Diary Entry

From Tissamaharama and its giant flying foxes and the adventure of the safari, we now head off into the mountains. The journey takes two and a half hours, but we amuse ourselves with coconuts, waterfalls and monkeys along the way.

Shortly before Ella we really start winding our way up the serpentines. We stop at the Ravana waterfall, which seems to be a big attraction. Tourists, traders and monkeys provide a colorful hustle and bustle in the forest.

I also reserved accommodation for Ella a few days in advance. Again, it is a small guesthouse run by a local family. The people are very friendly and give us ideas for excursions.

Ella is at the top of the list for tourists

In addition, the grandmother of the house cooks for us and the food tastes extremely delicious.

The house has a huge roof terrace from which we can look out into the valley and hear the train whistle.

Ella with a nice view

The small accommodation of a very nice family

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Ella is like the Queenstown of Sri Lanka. Every tourist has to come here. The town is bursting with tourists, bars, cafes, burgers and hostels. And at the end of the day, nobody really knows how this hype started. At least the town is famous for one Instagram picture. Whoever started taking photos of the train on an old bridge in the middle of the tea plantations with their face on it had a huge success.

Tomorrow we will also go to the Nine Arch Bridge and see why this bridge attracts so many visitors. We want to stay here for two nights to take a look at the mountains around Ella before we take the famous train to the city of Kandy.

Ella is like the Queenstown of Sri Lanka

The city is booming with tourists, cafes, bars, souvenir shops and travel organizations

I go for a walk and escape the hustle and bustle. I quickly find myself on a path along the railway tracks. Many houses are located away from the city center, small farms where people live untouched by the masses of tourists.

There are only a few trains a day, so it is relatively safe to walk here. The people who live on the farms also use this path. Some of them come towards me and are surprised to see me.

We will drive up the mountain in two tuk tuks and walk down the other side. We will walk back without any help.

At the Nine Arch Bridge, around a hundred tourists are waiting for a train to cross. There are countless street vendors, tuk tuk drivers and police who are watching the big event or making money from it. The bridge and the train are pretty – but where does the hype come from?

From Instagram. The influencers sit on the parapet of the bridge and take a selfie while a train rushes past.

Sri Lanka’s Instagram spots:

(1) Coconut Hill (Mirissa) βœ…

(2) Nine Arch Bridge (Ella) βœ…

(3) Hanging out of the train

(4) Lion Rock (Sigirya)

Of course the place is beautiful, but it doesn’t justify the crowds of people. The train will come at some point. There are similar bridges with similar trains in the Black Forest. Why aren’t they so famous?

Wasps have built huge nests under the bridge. Locals tell me that the train makes the wasps aggressive and that they attack people who are too close to the nests. The influencers didn’t write anything about this.

The same goes for drones. Apparently I’m not the only one who comes up with the idea of ​​flying a drone here. The electronic flying devices also seem to scare away the wasps, which then take revenge on the people who take selfies on the bridge. In my head, this is very funny, but I avoid it.

As soon as I fly back with the drone, a police officer wants to see my drone license from the Sri Lankan Air Traffic Control Authority. Oh oh…

In the afternoon we visit the Kinnean tea factory. Some factories offer tours, but sometimes at very inflated prices. The factories in Ella charge 20 USD per person and another 10 USD more if we want to walk through the fields.

Kinnean’s small factory doesn’t charge that much yet. Maybe they’ll follow suit in the future. I’m sure they will. We’re only paying $10 for now.

The news says that Iran has just made a deal with Sri Lanka and is exchanging oil for tea

We learn that green tea and black tea are the same plant and how different types of black tea are created, namely through the color and size of the pieces.

Both are sorted by hand or by machine. It is important to the people there that we see that there is no child labor.

We can see all the steps involved. I would never have thought that you could make so many different types of black tea from the same plant, just by varying the development steps a little. And that doesn’t include flavoring.

Of course we can also do a sample and try out the different varieties. Of course we can also buy tea.

Tomorrow we will continue our journey by train through the tea plantations.

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