I joined Linda, Patrick and David who I met in Another World Guest House in Arugambay and travel led by local bus to Ella for a couple of days with them before everyone heads off their own directions. The journey starts with a tuktuk to the bus stand, then two buses which takes us around 5 hours, both David and Patrick's faces are a picture because they've not used to the local transport before and it's a tight squeeze with them both being well over 6ft tall. Their surf boards are piled in and they grab the back seat… at one stop I can hear David talking to someone, it turns out that Patrick (6ft7) is standing outside but he is level with the bus windows so they are having a conversation, no-one can believe the height of him!! Although quite long, it's a really pleasant journey which takes us through lovely scenery and I start to see some of the many tea plantations, and the workers picking tea and putting it in their baskets. When we arrive we find a room that accommodates the four of us, so it turns out to be really cheap only around 300rs
each. Ella is a picturesque town surrounded by hills, we have Little Adam's Peak and Ella Rock which seem to be the two main sources of attraction. After a walk round the village we tried to go up Ella Rock but got sent the wrong direction and ended up on one of the many tea plantations instead, the route took us along the railway line which we weren't sure was right so we diverted off another direction. It turned out that we were actually on the right tracks, so we'll try again tomorrow. Next day we got it right, started out on the railroad tracks with a number of railroad workers who then pointed us in the right direction, from the tracks a local farmer showed us the path to the top through fields of crops which stood 7ft tall, the path would have been far too difficult for us to find on our own so we thanked him and gave him some money for his kindness. The views made the effort worthwhile, surrounded by mountains and tea plantations and can even see way over to the sea toward Arugambay… stunning. After our exertions we got the local steam train out to
Badulla, although the journey is only one hour long as we were seeing Linda off for her bus to Colombo, it was magical. As the steam train pulled out, the combination of the change of weather because we're higher up which makes it nice and cool, together with the steam bellowing out, the noise of the train, the sun setting for the night and the noise of the train whistle blowing was amazing. I was hanging out the door of the train the whole way with the wind in my hair, thoroughly enjoying the whole experience! Because I loved it so much I have decided to take this train tomorrow to Kandy to arrange accommodation for the Kandy Perahera before heading back to Tangalle in the south of Sri Lanka. It's a breath of fresh air being in the hills, and is well worth the visit.