We had flown away to an Island far away. Our flight landed in Columbo, the capital of Sri Lanka. A friend who had lived in Sri Lanka for a while had advised hiring a chauffeur driven car from the airport for the whole trip. It was a very good advice indeed, saved us from a lot of hassle, especially considering the language barrier.
We decided to see Columbo on our way Back to India and we headed straight to Nuwara Eliya, we wanted to start with the hills. Although I do recommend spending a day in Kandy if you have the time, and I highly recommend trying Sri Lankan fruits on your way, Durian and mangosteen are my favorites.
Nuwara Eliya is a small scenic city in the central province of Sri Lanka. It’s cool climate and breathtaking hilly countryside covered in tea plantations and light fog is almost dreamy and a perfect escape from the summer’s heat.
We had booked a room in this place called The log through Air BNB, a small wooden house in the middle of the hills with all things made of woods. It had a cozy, nostalgic, hobbit house vibe to it and the view was magnificent.
The city has an English Countryside feel, there is a Racecourse, a Golf Club, colonial-era bungalows, in fact, the whole city has a colonial-era theme going on. There are hotels that are made to fit the theme, The Grand of Nuwara Eliya is on such hotel and a lovely property I must say.
We were more interested in the countryside, strawberry farm, New Zealand cow farm, the windmills in the fields, the Malgudi days look alike train station we came across, the cloud covered mountains and the serenity one finds in those hills in a distant part of the world.
All that beauty, the freshness of the air, the view of lush green hills cradling the clouds, were even more romanticized by the sudden rain and the intoxicating smell it left behind. I love the smell of the earth after it rains.
For dinner we went to Heritance Tea Factory, it is an old tea factory converted into a luxury heritage hotel, being there was like visiting the 19th century Ceylon instead of today’s Sri Lanka. We sat in the bar for some drinks, we hadn’t booked a table beforehand in the restaurant and it almost felt like we won’t get one now, the place was full of tourists from all over the world. Luckily they gave us a table by the time we finished our second drinks, I ordered some Sri Lankan dish made with local spices. It looked so exotic and traditional at the same time and smelled of lovely subtle flavors of South India. The food was amazing, but since I had just spent some time in South India, I found myself wishing I had ordered something else, I made up with desserts. 🙂
We took a tour of the hotel and bought some organic tea grown in their in-house tea plantation from the tea shop before we left. Heritance Tea Factory for me was more about the experience than the food. It was one of those time travel experiences where a place suddenly teleports you to another time and life, and you feel like you have seen that time, that era, maybe just for one evening but you have lived there, you have been a part of it.
By the time we drove back to The Log, my mind was swooning with joy, the beauty all around me was getting to me or maybe it was the alcohol? Nah, I didn’t drink much, I didn’t need too, I was high on hills, on clouds, on the greenery, on the rain, on the little waterfalls we crossed on our way. Nuwara Eliya will do that to you.
Previous post on Sri Lanka – Chapter Zero
Next Stop –
Arugam Bay Ella. 🙂