Today we had the challenge of finding a normal breakfast to eat. Our hotel didn’t include breakfast so we decided to find a place in town to eat. We were recommended to go to the place we had dinner and when they showed us what they served for breakfast it looked identical to our dinner so we decided to look elsewhere (seriously, who eats curry for breakfast?). We went to many of the cute British looking hotels including the most fancy of them all, the Grand Indian hotel, all of their breakfasts were a bit pricey for our budget so we went to a more local restaurant. It was terrible, I’m just going to leave it like that. Just lesson learned don’t order pasta in Sri Lanka!
The city had a horse racing event that morning so we walked to the racing grounds to see if we can go in. It was completely free and you can even go as close as you want to the race. Unfortunately we needed to take a train to the town of Ella so we only had time to watch one race. The races were attracting a more affluent crowd of people so it was interesting to see this aspect of Sri Lanka.
Manoj drove us to the train station while he drove separately to Ella. Basically this train ride is a tourist attraction because of the breathtaking views you see in this 3 hour ride.
There are locals in the train that use it as transport so it can get pretty busy. The moment the train was arriving Manoj jumped into it like spiderman to save 2 seats for us, all the other tourist’s drivers were not as cool as ours so they needed to stand for 3 hours!
We passed through tea plantations, secluded villages, wooden bridges that are about to collapse and other little towns. It was highly enjoyable!
When we arrived at Ella, Manoj was waiting for us to drive us to our hotel. The town of Ella has a really interesting story. About 5 years ago, nobody knew about this place, one day a train broke close to here so while it was being fixed some tourist went to see the town. They discovered great hiking opportunities, old British bridges and waterfalls in a very relaxed atmosphere. Since then, Ella has been developing their tourism and now it’s just one of those hippy towns full of western food, bars and rotti restaurants.
In the evening we hiked to the Demodara 9 arch bridge. This old bridge was built by the British in the 40s and trains pass though it on a daily basis.
The main local food here is Rotti, a wannabe tortilla filled with anything you like from vegetables, chicken, fruit, chocolate, etc.. A variation of this is called Kotthu which is Rotti, vegetables and some gravy all cut into little pieces and mixed. We tried one of those and a ginger beer (no alcohol unfortunately)
Bonus Pic Of The Day: Sri Lankan currency is the Rupee, many other countries share the name Rupee because they are very original (India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Pakistan, Indonesia, Mauritius, Seychelles, Maldives, and formerly those of Burma and Afghanistan). The Hindi word rūpaya is derived from the Sanskrit word rūpya, which means “wrought silver, a coin of silver”. The cool thing about Sri Lankan banknotes? they are vertical!! very rare.