Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka

The train journey from Kandy to Nuwara Eliya was stunning to say the least. We found ourselves fixated on the stunning scenery as we passed, and enjoying both the open windows and hanging out of the open doors as the train sped along. The view changed from lush banana and coconut trees to vast rows of tea as far as the eye could see. It took over 4 hours to do the 72km, but we wished it took longer!

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The station Nanu Oya is about 10 minutes from Nuwara Eliya town and our hotel was located on the top of a hill on the far side of the village. The tuktuk took 25 minutes and cost Rs800, and as we arrived the rain started. After finding out that we were in the middle of nowhere we jumped on a bus and went into town for dinner and an explore.

The first thing we noticed was that the temperature had dropped considerably and the air was thick with mist and rain. The town is very small, but quite quaint (if you ignore the touts and bus horns!). We had some dinner before heading back to the hotel to indulge in some WiFi in the room.

The hotel was quite an interesting place to say the least. Dinner was not served until 8:30pm, which seemed odd to us, but all became clear as we walked up the driveway. Even with the sun long gone and darkness covering the hills, the hotel stood out like a beacon with green floodlights, strobe lights, and faux-rain lights. Once we were inside we peeked in at the restaurant…which had been turned into a disco with pumping music (mainly of 80s ilk) and disco lighting. Interesting to say the least!

The next day we availed ourselves to a huge local breakfast before heading to a tea plantation. We chose Pedro’s based on reviews that we had read. It was Rs200 for a great factory tour, cup of tea, and walk around the tea plantation. It was interesting seeing how tea is made, and the different procedures between black tea and green tea.

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After a couple of hours we jumped back in the tuktuk (we had paid Rs1000 to take us to the plantation, wait for a few hours, and then drop us back into town). After some walking we ended up at the lake with a picnic lunch and sat down to eat while watching a military parade. …which is when the heavens opened and a huge thunderstorm ensued. The army guys all scattered for cover, and we cowered under a tree and an umbrella until it passed. But it didn’t. About 30 minutes later it eased enough for us to scamper back to town, but as we got to a coffee shop it started again. Fortunately the coffee shop was located in the gardens, so we were able to sip away for the next few hours until it stopped. An afternoon of wandering and sifting then ensued.

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We only had 2 nights in Nuwara Eliya which was just right. Any more and we would have run out of things to do. Next up: Mount Lavinia near Colombo for some atypical beach living.

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