Friday 10th April
It’s now 4pm and I’m falling asleep because we’ve been up since 2am! Thanks to Chris and Alice, we found out how to buy tickets without reservation. The scenery is simply breathtaking. We met Gerald and his family, from Switzerland. Gerald is 46 years old and full of energy, he’s travelled all his life and was now sharing the world with his family. The fun started when we overheard Gerald asking one of the train guards if he could buy him a beer (they don’t sell them on the trains in Sri Lanka) and we got in on the deal, which involved handing over our money to a local man, him jumping off at one stop…running to the shop and then jumping back on at the next station. Risky business parting with 2000 rupees, we thought we’d surely never see it again. Gerald and I waited in anticipation. The next stop came and went, some couple of kilometres down the road. I could not believe my eyes when at the next stop, the local man jumped back on the train with 4 cans, each wrapped in newspaper. We must have gone 10km and he made it! Honestly don’t know how but was very impressed, plus this wasn’t any old beer…it was STRONG Lion, a pints worth of 8.8%…cheers! After that the journey flew by, we chatted and took a lot of photos – holding the camera out the train on the selfie stick was another risk but it pulled off!
Ella is a small town but with enough little cafes, bars and restaurants to occupy ourselves. In the hills it’s very hot but we’ve crept into monsoon season so at 4pm each day it throws it down. We arrived early evening in the middle of some sort of torrential storm but luckily our bed for the next 3 nights wasn’t far – Ella Okreech Lodges. There was a bit of a hill to struggle up but thankfully our tired legs made it and the lodges are defo a highlight! The rooms are lovely and the shower is first class – it’s not just a shower head hanging over the toilet and sink thank god! Even though we have only eaten a small breakfast since 2am and completed 5500 steps, we fall asleep!
Shit. Sleep pattern ruined. It’s midnight and we’ve slept for 5-6 hours. What to do? Beer? We go in search of water and come across the ‘Chill’ bar. Even though it’s late and they say they are closing we get our beers and chill, perfect. Eventually went back at 1:30am, fitted in a quick Skype session with Mum and Alexandra before they say goodbye to watch Goggle Box!
Saturday 11th April
Waking up was easy, walking wasn’t. Adams Peak had taken its toll on both of us and Rachel was ‘ouching’ down the stairs of our top floor lodge! The decision to grab food before any activity seemed a good idea so we stopped at ‘The Curd.’ Curry and Rotti for breakfast? Go on then! It’s the full English of Sri Lanka, but with more spice and less bacon…Christ I miss bacon. After brekkie (actually more like lunch) we walked to the station and headed to the 9 arch bridge. You can walk along the tracks here so we do and after 2km or so we reach the viaduct. It’s an old impressive structure and we got a few pictures of ourselves sitting with out feet over the edge (sorry Mum), I hated seeing Rachel do it too!
Once we were back in town the clouds rolled over so we got some fruit – a pineapple and melon – and some water and rushed back to the lodge before the rain began.