Notes from the road - edition 12: roaming the hills of Sri Lanka
Has it only been a week? It feels far longer. The days are long and bursting at the seams when filled with the things that nourish the soul.
Adam’s Peak / Sri Pada
On Tuesday morning I climbed Sri Pada. At least, I tried to. Sri Pada, or Adam’s Peak as it is commonly known, holds significance to a number of religions on the island of Sri Lanka. I also attempted to the climb only two days after Sinhalese and Tamil new year, which meant the hike was absolutely packed. It ended up being a three hour walk to wait and slowly shuffle forward in a line for over an hour, only to be caught behind some trees for the sunrise view.
I managed to find my way off the path and to an outcrop of rock to grab some photos just in time, but the line had come to a complete standstill, and so there was absolutely no hope of reaching the peak. Perhaps I’ll try again another time, well clear of any new year celebrations.
After the relatively quiet and sleepy streets of Kandy, Ella’s traveller and café packed main road felt almost like an entirely different country.
I let myself sleep in to make up for the 1:00am alarm to hike Adam’s Peak the day before, but then wasted no more time in starting my exploration of Ella.
I wasn’t expecting much from this one, in my mind it was just another waterfall. I ended up climbing to the top, away from all the tourists, and had the stunning natural infinity pools and epic view all to myself for over two hours.
Little Adam’s Peak
Was hiking to the top of a mountain during a lightning storm the stupidest thing I’ve ever done? No. Was it among the top few? Probably. On the plus side, the inclement weather meant there was almost nobody else at the peak, so I got to enjoy the view over Ella town as the mist and clouds rolled in over the mountains without having to deal with packs of other travellers.
Day two was another chance to adventure, and I didn’t let it go to waste
The 4:30am alarm and two-hour trek through the dark was well worth it to see the view from atop Ella Rock. Looking out over Ella town, Little Adam’s Peak, and the Ella Gap as the sun rose is a memory I’ll cherish for a long while.
Diyaluma Waterfall + the freedom of a scooter
In my short time in Sri Lanka I had forgotten the simple freedom of riding a scooter. But driving down the mountain roads as they twist and turn toward Diyaluma waterfalls was easily a highlight of my time in Ella. Wind in the hair, tunes in the ear, and unreal scenery for the eyes. An absolute dream of a combination.
Unfortunately, I arrived at the falls around mid-day, right at peak time, so they were very crowded. That didn’t take away from the majesty and beauty of the cascade though. As the second tallest waterfall in Sri Lanka, and with natural infinity pools at the top looking out over the edge and into the expansive valley below, Diyaluma Waterfall is well worth the trip.
Lanka Cooking Class
I love to cook, and I have fallen in love with Sri Lankan food. Taking part in a cooking class was only a matter of time. Using traditional clay cooking pots over an open flame, Lanka, with 23-years of professional cooking experience, guided us through the preparation and cooking of an array of delicious curries. It was a feast and we all left feeling like we’d eaten a bit too much but not in the least bit sorry about it.
Day three and my final day in Ella meant another day packed with adventure.
Nine Arch Bridge
Another very memorable morning, this time spent watching the misty jungle slowly come to life as the sun rose above the mountains. The bridge crosses a small valley and is a testament to human engineering and ingenuity, made entirely from brick and concrete and completed in 1921. At about 6:30, just as the fog was starting to burn off and the crowds began to come in, the picturesque blue train came rolling through the mountain and across the bridge, creating a scene like something from a dream.
I’ve never been much of a tea drinker, but after admiring the views from atop Lipton’s Seat, it’s easy to see why Sir Thomas Lipton fell in love with this place all those years ago. Watching the clouds roll in over the expansive tea fields with a fresh cup of Ceylon tea in hand is certainly not a bad way to spend a part of your day.
Udawalawe National Park Safari
Sri Lanka is renowned for its wild life, and I wasn’t going to let the opportunity to experience some of it pass me by. Wild elephants, water buffalo, crocodiles, and birds of all sorts. It was slightly out of the way and not part of my original plan, but it was an experience I won’t regret.
I grew up in the mountains, and so my time exploring the mountain regions of Sri Lanka had a feeling of familiarity and beauty that I love. However, my soul craves the ocean on a daily basis, and so after 11 days of mountains, hiking, and uncomfortable public transport, I’ve FINALLY arrived at the beach.
Hirikitiya comes very highly recommended by Mark and Mim, and from the little I’ve seen so far, I can see why. My time in Sri Lanka has been pretty full on, so I’m really looking forward to some time to take things a bit slower. Yoga, surfing, and work + a little bit of exploration are all on the cards.
Intentions for the week to come
I’m a big believer in writing down the things that you want to accomplish and putting them out into the universe as a way of holding yourself accountable. So, I am going to try and use this platform to add another level of accountability to my life by setting intentions each week.
For the week ahead I would like to
Run and/or yoga every day: I’ve been prioritising hiking and other experiences since I arrived in Sri Lanka, but now that I’m back to full health and I’m going to be in the one spot for a while, I’m going to use the opportunity to get my body moving as much as possible.
Surf / be in the ocean every day: The ocean is my happy place, and I would be foolish to waste any opportunity to be in such a place.
Start to regain control over my diet: Since being sick I’ve let myself slip a little in that I’ve been eating heaps of fried, unhealthy food because it’s cheap, easy, and quick. So, this week the aim is to regain control over my diet and start eating more fresh, whole foods again.
Blog: As I said, I’ve been prioritising the experience of being here over my work since coming to Sri Lanka. I’m okay with that, life is there to be lived and I wanted to soak up as much as possible in the short time that I had available. However, now that I have a few days to be in one place and regain some structure, I’m looking to use that to my full advantage and make some headway on work for the blog. The aim is to post at least three blog posts from Bali and at least one from Sri Lanka + catch up on my photo editing.
Until next week, happy voyaging!