Our room looked perfect. It was a small, new accommodation with only four rooms, so everything looked brand new. The terrace and the view of the mountains were fantastic. We were warmly welcomed and offered a delicious tea with cookies on the rooftop terrace, where the kitchen was also located. We rested for a while and had the most delicious rice & curry. Okay, we’ve said this multiple times before, but this time it was truly the case (and we never had anything as delicious afterward). Lots of fresh vegetables, fresh coconut milk, and the tastiest papadum. To top it off, the boss even arranged two pints of beer for us.
We slept like a baby in the wonderfully soft but, above all, clean bed. In the morning, we enjoyed a cup of tea on our terrace with the sun on our faces. We were served a delightful breakfast of Western and Sri Lankan dishes. I particularly enjoyed the Roti with Coconut Sambol, although the homemade pancakes were also fantastic. Our stomachs were well-filled for our hike to Ella Rock. For the first part of the hike, we walked along the train tracks and had a serious climb ahead of us. Fortunately, several viewpoints along the way allowed us to take a break. The hiking trail was occasionally unclear, so we were advised to use the app ‘maps.me’ to avoid getting lost. After about an hour of walking and climbing, we reached the top. The view was spectacular. We tried to get as close to the valley as possible, but we were not alone. We drank a King Coconut and enjoyed the magnificent view. Once we had regained our composure, we walked to another viewpoint, which was also incredibly beautiful.
After an hour, we decided it was time to head back down. We had to be careful not to slip. Two minutes later, Ely fell and landed on his bottom 😀 He had a bit of mud on his hands and a few more cracks on his phone, but other than that, he was fine. It was pretty challenging to hike back down. It had rained heavily the day before, so everything was still very wet and slippery. When we returned to our room, we freshened up, put on our slippers again, and walked to the center via the train tracks. It was a delightful walk. We walked over bridges, through valleys, and past the houses and gardens of locals. Along the way, we saw many stray dogs, cows, monkeys, and occasionally a weasel (or so we think). Walking on the tracks to the center was something we had never seen before. All the locals use this route as well.
Only six trains pass each day, and the train moves very slowly, so there is plenty of time to find a spot next to the tracks. In the center, we both enjoyed a refreshing drink at Café Chill. We liked this place and went there a few more times in the following days. You can walk along the tracks towards the Nine Arches Bridge from Ella station. This bridge is unique because it was built in 1921 with bricks and cement rather than steel. Upon arrival, we were mainly overwhelmed by the number of tourists, which wasn’t really our thing. The next train wouldn’t pass by for another hour and a half (to take a nice photo). We didn’t feel like waiting, so we decided to walk back. In the evening, we were both completely exhausted. My Fitbit showed 28,000 steps, so we had walked enough!
It promised to be a hot day, so we decided to visit the Ravana Waterfall. This 25-meter-high waterfall is said to be particularly impressive during the rainy season. We took the bus from the center. We were treated to beautiful views, and exciting hairpin bends along the way. Fortunately, it was only about nine kilometers outside the center. Taking the bus is always an adventure! It was said that it could be crowded on weekends, with many locals coming here to bathe. We were lucky! Some people were around the waterfall when we arrived, but no one was in the water. We decided to take the lead and took a refreshing swim. Soon, more people followed our example. You could climb two more levels up along the rocks to reach two separate pools where you could swim in a more secluded area. But after the first dive, we were satisfied.
We spent the rest of the day calmly. We worked on the blog, and around 5 PM, we were expected for a Sri Lankan cooking class at our hotel. We received an introduction to Sri Lankan cuisine. Ragu & Lakshan explained the typical curries with rice, spices, and papadums, and we learned how to make fresh coconut milk ourselves. It was a fantastic experience that we would definitely take home with us.
Our feet had received the necessary rest, and the next day we prepared ourselves for Little Adam’s Peak. The name refers to its larger sibling, Adam’s Peak because the shape of the mountain is similar. It was scorching, but we enjoyed the beautiful views and walking amidst the tea fields. At the top, we were rewarded with a stunning view, and we could also see Ella Rock. We found Ella Rock more enjoyable because the hike was slightly more challenging, and the views were even more spectacular.
We spent our last day in Ella very calmly. We slept in a bit, again enjoyed Ragu’s delicious breakfast, and headed to the town center. We struck up a conversation with a German backpacker at Chill Café and had a pleasant afternoon together. This time, we took a tuk-tuk back because we had dropped off our dirty laundry at a laundry service two days prior. It wasn’t cheap but very authentic, and our laundry smelled super fresh! After our cooking class, we treated the guys to some Belgian cuisine. We did our best to make fresh French fries, which were well-received. We were also quite satisfied with the outcome.
After our last delightful breakfast, it was time to say goodbye. We had initially planned to stay for three nights but stayed for five. We enjoyed plenty of rest and walks and indulged in Sri Lankan food. As the icing on the cake, we greatly appreciated the hospitality of Ragu and Lakshan. Ragu even made fresh Wade for our train journey, and as a souvenir, they gave us a beautiful spoon made from a coconut shell to serve our curries at home. It was fantastic to witness their warm hospitality. We hope to see these two guys again someday.
Nobody was at the ticket counter at the train station to sell tickets. We both experienced some stress, wondering if we would be allowed on the train without having purchased tickets in advance. Five minutes before the train arrived, someone finally opened the ticket counter. That man clearly didn’t feel like working, but we were relieved to have our tickets in hand.
X Inez & Ely