Tea, monkeys and mountains itinerary in Sri Lanka

Our driver told us to buckle up and prepare for a slightly bumpy ride to our next destination, Nuwara Eilya, or Little England as it’s affectionately known.
Due to its colonial heritage, architecture and preoccupation with English pastimes, such as tea on the lawn, horse racing and cricket. This involved a drive up into the scenic mountains over 6000 feet above sea level along some roads that were little more than dirt tracks, leading to a bit of travel sickness at times, but offered the most stunning scenery. As we drove higher and higher we ascended up into the clouds...
The road revealed tree canopies that were home to indigenous monkeys and wildlife at every turn and sheer drops into valleys below, making for a somewhat hair raising journey at times. We saw homes and shops that had been built on stilts so they hung precariously over the edge, looking ready to collapse at any time. Local children played barefoot in the road and women worked the tea fields in their beautiful bright coloured saris.
As we climbed the dusty road, we gradually became enveloped in a thick layer of cloud creating an eerie but beautiful opaqueness. The sunny climes of sea level turned to the grey, blustery, drizzly weather we’re more used to in the UK, so that when we arrived in Little England we were thought we’d returned home midwinter. We arrived at our hotel, a large mock English mansion, which from the outside could have been situated in rural Surrey and were invited to take tea in the drawing room, which was full of chintzy, overstuffed furniture reminiscent of the 1800’s.
It is quite a strange feeling to literally step into our British colonial heritage which all at once gave us mixed feelings but left us feeling almost sure that the British footprint should never have been so heavily left on this remarkable country. Never-the-less, it is a great experience to have whilst visiting Sri Lanka and many people do identify wholeheartedly with the British way of life. The staff all wear tweed to add the ambience. The food here was meant to be English fayre such as fish and chips but to be very honest, it wasn't done that well and we would far rather have had Sri Lankan delights instead anyway.
After a mixed night’s sleep, we rose early to meet our driver and continue to see some of the features of Nuwara Eilya, which again felt quite strange passing English Country houses with croquet on the law and people enjoying the local horse racing course. 

After a bit of exploration Fash took us towards a tea plantation to see how our nation’s favourite brew is made. Green fields and bright saris flashed by us as we made our way past hectares upon hectares of tea fields. All of the major tea companies have fields out here and it is how many young Brits made their fortune back in the day. The processing plant itself has a little tea room where you can try any number of types of tea and little cream buns before you take the tour of the factory. It was an interesting insight into the ways they create flavoured teas but maybe more suited to those who are absolutely mad about their tea. It was a good opportunity to stock up on some unusual tea varieties as gifts for family and friends.

The weather hadn’t improved much since we arrived in Little England and we were already missing the sun and warmth we’d come to know in Sri Lanka so it was time to set off in search of it! As we drove down the mountain we slowly started to see the sun make an appearance and layer by layer we stripped down to vest and shorts. I cannot describe the happiness we felt when we pulled over by a beautiful waterfall, (Nuwara Eilya is waterfall country afterall) with a man by the road selling fresh corn on the cobs. With the sun warming our backs, we tucked into our tasty treats and watched the cheeky monkeys play in the road. Absolute bliss.

Next stop Yala National Park for a safari treat and then beach time in trendy surf paradise Hikkaduwa and Bentota!

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