We have woken up early morning (6 am to be precise) to go trekking and discover Ella’s mini Adam’s Peak. Adam’s Peak is a very famous mountain in this area but it is not the season to trek up there, so I settle for the mini peak. Patrick has joined me and Naufer will be our guide.
The weather is cool, the company great and the views spectacular. We have packed a picnic breakfast and we aim to reach the top in about an hour. It isn’t a hard climb and we continue our conversation from the night before, stop to watch the tea pluckers at work and marvel at the gorgeous scenery! Patrick will continue on his journey around Sri Lanka and it is unlikely our paths will cross again as his travel plans are a little different to ours.
On the way back, Naufer takes me to a Ayurvedic massage place. He negotiates a ‘local price’, for me and for the first time in my life, I enjoy a ‘local’ massage. They pour oil on my head and body and I enjoy a full body massage (not dissimilar to the pressure point massages of South East Asia) before moving on to the steam bath capsule. You lie flat inside this contraption and the lid is shut after you with just your head protruding. The heat is turned up and I can feel myself sweating profusely and dripping out my toxins. Fifteen minutes of this and I am led to the sauna. The floor of this little chamber has little hollows filled with local herbs and spices. When the heat is turned on here, the air fills with the aroma of these medicinal herbs! A great experience and another first time experience for me. I come away feeling refreshed, the aches of the climb replaced with a body that feels invigorated. (sorry – no pics!)
It is time for us to check out from the
Ella guest house and make our way to the town of Uda Walawe where we plan on going on an elephant safari. On the way we visit the Dova temple, an ancient cave temple.The temple is 2000 years old and murals painted on wet plaster adorn the cave temple walls. It is very much a temple that is used today so I try to not disturb the devotees as I snap my pictures.
The drive down to Uda Walawe is quite spectacular. We take a break at the beautiful cascading Ravana Falls and say good bye to the hill country. We are headed to the south east, a drier, hotter part of Sri Lanka.I realise we are approaching the dry zone when I excitedly spot the first of many rain water tanks, and of course we stop so I can chat to the residents. I have never seen a tank that is almost the same size as the house! The owner tells me the tank only provides water for half the year. During the dry season they fetch water on the bikes from about a km away. Not everyone gets to turn on a tap and take for granted there will access to clean water, a basic human right! The tank water is just used for consumption and the adjacent lake used for bathing and washing clothes.We arrive at Uda Walawe in the late afternoon and after a lovely meal of rice and curry we prepare to go on an elephant safari. I can’t wait!
“If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay at home.” – James Michener