Saturday, 19 January 2013

Week two: From the coast to The Hill country.

We have had a busy week. On our last day at the coast we headed a few miles by bus to the town of Weligama. While we were strolling along the beach some fishermen asked us to help push their boat into the sea. It took about 15 of us to haul the boat down the sand into the water. Their fishing boats are beautiful traditional wooden boats that they like to individualise by painting them. They often go out late at nights and early in the morning so the sea is usually scattered with the tiny lights of fishing boats.

At the beginning of the week we left the beaches behind and headed for the Hill country. Our first stop was the small town Embilipitiya. From here we organised a trip to Uda Walawe national park. The park is home to about 800 elephants as well as many other birds and animals. We left the hotel at 5.30am, while it was still dark, and arrived shortly before sunrise. We spends about 3 hours in the park and saw about 80 elephants including some tiny babies! We also saw buffalo, jackals, parrots, kingfishers, bee catchers, 3 types of eagles as well as many other birds. The hotel even packed us a little picnic so we were able to have breakfast whilst watching the sunrise and the elephants!

The next day we travelled to Ella, this was a bit of a long journey... Not so much due to distance but because the old buses have to wind up through the mountains. We had to get three different buses in total and one was so busy Mike and I ended up sitting on a luggage rack at the front of the bus for 3 hours! But the public transport here is frequent so we have never had to wait for a bus for more than a few minutes, and its very cheap, about £1 each to travel 5 hours across the country! It's also one of the best ways to see the country side, and the views were amazing. During our stay in Ella we did a few walks and hikes. The first was to little Adams peak (a much smaller version of the real mountain we are going to climb next week!). The views from here were stunning, miles and miles of mountains and tea plantations!

Mike even did a bit of meditating...

In the afternoon we did a longer, higher climb to Ella's rock. You can see the mountain in the background of the view from our guest house.. We climbed to the top, guided by a very nice local farmer. He wasn't wearing any shoes and he was nearly 60 and yet he shot up that mountain like a goat and laughed at me when I needed to stop for a rest!!

This is the peak we climbed...

The view from the top...

We have moved further into the hill country now and have more walks and treks planned for the coming week. I'm excited and a little scared at the prospect of climbing Adam's peak, a pilgrimage before dawn to the top of a mountain involving climbing almost 6000 steps! I will let you know how it goes. Love Amy and mike xxx

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