We were lucky enough to catch-up with a few cool people last week. Ben’s brother, Sean (the one who lives in Sydney), and Sean’s best mate Phil (who lives in Peckham – sooooo not as exciting as Sydney) were chilling out in Kerala for a few weeks and both decided to catch us in Sri Lanka in a random “let’s meet in Asia”moment. Let’s call them sub-group 1. Following so far??
We meet up in the town of Kandy, known as the centre of hill country, which has a very sacred Budddist temple containing the relic of the Buddah’s tooth (we went, it was a lovely temple, didn’t get to see the casket containing the tooth), loads of traffic and urban city feel plus thousands and thousands of flying bats, which stink as bat poo, guano, is, in my opinion, a horrible horrible smell.
Whilst in Kandy, Ben , Zaki and I were also lucky enough to meet and old friend Becca and her lovely fella Toby who happened to be taking a break in Sri Lanka at the same time as us. Let’s call them sub-group 2. I love co-incidences. We meet for a curry, had a good old natter and went our separate ways. Not before I nearly got a snake bite from a random snake that was on the pavement and slithering onto the road just as I walked across. This was the first of a number 0f insect/reptile adventures that I’ve had on this trip. I am toughening up….(not).
The journey that Ben, Zaki and I took to Kandy to meet sub-groups 1 and 2 was a 7.5 hour train journey through amazing hill-side greenery, forests, tea plantations and little villages. Starting at Ella, we travelled 163km via a chinese made train, hanging out in second class and having great sweet Sri Lankan chai. Zaki LOVED this journey and was entertained pretty much the whole way by the fact that he could stand at the window and just look out…..
As an aside, Ella was wonderful. Lovely small town with nice chilled out vibe. Great cocktails at Cafe Chill too and a pizza treat for the boy.
Anyway, back to Kandy and our rendevous with sub-group 1. We travelled up with them to a great great tea estate called Ashburnham. It was a little slice of paradise. Website does not do it justice but let me set the scene….we arrive just before sunset. The manager Max (amazingly cool dude who randomly happens to be from the same town as Ben, Sean and Phil in East Sussex and went to same school as them) hands us a G&T, takes out dinner order and then, with the help of his great team, wines and dines us on a terrace overlooking stunning tea plantations. There is even a waterfall within the estate that you can picnic at. How very English and superb.