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Today we climb....and climb....and climb.....but more on that later. Continental breakfast at 7am, out and on the bikes by 7.45am. This first part of the trip is optional, and takes us along a waterway to a dam, then past the Uda Walawe Elephant reserve. Hard to resist, but it adds another two hours cycling today. The landscape is amazing....again. River on the left, banana plantations on the right. The river is well used by man and beast and ...
... up the day of. We checked with him to make sure we would still be able to buy 3rd-class tickets if not, and he assured us we would. So we held off, and got to the train station at 7:45 a.m. (for an 8:45 a.m. train) on February 12. The ticket agent regretted to inform us that there was only one seat open in 1st or 2nd class. We wanted to travel together, so we said we would just buy 3rd-class tickets--only to find out that those had sold out as well. ...
... We did hear some monkeys early on but sadly I didn't see one. We made it to worlds end - technically before the mist should have turned up but it arrived early so no clear photos of the 880m drop. The hike itself was very enjoyable and peaceful - a beautiful way to spend a morning and work off atleast 1 of the 20 something buffet / rice and curry meals I have eaten so far. We returned to town of Pattipola were we took afternoon train to our ...
... and areas of the factory, weaving through aisles of tea leaves laid out to dry over giant heaters, dodging under mechanical grinding machines with rotating arms and ducking under shoots where the tea stalks were discarded by a very clever machine. (My favourite machine had to be the one that knew the colour of the various parts of the tea leaf and knew which to separate out in order to produce the higher quality tea for export or the lower quality ...
... parked - obviously some people had been driven this far (including 4 from our guesthouse!), this cutting out around 4km of the walk. Kind of feels like cheating? Again continuing past some tea plantations, we were now faced with a choice - some steps, or the continuation of the path. We chose the path, not really knowing where we were going. We ended up wading through thick grass - surely this isn't right?! But we made it! It was actually fairly easy. ...