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Published: January 4th 2019
On Wednesday, December 19th, my friends Arielle, Denise, Hannah, Romi and I left Ella and took a train to Hatton. For once the train was quite empty and we actually got seats! :-D It was a nice and quiet train ride and we met a very nice guy from Austria, Tom, who was completely charmed by Hannah! ^_^
From Hatton train station, we took a mini bus to our guesthouse close to Adam’s peak, the Narra Homestay, a lovely little guesthouse with delicious food, clean rooms and very nice owners. :-)
Since we would have to get up at 2AM the next morning to start hiking the Adam’s peak, we had an early night (we went to bed at 9PM!) after listening to a lot of Christmas music, braiding hair and preparing our hike.
The next morning - or a couple of hours later - we got up at 2AM and arrived at 3AM with 2 tuk tuks to the Adam’s peak. This mountain reaches 2243m altitude and it is considered a sacred mountain as well by Buddhist as by Christians, Hindus and Islam because on it’s peak is a rock formation that is considered as
being either Buddha’s, Shiva’s or Adam’s footprint. ^_^ That is of course a bit ridiculous, but it’s a famous pilgrimage place. The pilgrimage season starts on the fullmoon of each December and goes on until April or so. We were lucky and were there just a couple of days before the start of the pilgrimage season. Once this starts, there are thousands of people going up every day, it is super crowded and it may take you 3 or 4 times as long to get up to the peak! :S
Getting up to the peak is not a real hike, it’s only steps, and not really difficult. It’s just hard, because all steps have different hights and lengths and you can’t get a proper rythme. It has about 5500 steps and it is pretty exhausting, but we did it in less than 2 hours and reached the top around 5AM. It was freezing cold up there, but we had brought clothes to change and Arielle had even brought a big blanket from the guesthouse (she is crazy : I bet her backpack weighted a good 7kg!). We waited for sunrise and I must say, it was absolutely gorgeous! ‹3
There were quite some clouds, but we were above the clouds and could marvel at the sunrise behind the mountains in front of us. It was an amazing morning and I don’t regret having done this hike, even though the walk down killed my legs and would leave my calves in pain for almost a week! ^_^
After a good shower and a delicious breakfast, we took a van back to Hatton and from there a train to Nanuoya. This train ride seemed endless : the train was super crowded and we had to stand for about 1 hours in the corridors, close to the (open) door. We were sooo happy when we finally arrived! The trains here are always just way too busy... In Nanuoya at the train station, we met this guy who offered to take us to our hostel in Nuwara Eliya with his van (it was about half an hour away). Since we were all pretty tired and exhausted, we accepted his offer - the price was pretty good actually, even though a bus would have been way cheaper - and we finally arrived in our new hostel - the laughing leopard -
around 1PM. We spent the rest of the day relaxing, sleeping, eating and playing cards, but at 9PM we all went to bed, just too exhausted to stay up any longer... ^_^
The next morning, Arielle and I got up at 4:30AM to go to the Horton’s plain national park and to do the « World’s End Hike » there. The other girls didn’t want to join us a) because they didn’t want to get up that early again and b) they didn’t want to hike the day after doing the Adam’s peak. And I must say, it was quite painful! ^_^ Still, the landscape was very beautiful and we had a good time with Emilie from the UK who joined us that morning. Emilie is a very interesting person : she moved to Vietnam 2 or 3 years ago and now works there as a Kindergarten teacher in a school the self-discovery method (no academic teaching, the kids are guided and the teachers observe what they are good in and help the develop their talents). The « World’s End » was a bit disappointing. Yes it is a beautiful valley that you can overlook, but it’s
not that impressive or special ; the cliff on the Ella Rock was more impressive. Well, never mind, it has been a very nice morning, just maybe a bit too expensive.
In the afternoon, the 5 of us plus Emilie went to the Blue Field Tea factory and to the Ramboda falls. I really wanted to see a green tea or white tea factory and I was a bit disappointed that it was - again - a black tea factory, but never mind. The Ramboda falls were very beautiful and Arielle and I even went swimming, but the others didn’t because it was a very cloudy and a bit chilly afternoon.
We did have a very good time there and on our way back to the hostel we stopped in town to get some takeaway food - the hostel was a bit out of town and they didn’t have any food.
In our hostel, there were some really nice people and there was a very good atmosphere, but the 3 owners are maybe a bit too informal and too straightforward with their guests ; it’s not very professional, it feels more like staying at some
friend’s place. We had met Mitch from Australia and Janine from the UK there, a very strange couple ; they were only together when they were traveling together, otherwise they were single, and they didn’t behave like a couple, no affection or anything ; I really wasn’t sure if they were together or if they were just friends... ^_^ But they were both very nice and they joined us the next day on our way to the South. We had booked the same van that had brought us from Nanuoya to Nuwara Eliya because he had made us a very good offer. It was a very long drive (6h), but we stopped a couple of times for food or toilet breaks and the view was very nice. Hannah was our DJ and even though the van was a bit crowded with 7 people, it wasn’t too bad. :-)
We dropped Mitch and Janine off in Mirissa and we arrived to Weligama around 4PM. We did a very fast check-in (the girl at the reception was a bit overwhelmed with 4 check-ins at the same time - Romi stayed in a different hostel because ours didn’t have any
private rooms -, she asked us the wrong price - way too much - and didn’t have enough forms to get the contacts of us all) and then we went straight the sea to cool off a bit. In the South of Sri Lanka, it is very very warm but the sea has a pretty nice temperature. :-D There are quite a lot of waves and Hannah lost here sunglasses but we enjoyed the cool and clear water and we saw an amazing sunset! ‹3
Later that evening we went to Meewitha, a small local restaurant with the best kotthu ever! :-D Hannah and Arielle absolutely wanted to go out, but I wanted to do whale watching the next morning and so I didn’t go with them, neither did Denise and Romi who were quite tired.
Unfortunately, when I came back to the hostel, the manager who had told me he would give me all the information about the whale watching after I came back from dinner wasn’t there - he went to a different hostel but should come back soon - and so I waited... I met Ruben from Belgium and Daniel from Australia that evening and
I had a nice time with them, but I was pretty angry that the manager from the hostel didn’t come back. The hostel was completely unsurveilled, there was no staff there for hours! At 11:30PM I was just too tired and I was sick of waiting so I just went to bed. 10 minutes later the guy knocked on our door and told me that there was no space for the whale watching the next day but he was stoned and drunk and I was quite mad! He could just have told someone in the hostel that before leaving and I would have gone out with Arielle and Hannah instead of waiting like an idiot for nothing!
The next morning, I got up early and went to the beach where I enjoyed a nice, quiet time before coming back to the hostel for breakfast. Arielle and Hannah were very tired because they had been out until 5AM and so the girls didn’t want to do much that morning. I on the contrary, I was itchy to get out and do something, so I rented a scooter and went to visit the Handunugoda Tea Estate where they produce
white and black tea. It is a very beautiful estate, very green, with lots of different fruit trees, tea and other plants like jasmin and cinnamon. The tour was fantastic and I had a very good time there! :-D They gave us a delicious green and black tea to taste and an amazing chocolate cake! ‹3
Afterwards I wanted to join the girls in Mirissa for lunch, but when I was almost there, I had to turn on the main road and somehow my scooter was faster than me and I had an accident, losing control of the scooter and just falling over. It wasn’t too bad fortunately, but I was quite in shock and not only myself but also the scooter was pretty scratched! :-( I went to the girls and Arielle went to the hospital with me to get my wounds cleaned. I was afraid there were stones in the wounds in my hands and so it was just to be safe that I went there, but there were no stones in them and it was nothing bad. It was an experience though, because it looked like a WW2 hospital, very basic and old fashioned! ^_^
Afterwards Arielle and I went back to our hostel and I called the guy who had rented me the scooter. Him and his boss came to inspect the damage and went to see a local guy who would repair it. When they came back, I was very relieved that it would only cost 3800R (= +/- 20€)! Thank God! I was afraid it would cost more than 100€ but apparently the scratches can be repaired easily! :-D
Later that afternoon, Arielle and I went out for a late lunch and on the way we bought some wine. Turns out that wine in Weligama is way cheaper than wine in Ella : only 2000R (= 10€)! When everyone was ready, we took 2 tuk tuks to the Doctor’s House to meet Mitch and Janine for dinner and for a beer. The Doctor’s House is pretty famous and lots of people go there just for the food and to have a drink. That night, they had a live band playing really good jazz and we sat in the grass, playing cards and drinking some beers. The food was okay and the atmosphere was great, but it was very expensive and so
we went back to our hostel quite early. Also, it was nice there but it was impossible to meet new people since most people came with their friends and sat in circles so that each group was separated from the other. Still, it had been a very nice evening and we were happy to see Mitch and Janine again.
The others were pretty tired and went to bed immediately after we came back but Arielle and I stayed in the common area with the other people from the hostel. It was a very nice atmosphere and we were having a lot of fun, meeting new people and getting to know Daniel - they guy from Australia I had met the night before - better. Arielle and I were sharing the bottle of wine we had bought earlier and all the others were having some beers. At some point, we wanted to listen to a funny Christmas song one of the girls was talking about, but the staff declined. Daniel mentioned how bad the music was and so he went to the staff to ask if we can change it, but, again, they declined. The guy who works there came
over and was like « No, you can’t change the music, if everyone played what he wanted, this would be crazy! And this is my music anyway, we’re not changing it! ». We asked him if the next day we would at least be allowed to listen to some Christmas music but he said - half joking but not really - : « No, max. 10 minutes, no more Christmas. I’m not a believer and so there will be no Christmas here! ». We were shocked and, honestly, very angry. It’s not like there had been 10 different music wishes that night, everybody had been okay with just changing the music a bit! There had been 2 clear groups, 1 customers, 1 staff and I believe the customer should be able to decide on the music if everyone is okay with the type of music and not the staff. And then outrightly refusing to let his customers - who all wanted to celebrate Christmas - listen to some Christmas music or celebrate it in the hostel, this sucks!
Arielle was mad and went to get her speakers and so we played some different music in our corner of the
hostel but then the staff seriously turned their music just louder! We were super angry and when Arielle is angry, there is no joking anymore. She wrote the worst review in the world and put it everywhere : on Google, Facebook, Instagram and Tripadvisor! ^_^
The next morning, Arielle showed her review to the other girls and everyone was shocked, that’s not something you’d expect from such a sweet girl as her! ^_^ Well, they deserved it, especially when we heard from Daniel that after we left the staff had left the hostel unattended again and when he and some other girl went to get some water behind the bar and to wash their dishes, the staff accused them of being thieves and threatened to kick them out! The next day he had to apologise to the guy working in the hostel so that he could stay ; incredible! Well, many people liked this hostel but all of this had really made us dislike it...
After breakfast, the 5 of us took a bus to Galle where we wanted to do some last minute Christmas shopping. Unfortunately Romi didn’t feel so good and as
soon as we arrived, she took a bus back to spend the rest of the day in bed... So it was just Arielle, Denise, Hannah and I in Galle. Galle is a wonderful small town and it actually looks very european ; you might think you’re in some small town in Portugal or in the South of France! :-) We had a very nice, relaxing morning there and then - huge surprise - I saw my friend Max from Switzerland! He had texted me a couple of days earlier that he was in Sri Lanka, but lazy as I am, I didn’t reply immediately and then completely forgot to answer him... But fate brought us together in Galle and so he spent the rest of the day with me and my friends so that we could catch up after the 2 or 3 years we hadn’t seen each other. It was a wonderful day ! :-D
When we came back from Galle, we went shopping for some alcohol because the next day - on Christmas day - all the wine shops would be closed. And then, after a shower, we finally got to start our Christmas celebrations!
:-D We had some real cheese on biscuits, champagne and good wine and we exchanged gifts! Everyone was super happy with her presents and I got very beautiful earrings with real gems from Hannah! I love them! ‹3
We spent quite some time in the hostel with the other guests there, chatting, drinking and playing games. Finally the hostel staff had decided to do a Christmas barbecue and many people joined in, but we were still angry about the night before and so we didn’t stay for dinner but left to have dinner with 2 German guys in the Number 1 Roti Shop in Mirissa before going to the beach. We found an awesome party there and danced all night long to some techno music, meeting new people, dancing with our friends and having a great time! This had been an amazing Christmas Eve! :-D
On Christmas Day, Arielle and I woke up early because we had an appointment to get Ayurvedic massages at 10AM. We went to a place Hannah had recommended us and it really was great. We were super tired and a bit hangover, but the massage and their amazing tea were very
helpful! ^_^ It was in Mirissa and afterwards we stayed there at the beach to « endure » the heat swimming in the cool ocean and laying on the chairs of some resort hotel. Sri Lanka is a great place for surfing and if you go into the water, you can immediately see why ; especially in Mirissa, the waves are violent! I got hit a few times so hard, that I lost my sunglasses (fortunately they float and Arielle found them) and my bikini a few time! :S ^_^
Around 1PM, the others joined us ; Hannah had spent the morning with Tom while Denise and Romi had taken their first surfing lesson (they had loved it!). We were all pretty hungry and wanted to get take-out food from the roti shop where we had been the night before, but unfortunately they didn’t do take-out, so we went to a restaurant at the beach, Zephyr, where we had an absolutely amazing Christmas dish : grilled kingfish with fries and fresh salad, a delight! :-D
Afterwards we went back to our hostel to have a shower and drink some of the alcohol we had left. For dinner we
went back to Meewitha, the local restaurant where we had had dinner on our first night. There we met the 2 Germans again whom we had had had dinner with the night before. The others were super tired and so we didn’t go out and I only spent 1 hour or so with Charlie from London and a German guy before going to bed. It had been a wonderful Christmas Day and I’m very happy, lucky and grateful I could spend it with my 4 friends. :-D ‹3
The next morning, we took our time at breakfast and packing our bags. Around 11AM, Arielle, Hannah and I joined Denise, Romi and Charlie from London (we had met him the night before in the hostel) after their surfing lesson for a last coffee in the Hangtime hostel (a really cool place). It was very sad to say goodbye to Denise and to Romi, we had spent 3 weeks together discovering the South of Sri Lanka, hiking and partying and it had been an amazing time with them! They have become very dear friends and I’m sure I’ll see them again soon! :-D
At 1PM, Arielle,
Hannah and I took a train to Colombo and - as always - the train was super crowded and we didn’t get a seat... We even got separated from Arielle, but fortunately Hannah and I managed to sit on the door, so that we could enjoy the beautiful view and spent time together. Hannah shared her music with me and we were singing super loud to old music (Backstreet boys, Spice girls, ...) that probably drove all the people around us crazy! Hahaha
In Colombo we then took a taxi to the airport and finally left Sri Lanka at 11PM to go to Thaïland. It was a fun evening and a good flight! :-)
Sri Lanka has been one of my favorite countries on this trip. It’s absolutely beautiful with all it’s rice fields, coast lines, beaches, mountains and forests! The people are incredibly nice - even tuc tuc drivers are decent! - and the food is just the best food ever : mostly vegan, super healthy and delicious! I can only recommend you to go there one day yourselves and discover this amazing place, I’m sure I’ll come back one day! :-D ‹3
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