Welcome to our travel blog. We plan to make weekly posts to keep our family and friends updated on our movements. Perhaps we may even inspire some of you to take the plunge and venture out into the wild world. We’ll keep the posts fairly short and sweet, and let the photos do the talking. I (Ben) will do most of the writing while Anna will take care of the pictures. Don’t worry though, she’ll be checking the posts to make sure I don’t get carried away.
Today marks an important milestone for us… the successful completion of our first week! After months of planning and talking about this trip, it feels a bit sureal to be at the start of this journey with the world ahead of us. I’m writing this first post from a hammock on Tangalle beach, so please don’t be too critical of my grammar.
Let me introduce Greta… Queen of the selfie and intrepid traveller.
Greta and Anna used to work and live together in Sydney. When Greta floated the idea of 2 weeks in Sri Lanka we jumped on it. What a perfect way to start our trip, venturing up into the hill country and then down to the coast. It also allowed us to have the first 2 weeks planned for us. Phew… Only 50 weeks for us to worry about.We flew into Colombo which is the capital city and stayed in a nice apartment with a pool. Colombo is a typical port town and we didn’t really want to see much, so we recovered from our jetlag with a day by the pool. Arriving at our accommodation at 3am was a bit of a killer.
Our next stop was Kandy which is a city up in the start of the mountains. We went as the locals do and caught the train sitting in 2nd class. Can’t beat AU$2.40 for 3 hours of travel! On the way out of Colombo we passed about half an hour worth of slum housing. The guilt started to set in about bargaining so hard with the tuk tuk driver the day before… $1 to us means much more to them. An important lesson is learned on the train, Greta will talk to anyone. You’d look across and she’d have a lady showing her photos of her kids or she’d be sharing her food with an old man.
Kandy is a mountain city that can gridlock any time of the day. The city is very chaotic however it’s not that large. Poor infrastructure seems to be the culprate. Greta found us a very peaceful home stay up on the mountain, which was great. The family were lovely and cooked fantastic food. They hooked us up with their tuk tuk driver who was an instant hit. He sang to us, taught us key words and even walked us around a Buddhist temple. We broke down on one journey because we ran out of fuel which was hilarious. He scurried off with his water bottle to obtain fuel. I think he had a crush on Greta because he wore a very fancy shirt the day he dropped us to the train station. She even got a kiss!
I’m getting ahead of myself though… in Kandy we also went to have an Ayurvedic massage. A very relaxing massage with oil that smells like it was made of straw which they also rub into your hair and scalp. Then a pot with a tiny hole is suspended above your head and water is dripped on your forehead for 15 mins. Relaxing, but we can still smell the oil 4 days later. I don’t think we’ll be signing up for another one. We went to the botanical gardens and the temple of the tooth which were both impressive.
We decided to continue our run with the trains and boarded another 2nd class carriage to Ella. This train was absolutely packed to the rafters, however with some sneaky boarding techniques by Greta we managed to secure 2 seats to share. It was a very long journey and there was no canteen, however local lunch was available at 25c per samosa… awesome. The train climbed up through the tea fields and provided some spectacular views.
Yesterday we arranged for a private taxi to take us on the 3.5 hour journey to Tangalle as there is no train line. The drive was very scenic and it was nice to see some non-touristy towns. We haven’t done a whole lot since arriving. Relaxing by the beach and going for walks along the water. Sounds tough doesn’t it.
Well that’s it for this week. I’ll report back next week which will round out the remainder of our Sri Lanka stint. Please feel free to provide comments/feedback so I get a feel for what everyone would like to see. Less/more words, photos etc. I aim to please.
Oh I almost forgot about Fail Of The Week. We didn’t really have any fails this week (thank goodness), but Sri Lankans fail at showers. Our current place doesn’t have hot water, but our place in Ella takes the cake. The nice fancy shower on the left looks great but doesn’t work. The dodgy one on the right works but the unit above is the hot water unit. It couldn’t manage much more than a trickle to be warm. All part of the fun.
Cheers & Beers