We were heading into the hill country to Haputale today. We started off with a hearty breakfast at our guesthouse and then caught our first bus to Wellawaya where we had a little wait for our next bus. Here we came across some enterprising tuk tuk drivers who accost you and tell you incorrect bus times in order to get you to pay them extortionate rates to drive you up the mountain. But we were wise to them and waited for our bus.
We fortunately got a seat on the bus which was a god send because within 2 stops it was packed and for the next 2 and a half hours we winded up the mountain with a jam packed bus which included school kids coming back from school. The temperature started to drop which was a nice change and made the bus journey a little more bearable. On the left of the road we were getting snippets of amazing views of the foothills. We were dropped off in the centre of Haputale which consisted of a street lined with shops and a train station.
We caught a tuk tuk to our guesthouse and were amazed at what we had scored. A beautifully renovated room with a balcony with views of the hills. We dropped off our bags and headed out to stretch our legs after our bus journeys.
Haputale sits narrowly on top of a hill, on one side overlooking the surrounding tea fields and on the other side the view stretches all the way to the south coast. It’s a pretty spectacular place. Back home we scoffed down another delicious home cooked rice and curry meal from the lady who owns the guest house. This also included dessert of curd and honey. We have been seeing terra cotta pots filled with homemade curd and have been dying to try it. It didn’t disappoint and I would describe it as a really creamy yoghurt.
The next day we awoke early and caught the train to the next station called Idalgashinna. From there we walked back along the tracks to Haputale enjoying the view of the surrounding tea plantations. It was also a real treat walking along the tracks. Even though we knew the next train wasn’t until after we would reach Haputale, you kept looking behind your shoulder just in case a train was coming. The weather wasn’t great with fog and the occasional spits of rain but that kind of made it a little mystical.
We made it home around 10am and sat down for a delicious pot of tea at the guesthouse. Drinking tea out of a tea pot just makes the tea so much nicer! We then headed back out again to catch the train in the opposite direction to Ella. The train from Haputale to Ella is supposed to be one of the most scenic in the world so we were pretty excited. Ella itself is also another very pretty hillside town, just a little more busy than Haputale.
Unfortunately as we were walking the 20 mins to the train station the heavens opened and we got soaked. We had on our rain jackets but that didn’t stop our pants from getting wet. The wind also picked up as well so by the time we got to the train station we were a little miserable. We made it on to the train and were standing in the doorway with rain coming in and we both just looked at each other and wondered why the bloody hell we were doing this! We probably weren’t going to see anything anyway! So before the train left we got off and walked back home. Hopefully we can do it tomorrow. But our spirits were lifted when we ate another delicious mix of rice and curry! S
Waiting for our bus to Haputale. You can see the hills in the background.
More spectacular views. In the distance you can actually see the south coast. It makes you realise how small this country really is.
The metropolis of Haputale.
We went into the train station to reserve tickets for the next leg of our journey and walked back in time. The poor train station worker seemed to do a roster of 3 days of 24 hour work with a short sleep at the station during the nights followed by one day off.
Best seat in the house again. The train track cut into the mountain side was a feat of engineering for the 19th century.
I just couldn’t resist!
As you can see the fog was thick in a few places.
Tim with tea in the background.
More tea fields. There is something so beautiful about cultivated fields on a hill.