Our new guest house was perched on a hill with uninterrupted views to the south coast. Unfortunately we didn’t see the view at all on the first day. However when we woke early the next day it was glorious. So we sat out on the veranda and enjoyed our breakfast with an amazing view. I must mention these amazing muffins we found in a bakery in town a few days ago. They are made with cardomon and fennel seed and I am sure other spices I can’t name but they are delicious. So a few of those with several sugar bananas has been our breakfast for the last few days.
We were catching the train to Nanu Oya today and we had heard a few travelers’ horror stories of this train being ridiculously busy and to reserve a seat you needed to book far in advance. But we thought we would try our luck the first day in Haputale and had success. So when we boarded our 2nd class reserved seat carriage we thought we were in luxury! The views from the train were pretty spectacular with tea plantations lining the hills which then turned into a forest of Eucalyptus trees. It’s Strange how so many counties have imported Eucalyptus tress but I suppose they grow anywhere and don’t need much maintenance.
Closer to Nanu Oya the landscape changed to tea covered hills and with the sun shining it was spectacular. We had a short taxi ride to Nuwara Eliya where we were staying. The Sri Lankans call it little England and apparently the first English settlers loved this place due to its cooler climate. English vegetables and fruits such as strawberries are cultivated here and Sri Lanka’s first tea plantations were planted and harvested here.
On the drive to our guesthouse we passed a race track and a golf course along with beautiful old English style cottages and the post office was something out of the English country side. Though opposite that was a series of ramshackle old tin roofed run down old buildings so the English influence has lessened.
Our guest house was perched on the hill overlooking the town. A beautiful view but the walk back from town was going to be tough! We scored though with the accommodations as we were the only ones in the guesthouse so we had an area with a couch and table all to ourselves.
We headed down into town and walked around the little back streets filled with clothes stores as a lot of winter gear from North face etc are manufactured near here. The quality was very good as well. But we didn’t need anything so just enjoyed the atmosphere. I must say though that it is a pleasure to buy from Sri Lankans over the Chinese. When you haggle with or try anything on in China you feel like you are being put through the ringer. But here they just ask you if you would like to try on something and we say no so they then stand and have a 5 min conversation about where we are from and if we are enjoying Sri Lanka.
There was a park in the center of town billed as one of the best in Asia according to Lonley Planet, so we were pretty excited considering we have seen some amazing ones in China. Unfortunately I don’t think the writer was including China in the mix as although very lovely and a pleasure to stroll through it was just a nice green park.
Next stop was the lake which was nothing to write about at all and was lined with piles of rubbish. We headed back to town and found a very busy restaurant for lunch filled with locals. Perfect! We had roti and a lovely liquid curry sauce that we dipped our roti in. The flavors in the sauce were so delicious.
I want to know why Sri Lankan restaurants are not as popular as Indian. Their food is phenomenal. We haven’t eaten hardly any meat with the exception of a few meals with fish since we have been here but the vegetables used and the flavors are so varied that we both haven’t missed it. Coupled with the fact that we have shared 4 beers in total since we have been here the extra kilos we gained in England have just fallen off. Tim’s calling it the curry diet and refusing to admit it’s because of the no alcohol…..
So after lunch which was at about 4pm we purchased some buffalo curd and treacle and fresh fruit and headed back up the hill to enjoy the late afternoon views. The climb back up wasn’t as bad as we thought it would be and soon were sitting back trying to work out where to go for the rest of our Sri Lankan journey.
Nuwara Eliya was a nice town but glad we only stopped for one night here. Off out of the hill country and into the Ancient city section of our trip. Starting with Kandy. S
Looking out the window of the train at the towering Eucalyptus trees.
I think we have posted a similar shot everyday since being in the hill country but it just never gets old.
Vegetable beds waiting for the crops to be sowed. They are just amazingly manicured.
The train station at Nanu Oya
On of the back streets in Nuwara Eliya. As you can see the first shop on the right is closed for prayer.
Shot from Victoria Park.
The racecourse in the middle of town. The inside of the track was used as a field for horses. We never found out if these were the horses that actually race.
Obligatory fruit stall shot from the market.
The man making hoppers. These are little bowl shaped eats made from coconut milk and rice flower. You either have them plain or they crack an egg half way through the cooking process into the bowl so you get a fried egg in the bottom of the bowl. They are awesome and I like to eat mine filled with banana and honey. YUM
Sunset from the guest house balcony.