Weligama & Hikkaduwa

After Craig and I left Ella, we had no real plan other than going surfing. We decided to head to Weligama where Craig stayed with a local family during his previous trips. It was a brilliant idea, since the family was extremely welcoming and they treated us to some amazing local food.

The atmosphere in Weligama was extremely relaxing and there was plenty of space on the beach for anyone who fancied doing some surfing. I loved the fact that people didn’t hassle me at all, unlike in Bali, where it was really hard to get rid of some local men. I really enjoyed my days there and I spent a lot of time playing in the water (that’s how my level of surfing can be described). I wonder if I’m ever going to be good at surfing, but it doesn’t matter if not, it’s just such a fun way to spend the time. Even the local cows agreed with me and jealously eyed all the surfers in the water.

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One of the evenings, when I was already finished for the day, I was chilling on the beach and waiting for Craig to get out. Suddenly a storm cloud came in out of nowhere and dumped an incredible amount of water on everyone. There was no time to run and hide somewhere. I was trying to hide in one of the beach shelters, but it could not handle the amount of rainfall. It felt like it lasted forever and even if I didn’t mind getting soaked, I had a few things with me that I didn’t want to be ruined. Then suddenly it all stopped, the sky cleared and life was beautiful again.

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After several days in Weligama, we decided to head to Hikkaduwa. I was hoping to do more surfing there, but the place wasn’t great for beginners, especially compared to Weligama.

I ended up spending a lot of time relaxing, watching more advanced surfers, dogs, sunsets and drinking beer. After nearly two weeks constant moving around it was nice just to chill.

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My kind of afternoon tea.

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After those very relaxing days we headed back to Colombo for the night and left Sri Lanka the next morning. I am already making plans to go back, there is so much left to enjoy in this beautiful country.

Ella

For me, Ella is one of those happy places that when you discover them you know you were meant to arrive there sooner or later. Perhaps the previous sentence sounds a bit vague, but I just felt so at peace and happy there that it’s hard to even describe the feeling.

I didn’t have too much time in Ella, but I really enjoyed all the hiking I did there and the town’s atmosphere. I think it will be the best if I show you a bunch of photos rather than try to put everything into words. Here are some from the hike up to Little Adam’s Peak.

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I was lucky to find a very peaceful accommodation just outside Ella. I loved chilling there in the evenings and watching fireflies at night.

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Another hike I did was up to Ella Rock. We set out early in the morning and had to walk along the train tracks for the first hour or so. I have to admit, there were couple of sections where I really didn’t want to meet the train, since it would had passed me a few centimeters away. Someone told me I would be able to hear the train coming from far away, but I have to say, it wasn’t he case.

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I loved the fact that there were so many friendly dogs everywhere, even on top of Ella Rock!

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As I said, I didn’t have a lot of time in Ella, but it was enough to fall in love with the place!

It was time to leave the mountain people, tea plantations and happy dogs and head to the coast. More about it next time πŸ™‚

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Adam’s Peak

Feel almost bad saying this, but I couldn’t wait to leave Kandy. It’s not because I didn’t like Kandy, but I just couldn’t wait to get up Adam’s Peak. Whenever I’m going on holiday and have some hiking planned for the part of it, I have very itchy feet until all hiking is out of my system. I really can’t help it, I hove hiking!

We jumped into Kandy – Ella train, known for one of the most magnificent train journeys in the world.  We couldn’t get a seat since the train was packed, so ended up sitting on the floor near the door. It turned out to be an ideal spot since the train doors were always open and we could enjoy the views and the wind in the hair while hanging out of the train. It’s a shame because soon a lot of people decided they needed to get some photos with them hanging out of the train so all the photo shoots really became a nuisance.

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The train journey wasn’t too long since we jumped out in Hatton, where we got into an extremely packed bus to Dalhousie. That bus journey felt like it was never going to end. It was hot, sweaty and I was nearly getting motion sickness. I kept glancing at somebody’s watch and the time just didn’t seem to move! Then I realised why – the watch was broken…

When we finally arrived in Dalhousie we had all evening to relax, get some food supplies for the walk and enjoyed an incredible meal that our host cooked for all the guests staying in their guesthouse.

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The first view of Adam’s Peak

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Locals

Can’t remember when exactly we set off but it was roughly 1 or 2 in the morning. It was dark and relatively quiet when we left but soon started overtaking more and more people. I say “overtaking” not because I’m over confident in my fitness, but because there was such a variety of people going up that I couldn’t believe it was even possible. Anyone from really young to really old who couldn’t even walk (they were being carried by their relatives!) were making their way up. It was the full moon night celebrated by Buddhists and Adam’s Peak is a holy place, so the trail was absolutely packed with people. It got much worse just before the peak since the stairs got so narrow that it was impossible to overtake and there was a lot of standing and waiting involved.

When we finally got to the top, we went to ring the bell. It is part of the ritual and you have to ring the bell as many times as you visited Adam’s Peak. I was jealous of some doing it several times! Afterwards we managed to squeeze in with the crowd on the steps and waited for a sunrise. It was cold, but definitely worth the wait. It was such a magic atmosphere when we saw the first beams of the sun and shared that moment with so many strangers.

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Adam’s Peak is also famous for its shadow that you can see just after the sunrise. I’m sharing the photo below so you can see what I mean. Let me know if you can’t spot it πŸ™‚

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The way down wasn’t extremely eventful, it was more like flowing with the crowd. It got really hot too and I was ready for the breakfast. But what a way to start the day!

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That magic sunrise is still in my heart today.

Kandy

I don’t know how, but I managed to book accommodation in Kandy almost four miles away from the town centre. It was probably one of the best mistakes I have ever made. The place had the best view and extremely peaceful surroundings, so I spent a lot of time in this beautiful balcony.

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Apart from lazying around in the balcony, we visited a tea factory and it was great to see the processes and the machines that the tea leaf has to go through to become tea as we know it. Doesn’t seem that I took many photos there, can only find one with me being excited about my tea and biscuits!

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We also stopped at a beautiful medicinal and herb garden (don’t ask me where it was). Anyway, it was a beautiful garden and the guy who gave us a tour kept us guessing what some of the things were. Can you guess what’s in the photo bellow?

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OK I will tell you. It’s black pepper!

And this is the obvious one – pineapple. I am still amused about how they grow πŸ™‚

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I have also visited the botanical garden in Kandy, where my favourite were the giant fruit bats. The trees were almost black from the amount of bats hanging on the branches. Suddenly it seemed that something spooked them, so they all went flying around and it was an incredible thing to watch (they are huge!).

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I also visited the Temple of the Sacred Tooth, which was really nice and relaxed and had the lamp shades that looked like owls.

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And some really moody ducks… πŸ™‚

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I thought Kandy was happy, colourful and a very chilled place before heading for some hill walking. But that’s for next time. Enjoy the wind in your hair in the meantime πŸ™‚

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Colombo, Sri Lanka

I’ve just returned from South America andΒ  I really can’t wait to write about my adventures there, however I still have quite a bit of catching up to do with my writing about previous trips. I will get there, sooner or later πŸ™‚

A bit less than a year ago, I was extremely fed up with the dark days and cold weather, so I decided to shorten the winter by going to Sri Lanka. My boyfriend visited this country twice before and he had nothing just the best things to say about it.

Colombo was the first and very short stop on our trip. Maybe because we had less than 24 hours there, I didn’t get to see the best of the city.Β  However, the impression I got in the short time won’t be taking me back to the city anytime soon (unlike the rest of the country).

We arrived to our apartment and couldn’t wait to jump into the pool. After a long time spent travelling the water felt extremely rewarding.

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We didn’t do much until the following morning when we decided to go for a wander around the town. Soon afterΒ  we got outside, a tuk tuk stopped next to us and the driver offered to take us on a tour. We really had no plan for the day, so thought why not, we might as well see something worthwhile.

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The driver took us to one of the temples, which I believe, was called Gangaramaya temple. I hope I’m not mistaken, because I always struggle to remember names even if I plan things myself, so there is very little chance I’d remember places where someone else took me. However, I have a really good visual memory and googled images seem to confirm my guess.

Anyway, the temple was a beautiful and relaxed place and it even had a museum of what felt like a very random collection of things including vintage cars! I loved the surprise element in this temple.

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The driver then took us to see the White House (Town Hall), which I didn’t expect to look like it did when I heard the name.

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We then realised that we needed to book our train to Kandy, since we assumed we could show up and jump on any train, but it wasn’t the case. It turned out that due to the train availability we needed to cut our tour short and after getting some food in the floating market, we headed to the train station.

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Having in mind how little we managed to do in Colombo, the money we paid to the driver were not worth it. We also later found out that even though we did a decent job in bargaining, we were horribly overcharged. I guess this is what you pay for a privilege of showing up with no plan and being lazy πŸ™‚ anyway, the rest of the trip was much more exciting and better planned and I’ll start with Kandy in my next post.