Sri Lanka day 13: An early morning walk then a 10 hour train journey to Colombo

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September 15th 2017
Published: September 15th 2017
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Yesterday when Claire offered me the opportunity to get up early today and go for a long walk to see a bridge I immediately said yes. Which took her by surprise that's for sure. These Apple watches need to be satiated with exercise though so the alarms went off at 6....actually quite a lie in on this holiday.
The nine arch railway bridge was on the same railway we walked along yesterday but in the opposite direction. We again ignored the signs telling us it was an offence and walked along the tracks. We even ignored the next sign that warned us of thieves and robbers on this stretch of track. We liked how this sign was AFTER the one telling you what you were doing was if they knew you'd ignore the first one.
There were less people walking this stretch but there were a few and no trains came after the one just after Ella station. The nine arch bridge was okay but not great to photograph as you couldn't really get anywhere to get a decent shot. We had lassis and curd with honey at a cafe there and an army guy and a policeman were friendly and took no notice when we headed back up the tracks through the tunnel (which had bats in it hooray!).
Back at our accommodation we packed up and dragged ourslves and our luggage back to the train station. It was very steep in places but my knees managed.
At the station I mentioned to Claire that you don't have to be a detective to guess where we're going next....and she groaned. One does one's best.
The train arrived on time and we boaded the observation carriage hoping to be in the seats that were by the big windows that gave a view of where we've been. But no, we were sat near the back of the carriage and whoever sat on the inside seat wouldn't get a very good view. We could open the windows so we could photograph through there and the train doesn't go very fast. It takes 10 hours to go the 271km to Colombo so it's quite sedate.
Not being by the big window didn't bother me once I realised it wasn't that clean and shooting through the window was better even if the windows were very low down especially for someone tall like me. Not all the seats were filled so we were able to move around and both get a window seat. Apart from one torturous hour when everyone on one side was snapping away and I was stuck on the dull side with nothing but trees it was fine. The last seat on that side had been taken by someone who'd just moved across for a nap. He's not my favourite person.
I'm surprised at the number of people who've paid a bit extra to be in the observation car and then don't look out of the window. Weird. It's only £15 each booked from home for a ten hour trip. It's probably cheaper if you book it here but we were warned it does get fully booked and it's best to book ahead. If you don't like travelling backwards, forget it.
We passed some amazing scenery, loads of tea plantations and many waterfalls as well. Tea plantation workers predominantly seem to work when and where it is either very difficult or impossible to photograph them. I'm pretty sure it's a conspiracy.
I put off going to the toilet for a while and waited until Claire had been first. She reported that the doors to the train were wide open and so we took some classic hanging off train shots. And that the toilet was Western style and that what you put in it just went through onto the tracks. Makes our train track walks seem a bit ooey now! You could wash your hands though which is always a bonus.
We'd been told that no food or drink is available so we brought our own. Occasional sellers came up to the window though selling popcorn, strawberries and savoury curry cakes. One or two locals bought bags of vegetables at one stop so I guess they have something ready to cook for tea when they get home. It looks like they've been to a wedding so they've probably got nothing in.
For the last few hours it was dark.
We arrived in Colombo just after 9 so only about 10 minutes late. We then had to find transport to our accommodation Mini's Residence. Someone offered to take us for 2000lkr so we started an argument and eventually got it down to 1000lkr in a tuk tuk. Even then our driver didn't know where he was going and kept trying to put the price up because he's the number one driver....hmmm....
After lots of phoning and getting lost he finally found our guesthouse and we paid him the agreed price and off he went with a sour face. The price should be 500 apparently but hey.
Our new host is into vinyl records and has a variety of old machines to play them on including one of those old His Master's Voice gramophones with the earpiece like speaker. We spent a while talking and listening to old Elvis songs whilst drinking tea before we retired to finish our blogs and get some sleep. Our room is excellent and again I'd recommend this place highly. As I would Sri Lanka. The guesthouse is named after the 1960 Mini the owner has apparently.
Next blog will probably be from home so please be patient.

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