Tamsin Gallie

Joined June 2019Living in: Moeraki, New Zealand
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  • Day113

    Ella to Kandy part 2

    Yesterday in Sri Lanka ⋅ ☁️ 21 °C


    We found our hotel easily as it was v near the train station but then couldn’t get in! It isn’t so much of a hotel as an apartment which is v nice except the kitchen is totally empty of utensils, jug etc and the fridge is a health hazard. The wife who let us in reported to know nothing and said her husband was coming now but after 20 mins he still hadn’t arrived so we left to find food.
    To cut a v long story short Kandy is pretty hideous from heaps of loud , dirty traffic, constant bothering from tuk tuk drivers ( if we bloody wanted a lift we would ask for one!), to a rather dirty looking lake.
    We tried x 4 places to eat before settling on the respectable Queens Hotel upstairs restaurant.
    The waiter pretended to speak no English to start with whilst trying to order something but got significantly better when he asked us about the rugby later on.
    He then tripped as he brought our drinks- k caught her beer and I caught my sprite thank god.
    Lunch was average but the chef and the waiter proceeded to stand and chit chat to each other right next to our table.... despite the whole 60 cover restaurant being empty..., we wouldn’t have minded if they offered us another drink or a service but no just were annoying.
    During this we decided we had had enough of Kandy already and instead of wasting tmrw we would head north to Dambulla a day early.
    We paid the idiots at the restaurant - whose English was now pretty sophisticated and left for an oasis of a coffee shop we found online (Buono).
    Next it was to the bus station to try to locate where our bus may go from tmrw- there were hundreds of dirty clapped out buses to choose from. Hopefully we found where the more reliable express ones park so tmrw when we have our bags it’s less of a hassle.
    Now back to the “hotel” with no working internet, tv, jug but at least we have air con and tmrw we blow this joint. Thanks but no thanks Kandy
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  • Day113

    Ella to Kandy- one more train trip!!

    Yesterday in Sri Lanka ⋅ ☁️ 21 °C

    Stated as “ the worlds most beautiful train journey” (we decided we hadn’t had enough of trains after the Trans Siberian) so we got tickets on the 6.40am Ella to Kandy train.
    I managed to persuade K to get second class reserved seating instead of her preferred first class so we could at least open the windows.... and no I didn’t make us go in third class where there is a high chance u have to stand up for the 6-7 hr journey.
    Our host somehow got us, all of our luggage and a packed breakfast into his tuk tuk at 6am and kindly dropped us off at the Ella train station.
    At the last minute the v smart station master informed us all the train was coming in on the other track so we had to trudge up and over 50 steps on the overbridge to the other platform.
    Our train arrived and we found seats 13 and 14 easily ( although we had to turf out the only person in the carriage as she had managed to sit in our seats- the whole carriage was empty but she managed to sit in our prebooked seats!), and managed to stow our luggage overhead.
    What ensued was a v pleasant if not grey 6.5hr journey through huge tea plantations, tidy little train stations, towns, villages and more tea plantations on mind bendingly steep slopes.
    We arrived in Kandy at 1.20pm and were immediately assaulted with noise, traffic, people etc on the way to The Station Hotel- our accomm for 2 nights.... to be cont....
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  • Day112

    Nine Arch Bridge

    October 21 in Sri Lanka ⋅ ☁️ 23 °C

    After descending from Little Adam’s peak we followed the easy track through the plush 98 Acre Resort, past the Newbrough Green Tea Plantation and down a v steep track to the railway bridge.
    We loved the fact there’s no health and safety and despite this being an active railway line used many times a day people are allowed to stand and walk along it!!

    After taking the requisite photos and enjoying this feat of engineering, we walked 35 mins along the railway sleepers all the way back to the Ella railway station and back to town.

    We had a coffee in UFO cafe but were so bothered by the flies we just headed back to the accommodation.

    This was followed by reading on the deck whilst the monsoon rains re-filled the waterfalls!!

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  • Day112

    Walk to Little Adams Peak

    October 21 in Sri Lanka ⋅ ☁️ 23 °C

    After a scrumptious breakfast at the Leisure Dream Inn we set off at 8.30am for our walk up Little Adam’s Peak.

    This lovely walk only took us 30 mins from the base as the lonely planet obviously includes the walk from town.
    Winding up through the tea plantations gave us a lovely scene before we ascended the steps to the peak.
    We were blessed with good timing because as we set off to descend a bus load of 20 something tourists dressed for a visit to a night club , moaned and heavy breathed their way past us!
    Once down we followed the signs for Nine Arch Bridge ... our next destination.

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  • Day111

    Ella train station

    October 20 in Sri Lanka ⋅ 🌧 20 °C

    We arrived in Ella at 12.20pm after a v easy drive climbing up into the hills.
    We checked into Leisure Dream inn and then after planning our afternoon we got a tuk tuk 2 mins to Ella township.
    Ella is surrounded by lush, green imposing hills. The reason they r so green is because it is totally and utterly pissing down!!
    We had lunch in Chill cafe and ended up watching the Wales vs France nail biter.... well done Wales. It’s too wet and foggy to see anything we had planned- Little Adam’s peak and Nine arches bridge.
    We walked to the train station to get our ticket to Kandy for Tuesday- the trains we wanted were sold out so we had ended up on the 6.40am one.
    It is so v v wet that we decided To just come to another bar and watch the Japan vs South Africa game.
    Let’s hope it dries up a bit tmrw so we can see the sights of Ella before leaving on Tuesday.
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  • Day111

    An unexpected goodbye!!

    October 20 in Sri Lanka ⋅ 🌧 25 °C

    This am we reluctantly checked out of Jetwing Yala and were picked up by our driver Amila to take us to Ella.
    Ella is 2.5 hrs away, in central Sri Lanka hill and tea country.

    We were lamenting about the fact we didn’t see Short Tail before we left.
    As we drove around the corner to exit the property..... there was Shorty!! He came so close to the car we could have touched him through the window.!! We just sat there in wonderment as he stopped and then slowly sauntered past.... I think he came to say he was going to miss us!!
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  • Day110

    Last day at Yala - go the ABs!!

    October 19 in Sri Lanka ⋅ ⛅ 30 °C

    This am after breakfast we had been told we had “missed” short tail by 30 mins...not to be disappointed we “tracked” him... not hard as we just followed his foot prints across the dunes and found him at the next door property.
    Walking back to our beach we got caught in a monsoon downpour but it was lovely just to sit on the beach and listen to the rain.
    This afternoon has been dominated by the Rugby World Cup quarter finals.
    Now sat with a beer in a deserted bar with NZ winning 22-0 against Ireland at half time. Go the AB’s!!.... the wallabies r on their way home! ( sorry Nathan Skinner our number 1 Find Penguins reviewer!!)
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  • Day109

    A leopard and lots of other things

    October 18 in Sri Lanka ⋅ ⛅ 29 °C

    Up at 5am for our morning safari to Yala national park 15 mins away.
    We were greeted by a large group of brits who must have arrived yesterday but luckily we took our packed breakfast boxes and met our driver (his name we never quite got at that time in the morning in the dark!!)
    15 mins later we arrived at the park gate....to a queue!!
    A queue of jeeps and tourists- and this is quiet season.
    Once the park opened at 6am in we went and after being under and over taken by kamikaze jeeps we parked up whilst driver joined the queue to get the actual park tickets.
    6.20am In we went .... after being joined by a park guide we never asked for and didn’t want!
    The park was a beautiful mix of water holes and greenery with heaps of water buffalo wallowing up to their horns bathing in the water.
    Suddenly there was a blockage of Jeep’s and whisperings there was a leopard. Anyway to cut the next 10 mins of manic Jeep driving, 7 point turns in front of us and general jostling it was decided the leopard had gone.... then came a call on the guides phone.... another leopard was up ahead.... just from whence we had turned!
    Back up we sped and just got in place to see a male leopard cub 1 yr old walking through the bush just at the side of the road. He was pretty well camouflaged if he wasn’t moving and although we weren’t in a spot for a great photo we did have a clear visual with our eyeballs - we were extremely lucky.
    Despite Yala having the biggest population of leopards in the world (30) they r nervous animals and not easily seen so our sighting this am was special.
    However that was it for leopards. We spent the next 3 hours spotting everything from monitor lizards, mongoose, sambar deer, 100’s of peacocks, to skinks, spotted deer and jackals.
    We arrived back at the hotel at 10am hot and a bit tired.
    Also we hadn’t taken any cash so the guide and driver were pissed off we didn’t tip them- tipping has been the bane of our trip so far- pay your staff properly and do away with tipping!
    Despite this little bit of a sour taste it left us with we had a fabulous am on our Sri Lankan Safari
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