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INDIAN OCEAN SRI LANKA DESTINATIONS


ap I


wouldn’t normally get excited about a bridge, but Ella’s


iconic Nine Arch Bridge – dubbed the Bridge in the Sky – is a masterpiece, soaring above dense jungle in Sri Lanka’s scenic hill country. I’d scrambled down a slope to


reach the curved railway track. As I waited, camera at the ready, for the bright blue train to appear, I spotted brothers Rob and Paul Forkan – the founders of fashion brand Gandys – standing barefoot in the middle of the rails. “We escaped the tsunami


by following the train tracks,” Rob explains. “And afterwards, we had no shoes.” In the middle of a laughter-filled


tour, this was a stark reminder of the Forkans’ story. In 2001, their


family set off on an adventure around Asia, swapping Croydon for Goa. Rob, then 17, and his brother Paul, who was 15, were in Sri Lanka with their parents and two younger siblings when the Boxing Day tsunami hit the island in 2004. They lost their parents, but with courage, ingenuity and help from the locals, they made it back to the UK. Through passion and


persistence, the brothers turned tragedy into something positive, setting up unique fashion and lifestyle label Gandys from their bedroom, motivated by their unconventional childhood and a love of adventure. “We learnt maths negotiating


at the market, made art from objects found on the beach,


21 March 2019travelweekly.co.uk59


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