The Sri Lankan Hill Country is spectacular, with huge mountains, valleys and ridges running through the centre of the Sri Lankan island. Haputale is a small village/town nestled on the top of one of these ridges. It is generally used as a gateway to Lipton’s seat, but Haputale itself really is worth a visit.
Not more trains
Now just about experts on the use of trains, we looked up the timetables on the Sri Lankan railway site and decided that the 9.30 train was too early, but that the 10:55 train would be perfect. Allowing us time in the morning to get to the station (about 30/40 mins), buy tickets and some snacks and then to be poised to launch ourselves onto the train.
We should have known it was too good to be true, to have such a perfectly timed train. So when the ticket office told me that the 10:55 was reserved seats only we were a little disappointed, but hardly surprised. We were only then able to get the next train two hours later. The real stinger was that we were at the station at about 9.45, so we could have caught the early train if we had got moving quicker in the morning.
Don’t try this at home
Not too disheartened we enjoyed some snacks from the shops (sugar bun, bread and rice cakes). We then sat down, wrote some of the blog and waited for our train. Once it arrived, it was very busy again. But we managed to push our way into the main carriage and find a place behind some chairs to deposit our bags. Luckily this was only a 1.5 hour journey this time. So standing up in the carriage wasn’t too bad.
Search anywhere online about “Ella railway” and you will find photos of people leaning as far out of a train as possible whilst the train winds up steep sided valleys or over tall bridges spanning deep ravines. This, I believe, is the shot one of our fellow passengers was looking for. As we came towards a large iron bridge, he leant out of the doorway with his friend in the next doorway looking down the train ready to catch the shot. Unfortunately, they didn’t see the large sign careering toward them.
The train dramatically came to a stop as guards came running through the train. He had fallen off, quite dramatically, as the train had started crossing a really tall bridge, narrowly avoiding death. He was shaken, as was the rest of the train, and we were then a lot more careful with our future selfie snapping.
Eventually, we pulled out of a tunnel high up in the hills and the clouds and fog descended, so much so that we could hardly see the signs around the train. As I mentioned above, Haputale is a very small town/village located on the top of a mountain ridge, with steep hills falling down each side of the train station. In the fog though, we couldn’t see any of this!
Already having travelled quite enough for a day, we made the short 300 metre walk to our hotel, the “Grand View Guest House”. What a hotel this place is. The people were so lovely, they brought us tea on arrival which we enjoyed on the balcony which overlooked the tea plantations. This is the same place where we were able to enjoy breakfast. And most of all the WiFi was incredible! Faster than the broadband we had in London, until we saturated the connection that is…
That’s it really
We spent the rest of the afternoon enjoying the brilliant view. Then walked into town to eat. We found a place called ‘Spice Hotel and Bake House’ where we had an excellent curry to share. The whole meal including drinks only cost 500 LKR (< 2.50 GBP) and was absolutely delicious (and not just because of the price!).
Today’s easy day should prepare us for the long slog tomorrow.
See you tomorrow.
New Feature: Spending reports, see below.
Day 8 (23/03/2019): spending report
|Total Spent today
|Total Spent in Sri Lanka