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Published: November 5th 2016
The day started with a slightly disappointing breakfast, it looked the part, but really failed to deliver, too many dry cakes and sweet pastries and not enough real food.
Our first stop was the Botanical Gardens, which were an optional thing to do, but previously when we have visited them abroad, have been very good. This one had a very nice orchid house, with lots of varieties, together with some tree lined vistas and rather impressive bamboo. The shop however was disappointing much to Russ's delight, with little to offer either as a general souvenir or of the gardens themselves. Indy stopped at a stall on the road side to buy us red bananas to try, they were a little sweeter than normal and slightly disappointingly not red inside.
We headed up into the hills, and tea plantation country and stopped at one lf the many factories that line the hillsides. Inside we were given a very comprehensive tour and demonstration of the machinery that it takes to produce the tea. With it being a Saturday, the factory was empty but our guide turned on a number of the machines (all the original ones from the
1930's) and I don't think we realised how many processes the tea goes through before it ends up in the cup - picked, weighed, air dried, rolled, graded, re rolled, graded again, dried twice and then shaken and colour selected, the more inferior branches go to compost, and the other 6 types make loose leaf tea, the rest is sent to go into teabags. I certainly didn't realise that black tea and green tea come from the same bush, and that White tea (the most expensive) only uses the buds of a different more difficult to grow plant. At the end of the tour, we were brought a cup of all of the types of tea to try, and she brought small pots of the flavoured teas for us to smell - tangerine, strawberry, mango to name but a few, and not for us but clearly they sell a lot of these types too.
Our journey continued up into the hills, with increasing steepness and more acute bends. The cloud was down as well and it had begun to drizzle, a sign of how far up we had climbed. We stopped the car as we saw some tea pickers
on a large plantation. They earn approx 700 Rup per day, $5, but can earn more for working at the weekend.
A little further along, we stopped at a view point where we could see waterfalls, and down to the reservoir. This was also our lunch stop, and as we had lunch, the cloud lifted a little, and the sun tried to come out. The restaurant had a balcony where we could go and get better less cloud affected pictures of the falls.
We continued our journey to Nuwara Eliya, which is Sri Lanka's highest town at 1990m. The town name means town of lights but it is also called "little england". It has a post office with red post box, and a number of colonial type hotels plus a golf course. The temperature had certainly dropped, and that is part of it's likeness to England. Our plans for tomorrow had been somewhat thwarted by the weather. Indy had checked the forecast and it wasn't great for the morning when we were supposed to be going on a walk, but if the cloud is down there is nothing to see, so we were free until 11.30.
checked into the hotel, got our rain macs and set off to explore the town. It was however A little disappointing with not much to see other than the post office. The local market was the usual fruit, veg, fish - fresh and dried, and dubious looking meat. Outside, a man had boxes of chicks, and we watched as a man with 3 children bought a whole box of the cheaping little things. I'd like to think They were going to be pets, more than likely dinner. We tried to have a look at the couple of restaurant recommendations we had had from Indy, one being an Indian, one being a mobile place in a railway carriage and one being at the park. None of them really convinced us, so we went back to the hotel to change and consult Trip Advisor.
Head torches deployed, we set off to find the Number 1 recommendation, a pizza place. We had a good idea where it was, just around the racecourse, but weren't sure what it looked like. I think we can safely say it wasn't what we thought - rather than Pizza Hut, think Pizza Shack, literally. Plastic chairs, wooden
hut, no drinks, but great pizza. We were in a queue, and 4 other groups were all there because of Trip Advisor.
We stopped on the way back at the Glendower Hotel for a drink, again reminiscent of an english bar of old with beer pump clips, but nothing special and clearly living on its reputation - for the record, they were playing a Michael Bolton CD! We headed back to our hotel to the bar, which is nex to our room, not open, so we asked them to open its for us. They have left us with a beer and I think gone to bed!
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