Misty Hills and another train journey in daylight

Tuesday, 12th February, 2019

As I had been promised by the Misty Hills Manager, I would be witnessing a superb sunrise from our terrace, I had set my alarm for 6 am! I quietly got out of bed so as not to wake up Gerry and went out on the terrace wit watch a serene dawn breaking open.

The valley and hills were covered in mist, hence our hotel appropriately named Misty Hills, however sunrise was more to the left hand side and behind the mountain range. It still was awesome – and there were no cars and trucks yet winding up the steep hill so all I could hear was the birds chirping away, welcoming a new day!

After showering and getting our gear together so that we would not need to climb the 90 steps this morning, we went down for breakfast. Indika was already up and about and we would be driving away at 8.30 am so that we should be well on time to get our train tickets from Ella.

We were following Indika’s plan he presented to us last night. As we are spending two days in Ella we had enough time to retrace our train journey for part of the way so we would be going back to ……….. where he had arranged with a colleague driver we would return by car to Ella.
When we arrived at the station, there were loads of people waiting to buy a ticket but the counter wasn’t yet opened. Indika suspected that there would be a rush to get onto the train as this is public transport and used by the tourists for the scenic route.

His quick thinking got us out of the queue and he took us to a Tuc-tuc – the whole conversation was of course in Sinhalese but the jest of it was, the tuc tuc driver was to take us to Demodara, one station before Ella so we would get on to the train before the big crowd in Ella.
Even though we could not get first class tickets, we did get onto the train and had seats in the second class and that’s thanks to Indika who jumped into the train first and located free seats for us.

Actually we shared a compartment with Buddhist monks and young boys aspiring to be monks. This whole group was travelling to Colombo and they were singing all the way.
We were lucky to be travelling from Demodara as we would be riding over the 9 Arch bridge (which we didn’t do yesterday!). So when we were coming close to the bridge I went towards the entrance so that I could get some good pictures. Indika is like my puppy – he followed me and made sure that I did not fall off the train………

🍾Indeed it was a spectacular ride through tea plantation hills, deep valleys and high mountains. On the way, we had picked up quite a few passengers – also a group of young men going to Colombo to join the army…… everyone was jostling to get a seat which was a scarce ddzxpki

By the time we reached Ohiya we had seen quite some beautiful scenes and chatted with various locals including the Buddhist monks. Apparently, the boys were either without parents or they were so poor that they are given up to the monks who would then educate them and would later also become monks!

It was a long trip back to Ella and I slept most of the way – but also Indika, slept a while too. However we were awake when we stopped for a smoke break. Gerry’s art of rolling his cigarettes attracts a lot of attention and this driver wanted to taste one of Gerry’s cigarettes . The two men just enjoyed their smoke while I enjoyed the sun……

Indika, our driver, enjoying a nap while being driven back to Ella by a colleague friend of his!

At Ohiya, we were met by Indika’s colleague who had deposited his Chinese clients on the train to Ella. He would then drive to Ella and meet them there and continue the trip, hence an empty car which we could use to take us back to Ella. However we first stopped at the “station restaurant “ across the tracks and some coffee and biscuits.

Back at Ella, we were on time for lunch and this time we drove to the Mountain Heaven, a hotel with a good restaurant facing the high mountains. We had a table facing the mountain and with a cool breeze blowing. Most of the guests were Chinese or Indian with a small number of Europeans.
After lunch we left for the 9 Arch bridge; this time we would be able to see how trains go across the bridge – this is a local attraction and there were loads of sightseers waiting for the train – we had seen that this morning when we were travelling over the bridge. Now we were going to be part of the crowd waiting for the train…….
Indika explained that he could not drive his car all the way as the road was bad but we could get a tuc tuc to take us close to the bridge. So off we went in the tuc tuc and at one point we had to go up a very steep and winding hill and we understood that one of us had to get out. Apparently we are too heavy for the tuc tuc??? I remained in the tuc tuc and we climbed the hill – of course the driver dropped me at the top of the hill and told me to wait as he turned round and went down the hill to pick Gerry up! We then continued our drive and ended up close to the bridge.

Too heavy for the tuc tuc to climb up the hill with both of us – first me then, Gerry!

When we arrived at the bridge, there were many people waiting for the train – but we didn’t have to wait too long! The train came down the track and we could make some splendid pictures……..

What a fantastic sight – waiting for the train to go over the 9 Arch bridge…..

Back with the tuc tuc to meet up with Indika and our next stop was to go and hike up little Adam’s Peak. However by the time we got there we were badly in need of using the bathroom and wanted something to drink so we stopped at Cafe 98 which is part of a resort situated opposite Little Adams Peak. While we sat there enjoying the view and my ginger beer, I was contemplating whether I really wanted to do the climb…….

We started walking, however the peak itself can only be reached with steps and when I saw that , I wasn’t prepared to hike up those steps…… I think Indika was disappointed in me…. but I just listened to my body – if it were an uphill climb and no stairs, I would have done it!

By the time we got back to our Misty Hills, we were both dead tired and decided to have a snack In our room – no way we would be freshening up and go downstairs to the restaurant…….anyway I needed to catch up with my blog before we went to bed…..

Tomorrow we will be leaving Ella and driving down to Yala – another highlight of this trip – to visit the national park and sleep over on a campsite ……..

Author: Liliana

Retired banker now spending time travelling the world with my soulmate, Gerry. Early retirement due to the fact that the bank I worked for changed their direction from global to local and hence my expertise was not needed any longer - now using my passion and energy in discovering the world after I have worked enthusiastically for so many years, brought up my daughter and son and now still have good health to enjoy my new experiences.