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Published: March 1st 2017
Up, davended, last breakfast at Weir House and into the van ready to go to the train station where we were to catch the train to Hatton. We were booked into 3rd-class reserved seats.
We drove to Paradeniya Junction to get onto the train which actually went to Kandy and then back via Paradeniya to Hatton. The train came and I literally fell into the train at the feet of the officious ticket collector. Rather than help this poor old lady he yelled "reserved only" and disappeared. Don helped me up and ushered me into our seats. I was not hurt physically, just my pride.
Hating the use of public holes in the ground I had not had much coffee for breakfast, so I was not in the best of moods - caffeine withdrawal. The loos (or should I say holes in the ground) were pretty gross. The train ride of well over two hours was long and quite honestly boring! It was quite interesting to see people walking up and down the track. When the train passed them they squeezed themselves between the train and the sidings. We didn’t see children begging along the track but
we did see a family of macaque monkeys. There is no third rail as the engine was a diesel one. Speaking of loos, the one in our train car was truly a hole through which you could see down to the tracks on which we were travelling!
The ride took us through the mountains with some beautiful views. These mountains are known as the Virgin range. Intermittently we saw Basil driving through the mountains going round and round the hair pin bends. He had our luggage with him. In December 1974 there was a plane crash in this range in which 191 people were killed. The investigation found that the cause of the crash was pilot error.
We eventually pulled up in Hatton where Basil met us at the station. Hatton is a large town but appears very third world. When Europeans think of towns they think of modern shops and opulent products on show. The modern buildings were banks. The shops are mainly single storey buildings and most of the sales occur on the pavements.
We were very hungry and so we stopped at a food stall and had delicious samosas which were hot
Hatton is famous for its tea plantations and as a stepping stone for tourists who want to climb Adam’s Peak overnight to see the sun rise. Adam's Peak is also a place where Buddhist pilgrims visit.
Then we drove on to the hotel where we would be staying for the next three days - Castlereigh Family Cottages. The new manager was a gentleman called Keith. Small world: Keith grew up in Staines, England which is where the three of us had first lived as a family. We were shown to our building. It was a duplex set on its own plot of land overlooking the lake. This was another boutique hotel. The grounds were magnificent and Caroline went for a walk down to the lake and even had a quick dip although she said that the water was freezing!
Unfortunately as we walked into our unit I could hear a buzzing sound which proved to be a hornet. Then during the rest of our stay in the room we were plagued by two further hornets. The cottage was beautiful - but it had a thatched roof which was the home to
many a buzzy creature, hornets and mosquitoes and who knows what. The bathroom was large but had a sliver of soap which must have measured 2 cm x 2 cm and a tiny sachet of shampoo (not enough for the two of us). The towels were miniscule. We asked for extra towels and more soap etc but they never arrived. Fortunately being regular travellers we had brought our own shower gel and shampoo. There were no mosquito nets and my fears about being bitten came true!
The best things about Castlereigh turned out to be the setting and (again) the delicicious food prepared just for us.
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