Trip Start Aug 27, 2011
99Trip End Jun 01, 2012
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We arrive into Ella mid morning after a relaxing bus ride through the mountains. We pass waterfalls and field after field of tea leaves! We are dropped off on the main road which curves through the town and I notice a hairdressers! The mop is getting long! Seeing as it was early, we had no intention of quickly finding a place, so we headed off for a coffee to relax.
It was at the coffee shop when we thought the owner was trying to find us a homestay. Instead, it was a cool Tuk Tuk driver. We even paid him for our coffee's thinking he was the owner but he did take the cash inside. We told him our budget and we set off. First place he showed us was the best, but almost double our budget. He lowered the offer, lowered some more but we still said no. On the way back to the Tuk Tuk, he lowered again but we were in no hurry so said no. As we drove back to the main street, he caved in and offered the room at our asking price!! Sweet!! We drove back to the room and settled in.
We spent a few days in Ella and the clear highlight was our long hike up to Ella rock. Before that hike, I had a haircut and Sonja gladly joined me to take some pictures!!
The walk to the peak of Ella rock was quite amusing. Sonja has to take it slow as her knees are not as strong as she would like them to be. So I was more than happy to take it slow. We picked up some water and treats and while Sonja was occupied, I used my foot to rub the chest of a poochie dog on the floor. This only lasted a few seconds, but I guess we bonded. Said dog then followed us! Not just to the railway line, which we had to walk along but wait till a train departed Ella station. Not just along the railway line, not as we climbed the tall peak, the little poochie climbed the whole way to the top with us! We think it's his day job,
The climb was fascinating but extremely hot. The first couple of kilometres of walking along the railway track reminded me of the film 'Stand by me'. I kept jumping from wooden slat to wooden slat! We kept trying to ignore the dog, hoping he'd disappear, but he ploughed on!! We crossed a large bridge, walked through a vegetable patch then got a bit lost trying to find the path to climb to the top. After wasting time for 30 minutes, we got the right path and walked through a quaint tea plantation. We stopped off for photos and some bananas before we made the dreaded last twenty steep climb. To her credit, Sonja wanted to quit, you could tell she was in a little pain but she kept going and I'm so happy she did. Such a determined young lady!
We finally got to the top. Poochie had left us earlier but only to be met by said dog at the top, think he knew a short cut!! We got chatting to a nice young British couple at the top who had also been to the cricket and once we caught our breath, we posed for pictures with Poochie!! Such a poser!! We also posed too!! It was a great view and a great relief to make the top in one piece!!
The walk home took longer, it's tougher for Sonja to climb down than up, as it is for most people, even my legs were shaking and Poochie kept getting in the way of Sonja, to the point where she even landed on her butt. Poor Sonja, bad Poochie!! He disappeared again but met us on the train tracks and joined us all the way back to town. We planned to feed him but he disappeared and we never saw him again!! Sob!
When we finally made it to the bottom, we were hungry and found ourselves a cool little shop that had just made fresh roti and Sri Lankan sausage rolls. Sonja, being the sweet and curious person she is, asked if there were any fresh sausage rolls and the owner invited us to the back of the shop to where the ovens were and we got very very fresh food to eat. Such a treat!!
The rest of our time in Ella was relaxed, we treated ourselves to some wonderful Western food one night before spending two nights eating at our homestay. The homestay owner works as a chef in a nearby hotel and his cooking was awesome!! Very well priced and in great company, with his little daughter running around. Such a sweet little family. Ella is a beautiful relaxing town, there are other hikes, waterfalls to visit and plenty of friendly locals to talk to. It is also a good base to visit nearby towns with the excellent train links.
Our last morning in Ella, we woke early to find some quick eats before we boarded a nine hour train to Kandy. Yes, we were off to Kandy again. This time, we were off to cancel my Indian visa to apply for another one so I can spend longer in India with Sonja,
The ride to Kandy was pretty special. A train driving through the hill country of Sri Lanka, powering through small little towns and chugging past tea plantations and wonderful Sri Lankan countryside. The funny thing was, we got there early worried about not getting seats to find the train full of children off for a day trip somewhere! They were everywhere! So we got no seat till they left but it was kind of fun watching them, though I told one off for scratching my arm and another one for wolf whistling at Sonja!! Cheeky boys!!
It's better to just enjoy the pictures than for me to try explain the wonderful journey.
There are some more pictures to add but my camera card stick has died. Will update more pictures soon.
We arrived into Kandy, went back to our Star Light guesthouse and went to the Muslim hotel again for dinner. My visa application was not as smooth as I hoped but with some pleading, they might give it back to me before my flight to Bangladesh. As we had been in Kandy before, we caught up on eating, drinking coffee, talking to family and of course, some internet blogging and podcast downloading.
Our next destination, was another climb. I warmed Sonja up with Ella rock and now we're going to attempt Adam's Peak in Delhousie. It's a train ride and bus ride away and we have to wake up at 2am to climb the mountain, but it sounds exciting!!
Next stop, Adam's Peak.