18th – 20th July – mini-break to Nuwara Eliya

11Aug08

We got the train to Nuwara Eliya, which was amazing, if not rather long – 8 hours. We were in the observation class carriage which is at the end of the train and has a full length window at the end of the carriage and bigger windows so you can watch the countryside go past. The train slowly winds up and up into the hill country, passing through amazing countryside where palm trees eventually give way to conifers and you find yourself in hills and valleys quite similar to Scotland. Unfortunately the weather was quite like Scotland too, with a constant veil of low cloud and plenty of rain. Apparently Nuwara Eliya is at the base of the highest mountain in SL, but I couldn’t see it! I was cold for the first time since I’ve been here, which was a real novelty and something I’m afraid to say I enjoyed! It was good to be wearing layers of clothes (I had to buy another layer!) and not to be sweating constantly. I slept under 2 blankets, wearing socks and my fleece and was still cold! It’s amazing to think that there are these extremes on one small island.

The hill country was beautiful, with the tea estates cultivating many of the hillsides. It did feel rather colonial – especially the train trip. The train crept up some amazing hillsides and is an amazing feat of engineering, but I kept thinking about the local people who would have been the ones doing the back breaking work to build the trains, so the colonialists could sit in first class and drink tea. Talking of tea, after we refused to get out of the van at Horton Plains (where there is a walk and amazing views at World’s End, but the weather was so bad there was no way we were going to see a thing) we went for a tour around a tea factory – little did I know so much work goes into making my tea bag!

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