Sri Lanka: Adams Peak and Ella

Our arrival at Adams Peak was anything but smooth we arrived on a delayed train from Kandy late at night in the rain, with no where to stay. We had a visit from one of the young sri lankan boys who just sat on the seats opposite and glared at us intensely for about 5minutes then got up and left.
Hatton saw us getting driven about by a rickshaw driver for about 30minutes to one hotel we never asked for, a hotel with a wedding reception in full swing and another that just didn’t seem to even exist anymore. After an argument with the driver over payment we decided to take the hour drive to Achinika Holiday Inn at the base for the walk to Adams Peak. Our hopes were not high but amazingly it turned out one of the nicest cheap hotels going!
Waking early in the morning to make the trek to the peak to watch the sunrise atop Adams Peak we dressed in our best waterproofs and armed ourselves with torches and our pancake breakfast for our victory breakfast at the top and set out into the pouring rain.

At 4am the surrounding hillside is blanketed in darkness and the accompanying drizzle obscured our view further.
Ok I’m not going to lie, this was a pretty miserable morning, we were soaked through in about 5 minutes, the temples on the way up while looking pretty were nothing special, perhaps down to the weather dampening our spirits (pun intended). The stairs went from even concrete, to made for children and then giants but all in all quite reasonable and the climb though wet could of been worse.

Now here’s where it gets even more miserable, we had hoped that the rain would ease off as the hours passed by, we started in drizzle and by about two thirds up we were getting pummelled by little watery missiles that had literally turned the steps into a waterfall and halted our ascent. We had to ask ourselves ‘was this safe?’. The chances of our picture perfect sunrise were slim at best, even tour groups were descending the guides not willing to risk the final climb.

We recognised our limits and also turned back, a far cry from the bucket list sunrise I’d been dreaming of. On the up side we got back in time for a snooze and second breakfast and consoled ourselves over copious pots of fresh chai tea… and all the stories from people that had pressed on only to see nothing but cloud at the top.

If you ever find your way over to Sri Lanka, make the climb for me! ‘Be My Travel Muse’ was the one that initially inspired my interest in this climb and she wrote (and completed) it way more successfully than me!

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Ella came at the perfect time for us. Feeling soggy, downhearted and sorry for ourselves we got a rickshaw back to Hatton via some gorgeous lake scenery and an old English church and filed into the train station towards our dream homestay overlooking the picturesque Ella waterfall.

Train journeys in Sri Lanka are memorable for multiple reasons, the scenery, which today happened to be cloudy and wet which led to a train journey above the low lying cloud creating the illusion of floating on the cotton candy clouds and the people, my seat buddy on this day sang to me in broken English Celine Dion ‘my heart will go on’ inclusive of actions and line for line renditions of infamous Jack and Rose scenes, we shared chocolate, I met his parents and he told me I was beautiful before departing, leaving me amused but in piece to take cheeky scenic shots from the window.
Rounding one of the final corners the cloud parted like a curtain of a grand stageshow to reveal surging waterfalls and a deep valley floors blanketed in shades of green and browns.

A rainy but gorgeous station along the way

A rainy but gorgeous station along the way

Trudi had found our gem of a Guesthouse and we were using it as our little bit of luxury, hidden up a dark winding track that replicated a rollercoaster thanks to our Rickshaw drivers cornering skills we arrived at Waterfall View Guesthouse as the sun was setting. This homestay is owned by an Australian couple and their daughter, cocooned in a shell of nature overlooking the beautiful waterfall, it seems they bottled up paradise and serve it with all the comforts of home.

Seriously straight from my dreams

Seriously straight from my dreams

Our room felt like someone had plucked my thoughts and had them wrapped in a pretty package, a wall full of books and downstairs a beautiful living room where we could sit and talk to the owners sharing the space like old friends.

Our days here had pretty miserable weather and the cloud literally entered the front door filling our hilltop heaven with plumes of fluffy mist.

Monkeys hiding in the cloud shrouded trees

Monkeys hiding in the cloud shrouded trees

But on the occasion such as the mornings where we were afforded the views across the valley to the waterfall it was simply stunning.

Across to the waterfall from the deck

Across to the waterfall from the deck

It was in Ella I had some of the best Sri Lankan food anywhere on the island we opted away from the recommended places and instead went for a little restaurant of no more than 5 tables and ordered the local curry, which came in a pretty impressive 7 dishes including dahl’s, eggplant curry, coconut sambols and of course plenty of rice.

I fell into a little slump here if I’m honest and found it so hard to get out of it, my first big struggle with home sickness.
Many people I talk to tell me ‘no. I’ve never been homesick and I don’t miss it’, I think these people are mutants. I miss home every single day for one reason or another, I don’t want to go home but I have my days I want to snuggle up with Lord of the Rings, a duvet and some pizza and pretend it’s raining outside while texting my Mum, it’s sad, but it’s also honest.
Sometimes I feel like when you tell people you miss home they think you don’t appreciate or enjoy travelling, or that they’re doing it better and you’re doing it wrong (yes that has been said to me), I just think how incredibly lucky I am to have a home that I miss.

Despite my slumpiness I pulled myself together to enjoy food (obviously), and dragged my sorry little ass out the hilltop heaven to Lanka’s cooking class, a highly recommended highlight. Lanka is this bubbly multi-talented local with a gorgeous outside cooking class (citronella included), who alongside his family will stuff you to the brim with gorgeous food, although I may struggle to find a banana flower at home!

Our rainbow plate of home cooked food!

Our rainbow plate of home cooked food!

Feeling restored and refreshed after some cooking therapy I went for a decent brew in the Amba Estate Boutique Tea Plantation, driven by lovely ol’ Lanka again, who continued to feed me family recipes and street side mangoes while expertly navigating the winding hillside of inland Sri Lanka.

The drive itself was worth the outing seeing the hanging beehives in the forest we passed through, enough to make Winnie the Pooh himself dribble at the amount of honey cocooned within metre long hives. The clouds even decided to allow me a peak at the beautiful scenery.

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