February 6th ~ Nuwara Eliya to Yala National Park, Sri Lanka
We had some free time this morning to wander around Nuwara Eliya. Tim and I took a Tuk Tuk into town. I think it cost 200 Rupees (approximately $1 USD).
A few things caught my eye.
Having a morning to just walk around and explore the town on our own and at a slower pace gave us a nice break from our hectic schedule. Then it was time to once again load onto the bus for a short drive to the train depot.
“Rest your Cell Phone while using the footboard”?? Gary spotted this sign at the train depot and we had to ask our guide, Heshan, what it meant. He looked puzzled by our inquiry, as he calmly explained that we should not be on our cell phones, but paying attention as we stepped onto the train.
Of course, now it makes perfect sense. Kind of like “Mind the Gap” in London…
Taking the Tea Train from Nuwara Eliya to Ella added to the more relaxed mood of the day. The scenery was pretty spectacular as we sailed past green hillsides terraced with one tea plantation after another.
The jungle was dense and a misty fog set in for part of the journey.
The train ride can take anywhere from two to four hours, depending upon which train you take. We ended up on a brand new express train so our trip was on the short side.
I think I would have preferred the longer version as the views were special.
Our driver, Susantha and our bus assistant, Thilina, were there to meet us, and we piled back on board. We still had several more hours to go before reaching our destination at Yala National Park for the next two nights.
During monsoon season, the heavy rains can cause devastating mudslides. Repairing the roadways is an ongoing project. They are trying to prevent future problems with an innovative netting/concrete system being built along certain sections of the roads.
Time for another photo stop and a chance to stretch our legs. The falls made for a beautiful back drop.
More shots from the bus:
Our lodgings were in roomy bungalows, each with a private deck. The bed had mosquito netting over it.
Being inside the park, we were surrounded by wild animals that frequently wandered right through the hotel grounds. There were some STRICT rules to be followed. Our guide went over them with us before we arrived, the receptionist reviewed them upon our arrival and we were also given a printout to read.
The most important thing was to NEVER walk outside after dark without one of the park/hotel guides escorting us. That meant that to go to dinner we had to dial “0” on our room phone, ask for an escort, and wait to have someone knock on your door. They were very prompt, and arrived within a minute or two.
The guide then would walk ahead of you with a flashlight, checking the pathway and along the side of the path, each step of the way.
After dinner, in the main lodge, we had to again be escorted to each of our individual bungalows.
They were watching for elephants, wild boar, water buffalo, monkeys, snakes (they have cobras, python, and vipers), crocodiles, scorpions and tarantulas, amongst other critters.
A large wild rabbit was the only encounter we had on our nighttime stroll.
The buffet meals were abundant and once again allowed us to sample a great variety of Sri Lankan foods with several different curries. My favorite curries on this trip were the potato curry and the pineapple curry. They were milder, heat wise, and the flavor was superb.
Overnight: Cinnamon Wild Yala
Coming Next: Safari drive through Yala National Park
GRATITUDE MOMENT: Today I am grateful for an opportunity to see more of the lush scenery of Sri Lanka. The train ride was a treat.