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Kandy - Hatton - Thursday, 1 February 2018

Scenic rail journey through the hills to Kuwara Eliya, home of Sri Lanka's tea estates

sunny 27 °C

Hotel - Ceylon Tea Trails, Tientsin, Bogawantalawa, Hatton - Room Name Irvine Stewart

Had a good night's sleep except I woke up sometime during the night and I was cold. We only have a sheet on the bed and I meant to find a doona before I went to sleep last night but I forgot. So I knew where my long cardigan was, so I draped it over me and went back to sleep. Yesterday the other ladies were complainimg about being woken up in the night by the chanting that begins at 4 am and so last night they were all going to wear ear plugs to bed. I didn't hear a thing - either night!

Late start today as we are not leaving until 11am, so we arrived at breakfast at 8.30 am and everyone else was already eating.

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Breakfast today was delicious. I tried the porridge and it came with cinnamon, fruit and treacle. Yum, yum. Followed by a Sri Lankan breakfast - an egg hopper. It is basically a fried egg in a thin pancake turned up at the sides. It was very nice. There was a side of "sweet onions" they said. Whoa! They were hot and spicy.

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Phil gave Sameera a gold kangaroo this morning. He was unsure what a kangaroo was, so I showed him a picture and a David Attenborough video.

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We left the Kandy House at 11 am for the 45 minute drive to the station. That gave us plenty of time as sometimes if the traffic is bad, the trip can take longer than an hour. We arrived in plenty of time and waited on the platform and then Didier told us to change platforms as the train was expected on the other side.

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The train arrived and we all hopped on with a huge push and shove, into our First Class car. Well, I would hate to see what Third Class looked like! It was very, very basic with the only cooling being small overhead fans and the open window. The seats were cramped and uncomfortable and the carriage was full.

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So off we went and Didiyer handed out our boxed lunches and we chugged along, stopping and starting while we waited for trains coming in the other direction to pass us. It was pretty basic but a different way to travel. Phil moved seats and sat next to a travelling monk and they seemed to enjoy each other's company for the entire trip. I was quite surprised as Didier had told me that the seats at the front of buses, trains etc are totally reserved for monks and once when Didier was on a local bus with his wife, a foreigner got on with his leg in a cast and the only spare seat on the bus was next to the monk. The guy sat down and the monk immediately told him to get up and sit somewhere else. Of course, there was nowhere else to sit so Didier gave up his seat for the guy with the sore leg. And made sure the monk saw him doing it. I mean, I thought these people were supposed to care for the well-being of others not as well off as themselves. Seems not! As Didier explained to me later, the monk on our train was from a different country and therefore quite a different kettle of fish.

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We arrived at Hatton and all hopped off the train, walked along the platform, up the steps, over the bridge, down the other side, along the platform and then realised we couldn't get off that platform, so back we came to retrace our steps. Some went back up the steps and down the other side, but some naughty ones (me included) climbed down the side of the platform and crossed over the tracks and up the other side!

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We had about a 45 minute bus ride to where a smaller bus was waiting to take Sharon and John; Viv and Bruce; and Yvonne and Darryl to the Norwood Tea Trails accommodation and then the rest of us continued on in the bus to our accommodation. It is raining and the road is single lane and very windy.

We came across a funeral but the photos aren't very clear, taken from a bus window in the rain.

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Before too long, we rendezvoued with our smaller bus to take us up the hill to our accommodation. It is just beautiful. An old bungalow with a gorgeous room for each of us. No keys for the doors here. We are all just one big happy family.

Our room is huge. A huge lounge room, a huge bedroom and a huge bathroom, with a verandah out the back. It is a gorgeous suite. Thank you Scenic.

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After we settled in, we all met on the verandah for High Tea. Flavoursome tea and snacks. We decided on our dinner menu with the Chef and that we would eat at 8pm and then Phil and Didier spent the afternoon playing pool and Greg and Phyl, Terry and Phillipa and I went to the jacuzi with our G&Ts and spent an hour under very grey and dark skies in the warm, bubbly water.

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Dinner on the verandah was salmon gravelex, followed by cauliflower soup, then pork medallions and chocolate fondu. Malbec wine from Argentina was the popular choice around the table.

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I celebrated my win against the Body Corporate at San Simeon with a champagne, but that is a story for another time.

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Into bed and looking forward to exploring the tea plantations tomorrow.

Posted by gaddingabout 09:16 Archived in Sri Lanka

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