I was all charged up after my 10 hours of sleep, ready to finally explore the country that was still a foreign land for me. I got to meet the couple from Czech Republic with whom I was to travel this day. They were friendly and respectful which made it easier for me tag along with them. The only tiny problem was the guy did not understand much of English.
The ‘little England’ of Sri Lanka – Nuwara Eliya was a treat to the eyes. Golf course right in the middle of the town, pretty English houses atop the hills, horses roaming about the place, water droplets on my window pane, tiny flowers spread across the roadside, natural lawns, all of it made the place seem so dreamy like it was picked right out of an artists’ imagination.
We were headed for Ella and on the way we took a halt at Sita temple. The temple is located at an amazingly beautiful location with a river flowing right behind the temple. It’s believed that Sita Devi was held captive here. There are some huge footprints on the rock where the river flows that the Couchsurfer said are of King Ravana. However, I read later that the footprints are believed to be of Lord Hanuman and shows how he could transform into any size.
Weather and Geography wise Ella is a lot like the Indian state Kerala. The constant drizzling, tea plantations, beautiful valleys, and the lush green patch everywhere reminded me of my Kerala trip a couple of years back with friends.
We were headed for the little Adam’s peak and I was very glad about it. A Co-passenger on the flight had told me that it’s not the season for Adam’s peak and therefore I’ll have to strike it off my list. I did not entirely get how can you have a ‘season’ for a religious thing but I had to trust the words of someone who belonged to the place. I was disappointed so the little Adam’s peak brought me some relief. After about a 30 min hike we reached the top from where we could get a view of what I don’t even remember now. But I do remember the journey and that makes me realize yet again how important the journeys truly are. I still remember being so delighted each time the fellow traveler said “Hello” to us and shared a smile.
Our next destination was “Ravana Falls“. This is again one of the places where Sita Devi was help captive and it’s said she bathed in the pool formed by this waterfall. The waterfall is magnificent and a good thing about it is you can decide to enjoy its beauty standing at a distance on the bridge or you can take a dip under the falls. I decided to go midway. I was standing on a stone close to the waterfalls but decided to skip taking a dip.
The couchsurfer and his friend had to leave for their place Sigiriya after this. We went to the guest house where the Czech couple were going to stay. The couchsurfer gave me two choices either I could take a room in the same guest house which I had been suggesting on doing since morning or I could go to Sigiriya with them in their car and they could show me around Sigiriya the next day. The latter seemed like a very tempting offer as that was my route plan in the beginning and I had seen some pictures of Sigiriya which were really pretty. I went on to take a room in the same guest house coz for some reason I was not really comfortable around the couchsurfer and esp. his friend. I did not want to visit a nice place with an annoying company that would have spoiled it for me anyway. So I chose to stay back in the same guest house.
When the couchsurfer and his friend left, we took a break and then the three of us headed to explore the place a little bit. We still had natural light and I did not see the point of sitting in our rooms. The couple was enthusiastic enough and were always up to execute any plans. We took out the map and figured places that were close by. Two being -the Nine arch bridge and Ella Rock. Former was closer so we went for it.
We crossed a pretty village on the way and then met a local guide who tagged along without asking. He was really good at his job though. Very cheerful he knew a little bit of Czech and a little bit of Hindi too. He threw some Bollywood names at me as well.
We couldn’t have found our way to the bridge by ourselves anyway I guess. There are no markings, no signs. The descend was as much as little Adam’s peak. The bridge is beautiful. We clicked some pictures and left. While leaving I had some itching on my right foot, I noticed there was a worm there but when I tried to take it off I realized it was a leech. I panicked a little and took it off. The guide was all smiles still and when I asked him if it’s dangerous. He said with his glorious smile ‘Yeah, some leeches are poisonous’. I tried asking what should I do to save myself now but failed miserably so I just let it be once I realized answering my question was not part of his tourist dictionary.
We went back to our rooms after taking dinner at Chill café. We had all our meals there while we were in Ella. It’s a nice place but I did not see the point of eating Pizza when I was in Sri Lanka. Plus they have very few (I guess three or four) vegetarian items on the menu.
The couple was too tired to have a chat session then (That’s how I like my perfect days to end). I thought of taking a stroll near our guest house but the place was eerily dark and I had hardly taken a few steps when I heard couple of street dogs barking. I decided to cancel my plans and sit in the verandah of my guest house reading a book. The dog that I couldn’t even see started barking again and so I was sent back to my room eventually. I spent rest of the evening tucked into bed chatting with friends but I somehow did not enjoy it. I realized I wasn’t absorbing the place the way I should. I decided to then stop using WhatsApp altogether except to update my family and close friends regarding my whereabouts.
I dug into the blankets and slept in peace. It was pretty cold the kind of weather I love. The intention was to get up early and go for a jog but I wanted to sleep without an alarm so I did!