As we continued our way across the middle of Sri Lanka the scenery got more and more spectacular. Travelling by train allowed us to take in all the scenery at a wonderfully slow and peaceful pace. It also meant we could hang out of the train like the locals and take lots of pictures.
We stopped in Nuria Ella for a trip to 'Worlds End' proper this time. The big brother offered a much more impressive view and a more enjoyable 9.5km hike. You had to be up before sunrise to make the most of the good weather. Typically the day always started brightly with clouds rolling in at lunchtime and some rain in the afternoon and today was no exception. As the sun came up the mist hung in the valley with the hill tops peeking through and rays of sun piercing the clouds. It was really something to behold and would eclipse the views seen throughout the rest of the day.
As we reached 'Worlds End' the clouds had parted and the view stretched out into the horizon. We took the opportunity to capture some classic jumping photos and managed to get all four of us jumping together. The walk ended at a series of waterfalls and this meant Tim had to take an obligatory swim. It didn't last long in the freezing water though but waterfalls were something of a favourite as you might have gathered.
We spent the afternoon visiting a tea plantation and got to see how the tea was processed once it had been picked. Although the machinery looked incredibly outdated the process itself was quite advanced. Tea plants were everywhere and the business kept a lot of the local population in jobs. Everything from the hundreads of tea pickers through to the people that had to pack the tea in huge boxes ready for export. We got to sample the local brew and you could really taste the difference in quality compared to back home. Unfortunately we couldn't stay for long as we had another train to catch.
The train ride to Ella took in more tea plantations and misty covered hills. A stunning sunset made everything turn orange and gave Tim another opportunity to take some more photos. Ella itself is a beautiful laid back hill station and a firm favourite amongst travellers. An impromptu beer session and music jam with or kiwi friends lead to some sore heads the following day but a breakfast of 'String Hoppers' (balls of rice noodles), 'Samba' (Coconut, Onion and Chilli) and Egg Curry had us all smiling again.
Our time in the hill country had come to an end and it was time to make our way down south in search of more diverse Sri Lankan wildlife.