From Kandy, we headed to Ella, a small town known for its bridge and tea. We boarded the train and sat in 3rd class. We had reserved seats and were numerically next to each other. We also found discovered that our numbers were in 2 different rows. The train ride took 6 hours and was very scenic. As we kept going up in elevation, it got misty and cold! Such a weird feeling!
The hostel we booked was several kilometres from the town centre. The local bus we took to the hostel was completely packed as students were trying to get home before dark. I didn’t handle the close proximity well, but a tuk-tuk ride of 500 Rs ($3.21 USD) vs 40 Rs (25¢ USD), I did my best to suck it up. (Thanks, Robb, for trying to comfort me!)
The bus ticket guy helped us get off the correct stop for the hostel, but when we stepped off, we just saw a dirt road. It was misty and wet, but luckily, we found a sign for the 1964 Boutique Hostel that pointed up. 10 minutes of walking later, we found the hostel. Horrah!
Since we were surrounded by tea plantations, we were at the mercy of the hostel for food, but it was amazing! For 3 days, we ate well, and it was super yummy.
We woke up early the next morning and headed out to see the 9-Arch Bridge in Demodara. We tried waiting for the bus to get us closer to the entry of the bridge, but after 20 minutes of waiting, we just walked it. And we caught the 09:23 train crossing the bridge.
We walked on the train tracks back to Ella Town. It was a good 1-hour+ walk with a stop to sip some coconut water.
We rewarded ourselves with a calorie-packed roti kutta at the appropriately-named restaurant, the Roti Hut.
Thanks to our waiter at the Roti Hut, we headed to the Uva Halpewatte Tea Plantation. Since it was in the middle of nowhere, we had to take a tuk-tuk who waited for us as we toured the factory.
We had to wait a while for the tour guide to finish his lunch. He kept telling us that we should’ve gone in the morning when people were actually working. But we still got to see how the factory worked. And we got to sample all sorts of tea.
The rest of the afternoon was spent hanging out at our hostel. They have their own tea plantation that overlooks the valley. Amazing views!
The next morning, Robb hiked up Ella Rock while I hung out at the hostel. But I got bored and headed into town. Of course, the bus never showed up, so I walked… and walked… and walked. An hour later, I saw the bus and flagged it down. Not sure how people survive without the bus! I went to see Ravella Waterfall, one of the widest in Sri Lanka.
I met Robb at the bus stop by accident and went back to the hostel before the afternoon rush. After 2 days of fresh air and muddy walks, we said goodbye to Ella. We got back on the train and 6 hours later, we were back in Kandy. Then, from Kandy, we took a bus for 4 hours to the airport. (We split this into 2 days.)
The bus to the airport started off with plenty of room. Then as we passed each city, the bus kept fuller and fuller. Drinking chai for breakfast was a bad idea.
The Negumbo bus dropped us off right in front of the airport. We spent the last of our rupees on sandwiches and coffee.
We spent 8 days in Sri Lanka and barely scratched the surface. But we saw a lot and ate too much roti kuttu. What else can we ask for?!