Sri Lanka: Nuwara Eliya

After leaving Kandy, we started our journey toward tea country. This was one of our major goals for the trip so we were quite excited. Sure enough as we made it deeper into the hills the view just continued to get better and better. We were able to make some photo stops along the way complete with many chuckles and minor injuries as we discovered tea bushes are not as soft as they look from the distance.

Glen loch tea factory was our next stop. I think we surprised the guide with how interested we were but it was fascinating and smelled so delicious. The employees work very hard and we appreciated seeing how much went into a cup of tea. Sri Lankan tea is so famous because they still pick it all by hand but have luckily introduced machines to help with parts of the production. Once we were thoroughly acquainted with the process and told the difference between the types of tea we were able to sample several kinds in the cafe. Can’t say I have ever had a “flight” of tea before but there was quite a variety and fun to trial. We were most excited to try the different flavors after discovering how exactly tea gets flavored. There is a small fan over the drying tables and when they are making a flavored batch the essence is misted through the fan. We were fascinated by this because we always assumed it was mixed together or infused in some other way, but nope…just some small regular fan blowing essence over the tea.

We found our way to a fantastic local Sri Lankan buffet which was perched over the hill on some suspicious stilts as many of the buildings in the region are built. Being pre-made,  this was legitimately the spiciest meal we had and given it was lunch, we can’t quite imagine how intense dinner would be! With some milk and a lot of rice we made it through and were continually conflicted by wanting more of the delicious flavors and less of burning our insides.

Post lunch we checked into our hotel and were blown away. This place was incredible when it came to the view. It was fairly quiet so it barely felt like there were other tourists around. The whole back side of the building was all glass as the only thing that could see back in was the incredible view. It truly felt like we had stepped onto another planet and I could have relaxed and enjoyed here for ages.

It was time for more exploring with a walk through part of the valley to see a nearby waterfall. Then it was off to the city of Nuwara Eliya itself. The city was once a colonial settlement and some of the colonial style building are still there. We had a chance to walk around the food market and see the remaining buildings before grabbing some dinner.

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Once again we were completely tuckered out when we got back but couldn’t resist the views. Everything was pitch black once we got back to the hotel but the stars were unreal. We went out to the viewing platform for a front row seat and all laid down on the still warm concrete. We even got fancy and downloaded a star gazing app to help us identify the many, many stars above. It was so serene and refreshing to see this much nature and the view was only interrupted by the occasional flicker of bat wings up above.

We turned in knowing the lush hills lie right outside the window and in anticipation of seeing it all again with the sunrise.

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