Rahul wanted the traditional Egg Hoppers for breakfast so we had another mission. Finally e found a tiny local spot that seemed promising. For myself they had rice and curry. Yes i can eat that for breakfast lunch and dinner - in fact it was one of the best breakfasts so far, with a super spicy onion anchovie mixture, yum.
afterwards we walked to the Ramana Cave 2 km outsie of Ella. Lots of steps to climb up to a prehistoric cave. Then we took a tuktuk to the Ramana waterfall.
For lunch we tried the lump rice which is basically rice and curry cooked in bana leaves.
After our afternoon nap (this becoming a habit!) we wanted to book train tickets - just to find out there is a national train strike! No trains for th next days. So we decided to give Ella more days.
we were still so full from breakfast and lunch but then passed by a sign for Black Pork Curry, and Rahul got intrigued so we decided to go to th most touristy place in town (something we would not do otherwise) and share a portion. Well, we ended up ordering a second portion too, it was so good. And two cocktails. We literally pigged out :)
The next day we got told we couldn't stay another night because it was booked already. No problem in our time and age, we quickly found another place online and brought our stuff over. Then we went on a hike to Little Adams peak, followed by the Nine Arch Bridge. Beautiful. Train strike continuing.
So we decided to stay in Ella and take a day trip by bus to Nuwara Eliya the next day. Luckily we came a cross a direct bus that took about 2,5 hours, quite full though.
In Nuwara Eliya we came across a massive food market with the biggest variety of fresh fruit and vegetables - mmmh. Unfortunately no ripe jackfruit, something we had hoped for. We enjoyed a few freshly made and hot wadas and then had lunch with sour fish curry and jackfruit curry (my favorite so far!!)
The bus back was super full, we had to stand most of the time crammed like sardines. Phew.
Small dinner of perfectly ripe avocado and papaya.
We woke up to the stunning view of our porch over the river beneath us. Breakfast was served on the porch, sun came out, so good.
we grabbed a tuk tuk into town and started exploring. First of course the famous temple with the Buddha tooth. The temple at the lake of Kandy is a pilgrimage place, because it is said that they keep a tooth of the Buddha himself here. It was very beautiful and touching to see, many people come here every day, offer flowers and coins and bring their babies for blessings.
Afterwards we strolled a bit through town until we got peckish (i learned an important new word here). Rahul asked around for the best idli and dosa place in town and sure enough found one (later we found out it is THE Indian food place in town, even on the big city map , right along KFC). I got a proper first introduction to Indian food and learned about all the gluten free goodies I could eat (luckily that list was long!!). The idlis and masala dosa were amazing!!
After a little siesta we decided to take a boat ride on the river to watch some birds. We saw a lot of super blue king fishers, monitor lizards and trees full of hanging sleeping bats. Was very nice.
Afterwards we felt like a little drink but sure enough no pub or booz store in sight. But oncenyou have a goal (alcohol in our case) you find a way so we asked a couple of guys along the road. They looked a bit helpless at us. More guys joined to see what the gringos wanted. More helpless faces. Finally the woman of the house came out and told one of the guys to drive us to the next booz shop 3 km away. We negotiated the price and settled at a good arrangement, drove all the way to the store and bought cheap rum and juice. Mission solved.
After a little drink on our porch of thenhome stay we had another yummy curry dinner.
The next day we grabbed an early tuk tuk to the train station to catch thebtrain to Ella. The train journey from Kandy to Ella (and especially from Nuwara Eliya to Ella) is supposed to b one of the most beautiful train rides of thr world.
Sure enough we couldn't get a reserved seat. But we stayed ever hopefull for getting a seat. The 7 hour journey cost us not even 2 Euro!
While waiting for the train we had enough time to kill, so Rahul explained to me the rules of the holy game kricket which was on television at the station. Sure enough I was about to learn more this week than in all the precious years before.
Finally the train came, and we were about to use our elbows and other weapons to catch a seat - if only. Of course our weak souls let everybody else in and we found ourselves standing. Luckily Sri Lankans are some of the most helpful and kindest people you can imagine. An older guy told us that the young fellow next to him would get off at the next station, so that would give us at least one seat. Then a family father who was about to go even further than Ella (which means more than the 7 hours we would spend on this train) even offered me his seat next to his family - a real gent! Of course I refused.
Eventually after a few stations we managed to grab some seats and enjoyed the rest of the ride. People were selling milk tea, wadas (rice and lentil snacks), and other food goodies so it was a rather pleasant ride. The landscape was stunning indeed, and more than one silly tourist risked their lives for a selfie hanging their bodies outside of the door. I wondered how many of them they had to scratch from the train tracks each year.
After 7 hours we fonally arrived in Ella, and walked to our guesthouse uphill.
We got a little Gin and Tonic and a lovely curry at a local place.
We woke up to the most stunning view of our new place - a magical landscape over the surrounding mountains and a waterfall!
The guy from our guest house suggested we do Ella Rock in the morning and Little Adams Peak and Nine Arch Bridge in the afternoon. We decided to take it a bit slower, and just do Ella Rock in the morning. He also said we could not get lost. Ha!
We left early and planned for a breakfast along the way. The only place we came across was a hotel so we had a look and ended up in a posh breakfast lounge. It was going to be the most expensive breakfast of my 6 months travel. Later we asked how much the rooms were - 190 dollars per night! Ridiculous!
We went on with our hike up to Ella Rock(1300 m) - yes you can get lost! About half way we met a local who showed us the way. How nice of him, and he said it was even his birthday! Of course after a while it dawned on us that he was just a local guide making money. We guessed that probably all sightseeing signs in Sri Lanka get immediately taken down from the locals, to make mony out of helpless tourists.
But finally we made it to the top and th view was amazing indeed.
The way down went a bit faster, and then we had a nice lunch of fried rice.
After our siesta we had a daiquiri at a chill out bar and decided to stay another day in Ella to do a bit more. We liked the place and most of all the weather was lush, sunny but not hot and sticky, and most of all almost no mosquitoes.
Dinner was rice and curry once more at a local older lady who runs her 3 table restaurant all by herself. Home made food, yum!!