Upon arriving in Nuwara Eliya, we immediately felt a significant drop in temperature. This was due to being more inland and surrounded by mountains. We took an unfriendly tuk-tuk driver to our accommodation. He was pushy and impolite. We brushed it off and enjoyed the breathtaking views. We checked in and decided to go on a trip the same day. We were only staying here for one night, and we had to take the train back the next day. Through our hotel, we arranged for a tuk-tuk driver to take us to two tea factories and make a short stop at a waterfall.
The first tea factory was crowded. We had to wait a while until it was our turn, but then we received a group explanation of how tea is made. It seemed like the lady had memorized her script and recited it without much interaction. We could only observe the factory through large windows. Afterward, we were offered tea tasting with a piece of cake, but we politely declined the other factory. It was a long drive up the mountains, but we once again enjoyed the stunning views. Fortunately, this factory was a hit. We received a private tour and a very informative explanation. The guide answered all our questions, and we could get a close look at the process of tea production, from plucking tea leaves to packaging. First and foremost, the tea leaves need to be plucked, which is physically demanding work often done by women. With a bag on their back, they pluck the leaves individually. They are paid per bag/weight they pluck. These women are severely underpaid for their labor. They earn around two to three euros for a whole day of plucking. After plucking, the leaves must dry for several hours and undergo various grinding processes. To produce black tea, the leaves are dried again. Green tea, on the other hand, is immediately ground and boiled. We did have tea tasting here and then continued towards the waterfall. We had another drink there and toasted on Ely’s birthday.
On the way with the tuk-tuk, my eye caught Pizza Hut in the afternoon. The food at our hotel didn’t look so great, so we ordered pizza. Delicious! In the evening, we couldn’t fall asleep right away because there were a lot of insects and moths. After Ely killed about ten moths, they somehow kept coming in. We decided to ask for a new room at half past eleven at night. We didn’t sleep incredibly well, but luckily we had a blissfully warm shower (which is sometimes rare in Sri Lanka).
We were taken to the breakfast area, but it smelled extraordinary. The breakfast wasn’t great, and our stomachs remained empty. We arranged a tuk-tuk to get to the train station quickly. Despite our bad overnight stay, we learned much and enjoyed a day in Nuwara Eliya.
X Inez & Ely