Paul takes tea
Tamil Tea Picker
An 8:00 am transfer up to Hatton and then onto our bikes. Learning to recognise the different leaf colours to produce the different flavour teas.
Tea plantation in the Hill Country
Even Paul succumbed to taste some green tea (with a piece of chocolate cake). He still doesn’t like tea.
These hillsides were untouched until the 17th century as the ruling kings forbade any settlements. After slash and burn policy, Lipton and Co. with others turned up and introduced tea after the coffee plants failed due to disease.
Tea pickers homes
The Tamils from southern India were brought down to Sri Lanka as the labour force to harvest the tea crop. Initially, they were treated little better than slaves. More recently conditions have improved for them and the tea plantation owners have started to provide better education and welfare.
Schoolboys, 10 years old
Great Acacia tree
Every single child we have seen has been really friendly and interested. One even gave Paul a push up a steep part of the hill. Most just want to practice their English. In school they are taught 3 languages; Tamil, Sengalese and English.
Sundown in Nuwara Eliya
Another bloody waterfall
A hot climb 1426m into the Hill Country with lots of switchbacks and unmade roads. 36c at the start and 15c at the end in Nuwara Eliya
Day off cycling.
Kithulgala Heritage Rest House
Certainly not a luxury stay but, hey, had a ceiling fan and some of us hot water. Location spectacular right on the banks of the river.
No, you won’t get wet.
Despite best intentions Linda, was persuaded to white water raft.
Raftless in the river
The rafting was huge fun, very exhilerating and yes, we were drenched but in 30 degree weather who cares?
Lunch, same as breakfast and supper.
Experiencing a delicious variety of curries. Had spotted a small lorry with half a dozen huge tuna sticking out the back; a favourite dish here often is tuna curry.
Acupuncturist’s car collection
Had lunch at the restaurant of some famous acupuncturist who bequeathed his extensive quirky collection of Rolls Royces and classic cars to his employees. And his house. Maybe Paul should retrain.
Who pays the ferryman?
Big yellow bamboo
Obviously not the variety of bamboo to plant in our shrubbery in Winchester.
Afternoon spent avoiding leeches in a bit of the last remaining virgin rainforest. Sadly failed on the leech front, but worth the sticky heat to see loads of plants and how villagers live. Needed a ferry to get over to it.
Leeches move so quickly, like slinkies, but more blood.
See separate page for flora /fauna.
First hotel, with pick up chance outside.
Fabulous first buffet with a vast selection of spicy curries – a particularly lovely dish of roasted banana flowers. Hotel sat on the shore of the Indian Ocean. Windy, stormy night kept Paul awake (allegedly) whilst Linda slept soundly.
Buddha by boat
Monet would be very happy to paint here.
40 foot high Buddha.
Sri Lankan post box. Colonial influence?
Road conditions generally good but not on this stretch. Welcome rain shower cooled us off a bit – 36.8 degrees in the sun and very humid.
Kingfisher on a post.
Are there crocs?
Second hotel in Kitulgala. Bit more basic and the river’s a great breeding ground for mosquitoes. Can you spot the kingfisher? Also spotted the rarer pied kingfisher. Lots of egrets in the paddy fields and sitting on the cows.
Bit traumatised by the number of broken legged dogs on the sides of the road but they do appear to sleep in the road waiting to be run over. Glad we’re up to date with our rabies jabs as some definitely friendlier than others..
Dawn over Dubai
Paul a happy chap, with first Lion beer.
Bikes survived long haul trip, reassembled and ready to go for an 8:30 start. Met the group, Paul from USA with a road touring bike and Bill and Janice from Scotland using Rockhoppers. Photo of bikes to follow….
Groan! Bikes checked in, only 6kg overweight (all Paul’s, apparently). Then to the loo, and on exiting, told to “Get out now!! Keep away from any glass”. Said a man with a big gun. All North Terminal human life left to go and stand under a bus shelter for 2 hours. Very young and very old received a free Flap Jack. And Linda.
2 More hours in the Sofitell waiting for the bomb squad to leave. We shared a room with the GB soft ball squad, on their way to USA. We have no idea if they play soft ball well, or even what soft ball is, but they can drink for England.
Now in Jamie Oliver’s, waiting for our 6 hour delayed flight.
After a bit of a hiccup with the possibility of failure of Linda’s Rohloff gears, we are almost ready to leave for the first leg of our trip – one month cycling around Sri Lanka