, grilled jumbo prawns and buttered potatoes piping
hot off the fire, with warm garlic toast are a popular and standard
her seafood, fruits and vegetables all fresh from her chosen and
favourite vendors at the old market in the Jaffna town.
to avoid meats", she said. Her two-acre garden also yields
a variety of bananas and different fruits for dessert.
Living in Jaffna
since August last year, Anula speaks fluent Tamil and German, and
understandable French, in addition to English and Sinhala