Thursday, April 3

Sri Lanka, Day Twelve: The Tea

As we were not planning to stay for more than one night anywhere on this mini tour, early starts were vital to get the most out of the limited time we had. This morning we mopped up the remainder of Kandy, managing to visit both the Sri Dalada Maligawa (The Temple of the Tooth) and Kandy's Botanical Gardens (photos) before lunchtime. Both were pretty interesting and I would say unmissable in Kandy - get the timing right and you might get to see the Bhudda's Tooth enclosure like we did.

Kandy (photos) itself is a very pretty city, nestled in a valley leaving it a very magical and mysterious vibe - almost like it's a secret. I regret not being able to spend more time there actually, but alas we had to leave (oh, but not before visiting a "Gem Museum" - we managed to get away relatively unscathed).

Interestingly when previously asking around about Nuwara Eliya I seemed to get the exact same response from all Sri Lankans: That it's a little England, it's a bit cold, but the views you see on the drive there are pretty amazing. Starting from the last point, the views were pretty stunning, with vast tea fields, rolling mountains and hills and some of the most amazing vistas I've seen anywhere.

It got so much that there came a point where I gave up taking pictures because 1) there was always another similar or better view coming along, 2) pictures really didn't do much justice to what you could see and 3) I wanted to spend as much time experiencing them with my naked eyes than through a camera.

Speaking of tea, we did stop off at a tea factory where we saw how the stuff was produced, as well as given the opportunity to purchase some freshly packed tea.

But we finally arrived late in the afternoon. It turns out that the universal assessment of Nuwara Eliya was based on truth - between the British architecture and climate it really did feel like we were in a quaint little countryside village in England. We even managed to find the time to walk around town - it soon became clear that this was another place I wouldn't have minded spending a couple of nights in instead of just the one we had.

More photos of Nuwara Eliya can be found here.

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