A great start to the day, a 5km freewheel down a few hundred meters 🙂 Since it was only 6.40am I even had a touch of white fingers from the cold 🙁 However, going up the hill into Ella soon sorted them out. Ella must be huge in Lonely Planetas it was totally crowded with youngsters and rucksacs 🙂 I had a quick omelette breakfast but soon moved on when the bill came 🙁
The hill then gets pretty steep with me hoping for dear life that the brake cables wouldn’t break since its a vertical drop on the left and a hard rock face the other side. I stopped to photo the monkeys and then joined the throngs taking pics of the waterfall.
All went well with no mishaps. Near Wellaway I saw my first touring cyclists. A couple laden down with gigantic panniers still with white skin so I guess just starting. I waved and continued into town. I saw the Dialog mobile shop who quickly diagnosed my data problem. Apparently you are allowed 1/21 of your data per day with only1/3 of that available between 8am and midnight. No wonder it ran out by 11am :-(.
Once on the flat the heat returned and my necessity for drinking buckets of liquids! A 1litre bottle of pop gone in a few seconds 🙁 On the way I met a couple of budding entrepreneurs selling REAL fruit drinks very skilfully made, no machines or electric required, It now needs a whole network of these setting up, rather than folks trying to sell you a whole water melon!
You can tell I’ve hit tourist main stream with the guys on motor bikes sidling up and offering tours etc etc. Eventually I hid and booked The Wild Tusker a new hotel in the middle of nowhere – A good job I’m used to of road riding. The room is ginormous at 50m2 with 4 doubles and 2 singles, bit weird.
Mohammed cooked a great Indian meal for me but alas no beer.
Tomorrow I start exploring the coast and seeing on how to view the whales etc.
Wow that was a hilly day! well over 6,000 feet of ascent (thats 1.5 times up Ben Nevis).
The day started well and fine, the promised rain stayed away thank goodness. The main climb to 2,017m started straight away 🙁 a 3300 foot climb. The first stop was Blue Field Tea plantation tea room, nowhere near as good as yesterdays
The road up is a bit of a nightmare with a deep concrete culvert down the left side and even worse a tarmac edge a couple of inches away. This means when the trucks/buses push you out of the way there is no where to go 🙁 particularly true on the left hand hairpin bends 🙁 I made it by judicial stopping if I heard a truck grinding away near by. The way up seems never ending with a big wind undecided as to help or not. The most amazing thing to me was the vast selection of vegetables for sale at the roadside.
The top was pretty cold (for here anyway) so I didn’t hang about dropping down to Nuwara Eliya which the English tried to make look like Surrey with it’s race course, boating lake and huge houses. I stopped to try and top up my dongle 7GB for 80 rupees (although it stopped working tonight so maybe it was only a few MB 🙁 ) and get some lunch. I found the place really cold so decided to keep on going down.
Fantastic ride down with many steep ups as well, the road was newly made, possibly due to landslides in the past, and a joy to go on. I stopped at Uva Haputale I saw another tea factory, alas not open but next door was a cafe 🙂 amazingly his tea was Lipton tea bags, he couldnt understand why anyone would want the teas from next door 🙁 I guess it’s asocialist country.
I was beginning o panic a bit going through ever small hamlets with no hotels in site. Eventually I made it to Bandarawela and after some trouble found The Mountains Edge Inn although trying to get the lady to understand was another story!
The whole day was really enjoyable and the scenery is just staggeringly beautiful 🙂
A bit later start this morning as Benjamin’s mum had made breakfast for us plus I helped him fix his bike so he is mobile again. my first WarmShowers stay although I have hosted 3 couples back in Cambridge.
Bad news was that Three send me a text to say I had used 80% of my monthly roaming allowance in 13 days 🙁 plus I’ve also used up all the data I bought from Hutch on my dongle. So navigation today was just on the Etrex20, which I must say works really well, as long as you download the route into the NAV folder before setting off.
From the house it’s downhill all the way to the university and then on pleasant side roads to the A5, I would imagine it was quiet due to the 25% hill which is probably to much for the trucks & buses 🙂
The A5 was busy and hilly 🙁 I stopped at a roadside vendor selling the very attractive Raputan red spiky fruit. I bought 5 from him, very delicious. Continuing on I came across the Storefield Tea Factory. After a cuppa of breakfast tea the guide then gave me a whistle stop tour of the old dryers, crushers, sieves and a quick explanation of all the names etc. Amusing to see the dust destined for tea bags and local consumption. Now I was ‘expert’ i ordered up a Golden Tea – delicious 🙂 This where you need a follow up van so you can buy stuff.
The hill then started big time so an ice cream was called for! The scenery is amazing with the mountains and green tea bushes in serried ranks as far as the eye can see. I fancied another cuppa and followed the sign but alas it was just a very rough track leading to the office and school for the workers kids etc all very colonial 🙂
Rain showers starting to occur more frequently so I stopped of at the Thuruliya Lodge to have a drink and admire the spectacular value I had just ridden up. The rain got worse so I took one of their rooms and called it a day after 33 miles and 3000 feet of climbing
I couldn’t face the breakfast or it’s price so I was on the road before 7. After 6 hours of OK sleep in my ginormous bed.
First stop was the Golden Buddha in Danbulla it really is magnificent, I even walked upto the Rock Temple stupidly taking my GPS which then had the effect of reducing my cycle speed 🙁 After the walk I had a breakfast including ice cream 🙂 in their restaurant, watching the bus loads of tourists arrive.
I then dropped into the museum next door which has replicas of all the cave painting, interesting to see the prehistoric looking very similar to the Creswell ones.
Then onwards and upwards! the next food stop was when I saw every stall selling buffalo curd in lovely stone pots, I woofed a whole one down laced with wild honey – delicious.
Further on I kept seeing these ‘herb gardens’ eventually the curiosity got to me and I stopped at Sirilak Spice & Herbal garden outside Matale. Fantastic one to one guide who described each plant and its uses in Ayurvedic treatments. He tried the Herbal depilatory on me and I’m pleased to say I now have a coin sized area free of hair 🙂 the active ingredient is apparently lime skins. Then he said did I want a back and head massage with their Red Oil & Herbal Balm – what a daft question to ask me! Lovely 🙂 free for a tip to the masseur guy. Gardeners would find it fascinating especially because they get two crops a year.
Then onto Kandy, goodness me almost as bad as Colombo for traffic 🙁 also quite a lot of time out pale faced kids here. Obviously a must be aLonely Planet place.
After another ice cream I departed for my WarmShowers host Benjamin who I’ve now discovered lives on top of a 600metre high hill 🙁 The room is basic but his mum cooked me a lovely rice dish. The rice is cooked with coconut milk.
Tomorrow I move on to what looks like a 2000 metre climb.