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I'm an Aussie who likes wandering all over the world but keeps coming back home to paradise and my family. If you are reading this on one of my travel blogs, I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I enjoyed creating them. If you are reading the Diabetes and weight loss blog - I hope it helps in your battle with the beast. Cheers, Alan

Sunday, August 09, 2015

Sri Lanka: Colombo To Ella by Train



Travel Date 3rd March 2015.
Click on any picture to see a larger version.   


After a pleasant breakfast in the WTC restaurant I checked out of City Beds and strolled to the station. Platform 3 was nearest to the street. I'm not sure what happened to platforms 1 and 2. I was half an hour early and enjoyed relaxing on one on the few seats on the platform, watching the trains arrive and depart with the local commuters.



I was looking forward to the trip because of good reviews on the web. I was not disappointed with the scenic ride but the quality of the carriage and seating left a bit to be desired.


I had booked an air-conditioned 1st class seat in the Observation Car. The carriage and seats had seen far better days long ago. This and open windows was the air-conditioning:
 

I did not really mind as the fare was cheap (about 1000 rupees) and the temperature cooled as we climbed into the hills. The open windows were also better for camera shots. This was a passing commuter train near Colombo:


We passed several large towns in the first couple of hours after departing Colombo.

 

Gradually the size of the towns diminished and became frequent small villages. Occasionally the village was a collection of shanties beside the tracks. 

 
I'll let the pictures describe the rest of the journey to Ella as we slowly wound our way into the hills, with pastures giving way to rugged mountains, then becoming hilly tea plantations, then more mountains and valleys until the next group of plantations and villages appeared. 
  


The observation car was an excellent choice for viewing and photographing the passing scene. 



The only sour note for the day was the arrival of a noisy party of German tourists a few hours into the journey. They were very forceful and loud about sitting specifically in their reserved seats when others were free and enjoyed loud discussions among themselves for the time they were on board. Thankfully they alighted only a few stops further on. 


I'm not sure Sri Lanka's mothers would be happy with their school boards; all of the groups of students I saw, both girls and boys, were wearing white. I can just imagine the laundry loads.


More future first class cricketers.


After a very pleasant trip I arrived at Ella two hours late in the dark. I was very pleased to see my driver, Nirmul, waiting for me at the station to take me to the hotel arranged by the tour salesman back in Colombo. Until that moment I was not sure the driver or the hotel would actually appear.

I rarely saw a fat Sri Lankan. One of the reasons has to be their love of slopes, hills, and stairs coupled with a reluctance to install elevators in rural hotels. I had to climb the equivalent of two flights to the Rawana Hotel reception, then another two to my room in the section at the top of this picture.

 
 
It was a pleasant room but I moved downstairs the following morning to save that climb. 
 
Ella was a pleasant small village. Backpackers like it as a central location to hike to local peaks. I enjoyed it as a relaxing village to chat to people, wander the streets and kerbside markets and drink a beer or a coffee while watching the locals in their daily activities. 

 
 

I had seen “rice and curry” signs outside many restaurants since arriving in Sri Lanka but, as a diabetic on a low-carb diet had avoided ordering it. I decided to give it a try on my final night in the Rawana Hotel. What a delicious surprise; this is the serve for one person. The curry is in the small dish on the right, the rice is in the larger bowl on the left and all the other dishes are various small portions of delicacies to selectively add to the curry and rice. I used minimal rice but enjoyed “rice and curry” for my main meals in Sri Lanka from that day on.


Cheers, Alan