First, a little bit of history: Between 1948 and 1972, Ceylon was an independent country in the Commonwealth of Nations that shared a monarch with the United Kingdom. In 1948, the British Colony of Ceylon was granted independence as Ceylon. In 1972, the country became a republic within the Commonwealth, and its name was changed to Sri Lanka.
We continued our Sri Lankan grand tour with a visit to the Royal Botanical Gardens on the way the Nuwara Eliya. It is near the Mahaweli River (the longest in Sri Lanka). The ground are absolutely gorgeous, but after visiting the Huntington Gardens in Pasadena nothing will ever come close as good.
These gardens are full of gigantic bats flying all over you. I tried to photograph them but it was hard!
The drive to Nuwara Eliya was stunning; we drove though miles and miles of tea plantations. There is so much green in here! We stopped for the view in one of the fancier hotels around this area.
We stopped at a tea plantation and factory to learn how they make Ceylon black tea. Really interesting tour with a free cup of tea at the end. They show you every part of the process from drying the leaves, fermentation and selecting the quality and size of the tea leaves to make different types.
We learned that green and black tea come from the same plant! The only difference is that black tea gets fermented a lot longer thus the change in color. The white tea comes from a different plant but instead of using the leaves, they only use the stems. After fermentation and drying, the size will determine if the tea is English breakfast, earl grey, etc..
After arriving at the town of Nuwara Eliya, we were pleasantly surprised. The town has still a lot of English influence and the streets are full of life. We had lunch at a place that serves Muslim Sri Lanka food, to us it tasted like Chinese food.
We got to our cute hotel right in the mountains to rest a little before heading out to visit Gregory lake.
The lake was constructed during the period of British Governor Sir William Gregory in 1873. When we walked around the lake we felt in Europe, this place is so clean, well made and beautiful. The weather was a little chilly because we were in the mountains but Sri Lankans are not used to it so they were wearing gloves and beanies… very funny.
There were lightning strikes going on and luckily I was able to capture this beautiful picture.
On the way back we stopped at an original English Pub from around 1880, obviously it has been remodeled but the essence is still there. We got some Lion strong beer and we were ready to go to sleep.
Bonus Pic Of The Day: Sri Lanka has around 18 types of bananas and you can really taste the difference. The best is the red banana which is hard to find and it tastes like candy!