Thursday, January 2, 2014

The Final Adventure - 4th Stop: Ella

And now it’s time for Ella (ella ella, ay ay ay!), a little gem of a town, tucked away high in the mountains. In similar fashion to the other places we’ve visited so far, we only had a couple of days here, but once again it proved to be enough, as we had time to get settled, get fed, get rested and see what the place had to offer.

But before all that, we had a 7 hour, third class train journey to get through, which sounded quite daunting from the outset, but turned out to be hugely enjoyable, and all for little over a Euro! (Bus journeys here were the same, cheap cheap cheap!). We were seated opposite a Sri Lankan couple with their young child, who were really lovely, although the breast feeding was quite awkward… (I keep telling Aisling not to do it in public but she never listens - joke!) Still, it made sure we were looking out the window to take in the amazing views!

The journey just flew by and we arrived in plenty of time to see the town and plan the following day before it got dark. And that plan started with getting up early again the next morning for another big climb, this time to the summit of Ella Rock. We had researched directions online how to make your way up, as the path winds and twists through the trees, and splits in countless different directions. But before reaching that point, we had to ‘walk the line’ as it were, and follow the train tracks out of town, even having to hop off at one point for an oncoming train!

It was one of my favourite parts of the holiday so far though. I don’t know why, there just seems to be something very wholesome about walking along a train line through the countryside, especially when passing locals doing the same as part of their daily routine.

We eventually came to the point when we had to go off the rails, and start our uphill climb. We had our printed directions, and between them, some local advice and a bit of guesswork, we eventually made it up about 2 hours later. It was an enjoyable hike and we were lucky to have such a clear day to fully appreciate the views.

We were also fortunate enough to have the place to ourselves, so have a look at our extra scenic video diary:

The way down should in theory have been easier, but it took us a while, including a few dead-ends, and narrowly escaping a snake attack (well, we saw a snake…). We got ourselves quite a bit lost, but eventually stumbled back onto the train lines, so we couldn’t go wrong from there. Back on track!

Later that day, we went on another, much shorter hike up to Little Adam’s Peak, which was nice as we got to walk through some tea plantations along the way, which is what I always picture when I think of Sri Lanka.

Doesn’t she look tea-rific!

There were even some women in the traditional garb, picking away, to complete the stereotypical image. There were also a few chancers dressed up, pretending to work the fields, and asking the passing tourists for money to take their photos!

The sun was on its way down at that stage but we still managed to get a few pics of the women (the real ones) doing their thing.

And that was Ella! As I said, another brief stay, but it was all we needed, and greatly enjoyed. The next day we would be hopping on a bus to Galle for our final stop in Sri Lanka and the final day of 2013! See you then!

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