It’s 4am and I am woken up with the sounds of Hindu Chanting.. there is something so soothing about these sounds… I drift back off to sleep feeling as though I am in a scene of Eat, Pray, Love.. until around 7am and then its time for my favorite meal of the day…. BREKKIE!
Your Morning Kandy – WATCH HERE (click for Video Diary)
Today we off to Hill Country and the Land of TEA… As we leave the Kaos of Kandy, our handy dandy driver Daya tells us that his family actually lives along the way and points out the village where he grew up … “Well we must go and say Hello”… “Really?”says Daya, “You would like to go a meet my family”… “Absolutely” I responded. I am so glad we did. We met his mother, his sister, his aunt, his nephew and the matriarch of his family, his 98 year old grandmother. Daya had the biggest smile on his face, he was filled with so much pride.
Back on the bus we stop off at the renowned Elephant orphanage in Pinnawala I have to say that I am not a fan of any place that keeps animals from their natural habitat, especially one as majestic as the Elephant. Pinnawala claims that all their elephants are orphans or sick – which sounds great on paper but when you get there and see all these babies in tiny enclosures and brought out just for show as they bottle feed them milk and then you feed the adult bulls baskets of fruit, surrounded by 100’s of tourists pulling out their selfie-sticks! YES, I was one of them… you leave feeling somewhat sad, or at least I did.
Moving on.. FUN FACT!
Did you know that in Sri Lanka there are 20 different types for Bananas? 20?? I mean who knew! we were able to sample about 4 of those along the way… 20!!! I still can’t wrap my head around that..
The road to the Tea Trails is steep and lots of twists & turns, you leave the relatively flat land and are transported into this lush green mountainous region that looks like something out of a painting. It’s breathtaking. We’re off the highest point of Sri Lanka to a town called Nuwara Eliya about 3/3.5hrs from Kandy also known as “City of lights” or “Little England” or as we called it “Little Britain
“Look into my eyes, look into my eyes, the eyes, the eyes, not around the eyes, don’t look around the eyes, look into my eyes. [click] You’re under!
Nuwara Eliya sits at around 1900m above sea level, at first it looks like your typical Sri Lankan town until you reach the old brick Post Office and from then on it turns into a typical English village, with a country house like hill club with its hunting pictures, mounted hunting trophies and fish, the 18 hole golf course & race course … everything reminded me of England. Not only is it famed for its Ceylon tea but also their strawberry fields. Our home for the night after a long & winding road is Langdale by Amaya – from the outside this property looks picturesque and very pretty but that’s really about it… I wasn’t wowed AT ALL! but still humbled by the surroundings.
Now pay attention people! remember there is a quiz at the end of the these travels.
Nuwara Eliya is predominantly a British creation that was discovered by the colonial John Davy in 1819 and over the next decade the area became famed for its English-style agriculture and interestingly enough COFFEE!! in the late 1860’s the coffee crops started to dwindle and planters turned their attention to Tea due the perfect climate. The first experimental plantation was established by the Scotsman and tea planter Sir James Taylor in 1867.
Ever since I moved to the US I could never understand why Lipton tea was and IS so bad… I mean come on lets face it – IT’S REALLY REALLY Bad… Well now I know why… In 1890 arrived yet another burly scotsman, none other than Thomas Lipton, a hugely successful business man who had over 3000 supermarkets, he began traveling the world looking for new items to stock, one of which was tea. James and Thomas did actually meet and worked together and they created the British Ceylon we see today… Interesting stuff right?? .. Since the price of tea had doubled from GBP40 million to GBP80 million but Thomas thought the price of purchase was too high he turned his attention to Sri Lanka and purchased vast amounts of tea plantations at a very LOW cost and produced a low grade cheap and I repeat CHEAP tea by mixing various crops together -Staying true to this vision, he arranged packaging and shipping at low costs and sold his tea in packets by the pound with the advertising slogan: “Direct from the tea gardens to the teapot.” Lipton teas were an immediate success in the United States and still are (according to GOD KNOWS WHO!) and the rest his history… Mystery solved and my questions answered down to a tea! 🙂
We are on our way to Ceylon Tea Trails – I can hardly wait to reach this amazing location! the drive is about 2hrs from Nuwara Eliya and again with incredibly steep and twisty roads. Ceylon Trails is comprised of four 5 bedroom restored planters bungalows complete with swimming pools, private chef, crocket on the lawn and magnificent vistas over the Castlereigh Lake. ABSOLUTELY AMAZING – it exceeded all my expectations and then some… this is a MUST SEE, DO, EAT, SLEEP, PLAY I promise you will not be disappointed, you are taken back in time and everything about Tea Trails is perfect.
Just before dinner I treat myself to a Black Pepper and Orange Blossom Bath…. See it HERE! (Click to view Video Diary)
Off to bed… Ready for another day… Next Stop Yala Game Reserve for a spot of Sea, Surf and Safari…