Don’t walk down a train track in Sri Lanka in the pitch black, without a torch and without knowing how long it will take. That is our advice to you. And we suggest you take it. Nine Arch Bridge however is well worth the visit.
Ella Rocks eating (Cooking) course
Having passed on the very expensive (50 pounds each) cooking course in Kandy, we took the opportunity to cook some Sri Lankan food in Ella with Lank at Ella Rocks. We are so glad we did! It was only 2000 LKR each (< £10) and we learnt so many things about the ingredients and the preparation of great Sri Lankan food.
We started at about 10 and although the cracking and scraping of a coconut was interesting and the rolling of the roti educational, the main highlight was after 3 hours of our private session had finished and we sat down to eat it all.
The 8 dishes we cooked were all amazing. Our favourites being the pumpkin curry, the segoe desert and the fried aubergine. We were stuffed and we rolled ourselves back down the hill to our guesthouse where we napped until the late afternoon. We definitely didn’t need to eat anything else.
The Nine Arch Bridge
A must do activity for Ella is visiting the Nine Arch Bridge, built by a local Sri Lankan with some initial input from the British, it is really impressive. Nine towering arches span a deep and luscious gorge where hundreds of tourists walk up and down trying to get a photo to enhance their Instagram career. Check out ours.
The bridge is about 30 minutes walk from Ella centre through some lovely woods and past a few coconut and water sellers. Well signposted and easy to get there.
Instagram, what luck!
When we got to the nine arch bridge I proceeded to take hundreds of photos. Jenny graciously sat up on the edge of the bridge, legs dangling whilst I took photos. Photo after photo. Then my SD card was full. And then we heard the train blowing it’s horn.
Frantically I looked for my spare SD card trying to change it in time to get that “money shot”; Jenny sitting on the edge of the bridge as the train flies past. I was not quick enough.
I virtually threw my camera on the ground, whipped out my phone and shot photo after photo. Luckily I captured what I consider to be one of my best and favourite photos. What luck!
Scared for our lives
“Sri Lankans always walk up and down the tracks” – that is what we were told. So when the tuk-tuk driver suggested we need a lift back to Ella, I cockily flitted him away. We would walk back. A different route. Along the tracks.
Well, the sun had just set, people were already leaving and the walk was a yet to be determined distance ahead. We started, the walk here was only 30 minutes, so it will be about the same back, I thought.
After 30 mins it was pitch black, I checked the maps on my phone and we weren’t even a third of the way. We started to panic a bit.
Starting to hear the sound of train horns and worrying whether we will get hit at any moment. We decide to make a run for it. Tiring very quickly and realising that won’t work we try to leave the tracks and break through the scrub, past some nearby houses.
Quickly we could see this wasn’t a road. This was a way to someone’s house. Someone with two very loud and fast dogs. We turned and ran and another dog joined in the chase. Luckily they stopped at their property boundary and we made our way back to the train tracks only to be met by the glaring lights of an oncoming train.
Finally, after about an hour in the darkness we tried another path, the map showed the railway close to the road here and we had our fingers crossed. Within minutes our hearts slowed their racing. We saw a sign for a guesthouse and the path started to widen.
The ordeal is over
We came to the road, a tuk tuk driver saw us coming and tried to charge us 800 for the ride back… finally we battered him down to 400 (~£1.50) and 20 mins later we were back in the town centre looking for food.
We stopped at the first place with food and ordered our first alcoholic drink of the trip. Very strong gin and tonics. They were really needed! A long eventful day, some things to remember and some things to forget.
See you tomorrow.
R & J