The next stop on the way was Sigiriya: lakes, a lot of nature and those two boulders that emerge out of nothing. The village, that consists out of one cozy street, tops it off. We felt right at home here. We enjoyed some bike rides here and the climb to Pidurangala Rock. According to the local people it would take 2 hours to go up, but apparently it was possible in just half an hour. This meant that we were just a bit too early on the top for sunset, so we stayed up there to enjoy the few until the sun started its final descent of the day. When we also discovered good coffee here, we didn't want to leave at all.
From here we made our way to Kandy, the so called cultural capital of Sri Lanka. Was it because we choose the wrong day to visit or something else? No idea. Anyway, we found it way too busy in Kandy. So we just had a look at the highlights and said goodbye after one night. Then it was time to discover the Hill Country. It was a lot cooler over there, especially for sleeping. Here you can see the mountain sides covered with tea plantations.
First stop: Nuwara Eliya. The town itself is really worth mentioning but the surroundings are. We stretched our legs here to head out to the waterfall of Lovers Leap. Both the waterfall and the walk are worth the effort. We will especially remember this walk because we almost got lost between the tea plantations and we forgot to put sunscreen on. Even days later it made us remember the walk. Nuwara Eliya is also known as a base to discover the Horton Plains and World's End. We set out in the early hours (5h30) of the days towards the park. Reason for this early start: if you want to have a clear view, you can best arrive before 9h and we still had a way to go to the park. Together with an Austrian couple and two Swiss sisters we started the 9km long hike. The view at World's End is wonderful. Only drawback is that there are a lot of people, so you have to try and filter out the chatty Chinese. During the rest of the walk we show some beautiful nature and a nice waterfall. After this we decided to leave Nuwara Eliya and hop on the train to Haputale. Unfortunately this is the same route as many take to visit Ella and it is known as one of the most beautiful train rides of Sri Lanka. Result: an overcrowded train. Luckily it was only for 1,5 hour and we are in the mean time used to crowded means of transport.
And again the village isn't the most pretty one, but the surroundings make up for this: sloping mountains and hills covered with tea plantations. Friends at home recommended us White Monkey – Dia's rest, so without hesitation we sent our tuktuk driver there and hoped we could stay there overnight. Luck was on our side as one of the cottages was still available for 2 nights. We spend a leisurely day there, went up to Lipton's Seat to have a look at the place where Sir Thomas J. Lipton had his tea parties, we watched sunset from Eagle Rock and did a day trip to Ella. What charmed us the most though, during our eventually 5 nights stay at Haputale, was Dia's Rest itself. From our cottage we had a fantastic panoramic view and the family is one in a million. A warm welcome, good cares and delicious food. With tears in our eyes we said goodbye.
It was time for some new horizons and for us to work our way up to Adam's Peak. The overcrowded train ride from last time was compensated by an almost empty wagon this time. The views on the way were breathtaking.
Finally arrived at Dalhousie we had to prepare ourselves mentally for the climb. Many others went before us so there was nothing left to do then to follow in their footsteps. Pretty much everybody starts the climb between 1h30 and 2h30 in the night to watch to sunrise on the top. For various reasons (too crowded, not in the mood for waking up that early and just because we like to be rebellious from time to time) we chose to start at 5 in the morning. With twinkling stars above us and dressed warmly we started our trip up a 7 km long staircase to almost 2300m. About 2,5 hours later we reached the top. As everybody started their descent after the sunrise, we could enjoy the serenity. What goes up most come down. The way up may have been an ordeal for our legs, the way down was certainly as heavy. Tired but satisfied we reached our guesthouse. Yet another “check” on the list.
One more week in Sri Lanka and we have to travel on. At least that is the planning...