To resume my photo exhibition of all that is beautiful in Sri Lanka, I bring you to my favorite place on the entire island, Ella. Ella is a small town in the hill country, known for it’s idyllic waterfalls, cascading cliffs, peaceful lifestyle, wildlife, and flowers. I had died and gone to heaven.
First, Sean put together an amazing video that he took on his pocket camera. He’s got a small camera that is about the size of a credit card. The quality isn’t the most amazing, but he is able to take video everywhere we go. I hope you enjoy the video as much as I do : )
To continue, let us begin the documentary on my dream village, Ella…
As the train rolls into Ella the tea plantations become more sparse as the jungle becomes wilder and the hills grow hillier.
The Buddha temple in front of the train station. I love how colorful this religion is!
After riding the rails all afternoon, Sean and I went on a hike to stretch our legs. Unfortunately, everywhere in the hill country clouds up around 3pm. Even though our views were cut short, we had fun playing in the fog!
Take note of this photograph for the moment. In the pictures below, we returned to this waterfall the next day. Instead of a wall of swirling mist, you will be pleasantly surprised!
The bed and breakfast we stayed at in Ella was called “Waterfalls Homestay”. It was run by an Australian couple that got tired of their 9-5’s back in Australia, so they moved to Sri Lanka and opened up the most dreamy B&B on the face of the earth.
We spent quite a bit of time with the other people at the B&B, along with the owners Marty and Karen. They had the most beautiful property and open-air patio imaginable. They cooked dinner and breakfast for you, run by their personal Sri Lankan chef Kalam.
Their place only has three rooms, as it is more of a homestay than a B&B. Sean is standing at the door of our room. I wish I had gotten a photo of the inside; it was just as beautiful as the exterior!
In the morning, we awoke to breakfast on the patio across from the waterfall. Monkeys were doing backflips through the trees as I sipped coffee out of a french press. (Did I mention it was $50 a night?)
The first morning of our stay, we had “hoppers” for breakfast. Hoppers are a Sri Lankan favorite, which I had for breakfast and lunch a few times, but not enough! I really loved them; you have a special skillet for them, which is a metal bowl that is held over the stove by a handle. Inside the bowl you pour a coconut-crepe-thing, swirling it around to create your outside. then you lightly fry an egg in the center. Heavenly!
We set back on the hiking trail in the morning, following the railroad tracks we took into Ella the day before.
Due to the hills and heavy rains, there is a lot of terrace farming in Sri Lanka.
Our first hike was to the top of Ella Rock, which you can see as the highest peak in this picture. It was the same hike we naively set out on in the fog the day before. We are so glad we attempted a round two!
At the top of Ella Rock. (Dad, aren’t you proud of my sun protection? 😉 )
At the top of Ella Rock, where we ran into two Canadian female teachers from the American International School in Guangzhou, China. We met up with them later in the village for a few drinks and quality educator conversation!
Can you spy where I am?
Here is the same photo as the above picture that was clouded out by mist. What a difference a clear day makes!
Swimming in the waterfall was a real treat after we hiked all the way up to the top of Ella Rock.
Monkeys were spying on us!
We found two snakes mating on our hike! It was the wildest thing; they would rapidly intertwine with one another in a frantic dance.
They were incredibly large snakes – we made sure to keep our distance!
After making it to the top of Ella Rock, we treated ourselves to a piña colada and cribbage over lunch. (Don’t worry, I’m pretty sure I won the game…)
I would like to close this post with one of my favorite things about Sri Lanka: the curry! If you order “curry”, what you get is a large plate of rice with all of the above side bowls. Starting at the very top we have a coconut sambol (the orange mix). In the lower right-hand corner is a dal (lentil) stew. The rest, I honestly have no idea. All I know is that they are the most delectable curried vegetables I have ever tasted.
Next time I will finish our trip in Ella, our tuk tuk adventure, and our mysterious journey to the ends of the earth! (Or should I say… “World’s End”…)
I hope the sun shines in your corner of the world this afternoon. Love and miss you all!