We had our first sensible morning start time, at last. We left our swanky but very busy, large hotel at 08:30 along with three other larger tourist buses. Today we were heading into Sri Lanka’s Golden Valley of Tea.
Our first stop to break the journey along the very twisty, turning road around rolling hillsides thick with tea bushes, was at what must be the most touristy of the tea plantations. Here, we had a chance to sample various brews of tea including black tea, white tea and broken orange pekoe. What a travesty PG Tips is but, then, I’ve known that for many years. This place was clearly geared up for larger tourist parties and I couldn’t help but think that one of the many others might’ve been a more intimate prospect. I did find an impressive Datura growing beside the car/coach park which Francine managed to do justice to on pixels.
Second stop was at the Grand Hotel at Nuwara Eliya, known as Little England due to its red phone boxes, Victorian colonial architecture and rose gardens, for lunch. Here, a big deal was made of its brick built post office but I couldn’t find that particularly exciting. Much more interesting would’ve been the bustling bus station opposite which looked very Asian.
We continued our journey purportedly to see three waterfalls of which there are many courtesy of all the rolling hills. Our bus called into an overlook of the first; it was distant, not particularly gushing and partly obscured by the all too frequent modern affliction of cables strung across the view. With apparently no way down to get nearer, we scratched it. The second waterfall fell to the cutting room floor in similar fashion.
We approached a third waterfall, Devon Falls, and took a side road. One of our three chiefs alighted and went looking for access. We were close and he’d found a path to the water’s edge. We followed. Hmmm. We were actually at the top of the waterfall rather than looking at its fall. The water flowed over smooth granite rock, gently descending, before it fell precipitously into the valley below at an edge. Health and safety had not been here – great care was needed. The gentler top section that could be photographed easily might’ve been anywhere. This was not what any of us had in mind and it looked as if this part of the tour had not been planned properly but had been done on the fly. Unimpressed.
We stayed for about an hour and were joined by a local family who turned up and began bathing and doing their laundry in the river. Whilst that spoiled what there was of waterfall landscape, it was actually the most interesting part of our stay. Our pro photographer approached them and they all joined in playing to the cameras. Our investigator-in-chief managed to let his long lens drop into the water. The poor ol’ lens was swiftly washed downstream and over the edge of the waterfall into the valley beneath. Oops!
The journey continued and we wound up at our accommodation for the next two nights, the Farm Resorts at Dickoya. Being a couple, Francine and I were blessed with a brand new room – brand new in that it was very nearly finished. Most of it worked though, apart from the electrical wires sticking out of the wall with nothing attached to them (not bare – no problem), and we had a splendid view over the reservoir from our beautifully positioned balcony, looking very calm and restful as evening fell. Naturally, evening fell assisted by a couple of cold Lion beers.
That big water without vegetation didn’t look very promising but the property and accommodation certainly did.