It became clear this morning why we have no curtains.
The windows open up out into jungle and in the fat distance – farm land. Not a person, or other house in site. Lovely.
But it did mean I was up early with the bright morning sun.
Again able to hear the rush of the waterfall, but this time able to see it from my bed! This is the first time that breakfast has been included in our room rate. And it was amazing!
Buffalo curd (i.e. Yoghurt) with kitul palm syrup (a sweet syrup from a palm tree which is also used to make jaggery – sugar, and toddy – an alcohol). An egg hopper made with an egg laid fresh this morning by the guesthouse’s chickens and some toast with amazing jams – guava (like a thick strong syrup), passion fruit jam and mango and ginger jam. So tasty! And so good. I was so full.
By the time we had finished breakfast it was gone 10am. A bit of faf later and we headed off at 10.45am. We are walking to Ella Rock.
The tallest mountain/hill here at around 1,300m high. The walk starts with around 1.5km down the railway track. Here, the railway is used as a pavement.
More people than trains passing along!
It runs around the large valley – so lovely views all along down into the surrounding farmlands. But not too long after we started walking along, we heard a train coming.
The area at the edge of the track is not very wide, but we found a concrete edge to sit on and wait for the train to pass. It honked loudly as it went by us – and the driver was turned around leaning out and waiving at us. It was our driver from yesterday!!!!
How funny is that.
And how lovely that he remembered us!
We knew he was heading back the same way today, but didn’t know the time – so what a coincidence that we bumped into him!
After that, the rest of the way was pretty normal. As normal as walking down the railway track is. At a large prayer tree (covered in flags) we turned off the railway and headed across the top of a waterfall!!
Here, we had a choice, turn right or straight on. Straight on looked to be a larger path so we chose that one. Turns out we were wrong. Around here there were several locals who offered to guide us.
We politely turned them all down as we wanted to make it by ourselves. But after we took a wrong turn, one of them and running after us and pointed us in the right direction. But then we couldn’t shake him off.
He insisted on taking us all the way up.
So now it was through forest and up rubble-y paths. By the time we made it to the top we had been walking for 1 hour 45mins.
But the views from the rocks at the top were lovely.
We were lucky that it wasn’t cloudy and could see for miles down the valley. After a while admiring the view (and feeling proud of myself for making it with only 1 rest stop!) we started heading down.
Much slippier on all the loose rocks. We also headed a different way down through some tea plantations. By now, our guide finally wanted to leave us.
The lady who owns the guesthouse had told us that if anyone takes us to the top, 500-1,000Rps is plenty. Apparently a daily wage around here is 750Rps. And he had been with us maybe just over an hour. So we gave him 1,000Rps (£5) which we felt was a hell of a lot.
However he then turned very rude and demanded that we gave him 4,000Rps (£20)!!! And said we were offending him by offering so little. So we walked away.
He chased after us for a while, which wasn’t nice. And kind of ruined what had been until then, a really nice walk.
He had left us near the railway.
So we still had a few kilometers of walking to go. Instead of turning off down towards the guesthouse, we carried on another kilometer towards Ella train station.
We had only seen it in the dark last night. In the light, it was really pretty. We walked down into town and had some late lunch.
Sri Lankan rice and curry still impresses – a huge mount of rice with around 6 other small dishes of – curry sauce, dahl, salad, green leaves, spicy grated coconut, curried potato. Wow. So we shared, along with a coconut roti – just like the roti from Malaysia!
The town is very small, just one street of small shops and restaurants. And one atm. Which had ran out of money. How annoying!!!! We bought 2 avocados and 1 mango from the fruit shop man. 90Rp (43p total). How cheap!! Then started on the 25 minute walk back up towards our guesthouse.
This time a different way to before and ended up with lovely views along Ella gap – the valley gap between the two sets of hills. It was about 4pm by the time we arrived back. Just over 5 hours of walking. Wow. After a couple of hours of rest, we walked back down to town – only 20minutes on the way down and had a bit more of a wander around. I wasn’t too hungry, so just had some lime pancakes for dinner!!! So good. And a tuk tuk back – didn’t want to walk back in the dark. Early bed time!!!