The past few weeks have involved hopping along the coast to seek out the next best beach. Finally it was time to make our way in-land to the ‘Hill Country’. Our usual routine has been rock up at the bus station and easily hop onto a local bus, no problem. The bus stations are a flurry of massive buses with guys shouting to advertise the destination and food vendors selling everything from dried fish to short eats to packets of crackers and biscuits. We’ve been pretty lucky to have always had a seat on the bus as they get rammed. However ironically for the four hour trip we found ourselves on a packed bus standing up, cue instant mega core work out and sweating!
To clarify I absolutely love getting the local buses. Sure they use their horns at every available moment and the overtaking can literally take your breath away but they are so much more interesting than taking air conditioned mini-buses or the such like. I found out there are government funded buses (the red ones) and private buses |(the white ones) who compete with one another so this is why they are always overtaking each other striving to pick up the passengers first and make the rupees. I have spent many a journey happily sitting on the bus staring out the window looking at little old men walking past with their sarongs wrapped round their waists, cigarette hanging out their mouths, cows and their calves lazing at the side of the road, children skipping along next to their mothers who walk with an umbrella to shade them from the blazing sun.
Back to our bus journey to Ella…India and I had to use every part of our body to stay standing as the bus swayed around the smaller roads. I was stood next to a policeman who started to make conversation. Let me tell you trying to recite the different ranks of the British police force whilst trying to stay upright is no easy task! A kind older lady who was sat down offered to hold my large bottle of water-excellent. After about an hour of arm stretching and shuffling to make room for new passengers we had seats. I still love those buses!
The views en-route to Ella are absolutely stunning. I was amazed the bus could slowly crawl up the pretty epic inclines but we got there in the end, two slightly shattered and very sweaty badgers in the hills! India suggested we try Beauty Mount guest house, it didn’t disappoint. Our room is very simple, you don’t need a fan in this cooler climate but the view is beautiful. Yesterday I went for an Ayurvedic full body massage, the thought of being horizontal and rubbed after the bus was too good to resist. Ayurvedic practices are everywhere throughout Sri Lanka. The massage involves using different herbal oils over the head and body and rubbing in quite a firm but comfortable manner. Feeling relaxed I decided our little porch would be the perfect place to practice the Shivananda yoga we learnt in Unawatuna. What an honour to be able to do yoga looking out to the hills!