Day 17: Foot Cramps II, This Time It's Personal


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Asia » Sri Lanka » Central Province » Ella
September 18th 2018
Published: September 18th 2018
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Up and out by 9am, we headed for the first venue on our hiking spectacular, Ella Rock. Extensive research of travel blogs online told us that the way to get there involved starting at the train station in Ella, which meant getting breakfast at the shops in town, which was effectively a roti with honey inside.



From the trains station we walked left off the platform and down the tracks itself. We were met by signs saying this was illegal, but there were many other people doing the exact same thing and nothing happening about it, so we continued. The view to our left spanned out over the valleys overlooking the top of the trees. After about half an hours walk we came to another train station and just after we took a sharp left turn up into the mountains. From here it is impossible to give a definitive quickest route up, because there are umpteen blogs saying umpteen different things out there. We knew we had to get to a “view point” which was a half way point of sorts, but multiple signs saying “quickest route” littered the path, set by locals to lure people into hiring their services as a guide. We could not afford this, and we love adventures way too much to cheat. We kind of guessed really. Walking pretty much directly into someone’s garden and then following the pathway up into the hills. Sure enough, by luck more than judgement we arrived at the view point. Half way there. Excellent.



Looking up you would not think we were half way there, and we didn’t until we saw the monstrously sharp incline ahead of us. It was not a proper pathway, and a lot of the climb involved hands clutching at trees and careful treading. After what seemed like an eternity (we’ve both been doing morning exercises and by the time we reached the top our legs were glad for the break). At the top we realised that this steep hill had taken us right to the very top of the rock. As with yesterday’s views, I could use superlative after superlative to describe just how good the view is. We could see Adam’s peak directly opposite us, literally in the shadow of the beast we stood atop. The way back down to the view point was the way we came, which was even more challenging, trying to halt gravity as it attempted to throw us down the hill. Nevertheless we persevered and found ourselves back at the viewpoint. We decided to follow to English lads on their way down, and soon realised what a grave error this was. It took us considerably longer to get down and we never made it back to the train line, winding through tea plantations and jungle until we eventually found the road about a kilometre away from our hotel. We decided to continue down the hill for about 5 kilometres towards Ravana falls.



We wanted to venture to Ravana falls because the internet told us you could swim at the bottom of the falls. Now after a long walk in the baking heat of midday (the huge red marks on my shouders and neck can testify to that) we arrived and after a drink from a café went into the falls (which were free). The internet was right, you could swim here, however everyone knew it. Swarming with people, our ire was drawn in particular by a group of 20 something lads who were sat on the rocks above playing a drum for half an hour chanting endlessly. That was about the limit for us and the sensory overload pushed us to go back to the hotel via a tuk tuk. We were on 24000 steps and we hadn’t had lunch.



We had half an hour at the hotel to compose ourselves before seeking lunch from the town. We went to Chill Restaurant, both having burgers (8/10). We then travelled up the hill, in the same direction as we had to Adam’s Peak the previous day. We were searching for the Nine Arch Railway Bridge, and after a slightly longer route than we were supposed to take (my bad) and another trip down the train line, we found what we were looking for. About 6km down the tracks from Ella Rail station, the bridge goes over a small brook and another tea plantation. Tourists littered the way either side of the tracks with people having photos sat over the edge of the wall. After half an hour or so taking photos of ourselves and other tourists, we were just about done for the day, returning to the hotel for a shower before hitting the strip one more for dinner. We had kottu rotti, which he have discovered was our meal from the first night, from “Ella Chop House”, it wasn’t quite as good as the beach hut in Colombo, but was still excellent. However, the service was questionable, as the waiter was almost sat on our table with us as we ate. Whilst he was attentive (some would say too attentive and I wouldn’t have been too surprised if he had began eating the meal for me) we gawped at the 600 rupee service charge (which amounted to 40% of the meal.) A short water stop later and our day was done. After 12 and a half hours and 23km of walking we were done.



Steps: 36,684 (NEW RECORD)



Bites: 31



Sunburns: 2



Top tip: If a local tells you you’re going the wrong way, and they are not in an official uniform, tell them to do one (politely).

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Tot: 1.955s; Tpl: 0.047s; cc: 14; qc: 48; dbt: 0.0258s; 1; m:saturn w:www (104.131.125.221); sld: 3; ; mem: 1.4mb