I changed my hostel last minute and decided to stay closer to town at Sleep Cheap Hostel which was empty at first but became so busy as the days went on. The hostel was basic with an outdoor shower and toilet but the service was second to none. We had a free breakfast every morning, free tea and coffee all the time, and it was only 1000rps or 5euros per night.
On my first day I went to a cooking class at La Ella Breeze which ws recommended by Maia and Rianne. I had the worst pedicure of my life in one of the salons there while i waited for my class to start. The class was almost private and it was just myself and a british girl called Rachel which was fun. We made 5 different curries and had roti and hoppers (traditional Sri Lankan bowl shaped roti) and were completely stuffed by the time we had finished everything. I headed to a bar called One Love Cafe on the train station road which had a very vibey rooftop with hammocks, a fire pit and the best cocktails in town. Rachel joined me later and we ended up meeting a bunch of people and drinking almost all the cocktails on the menu.
The next day I had breakfast at the hostel with Fabian the only other person stayin wt the hostel. He was going to hike Ella Rock and I was meeting Eric and Careen also from Germany, who i met on the Sri Lankan backpackers facebook group. We planned to walk the train track (its the thing to do in Ella to get anywhere) to the famous 9 arches bridge and to see the train as it passed over. After this, we met two girls who joined us on our hike to Little Adams Peak which is one of the more relaxed hikes with as few steep stairs towards the top, but nothing too challenging.
The views were incredible as we climbed higher and higher to get the full view of Ella, the tea plantations, the mountains and of course the soaring sight of Ella Rock looking over town. Later on we all went to Dream Cafe, one of the more western style cafes, which had really good food. Eric and Careen moved out of their hostel and joined me at Sleep Cheap which was actually recommended to me by Bastian and Koen. I was so glad i chose to stay there.
The next day would be my last day in Ella and I was planning to meet Grace, a girl who was travelling with her dad and was keen to do the Ella Rock hike with mem while her dad chilled out and explored Ella for the day. We met that morning with a group of others from my hostel and we headed off down the tracks (as you do for almost everything in Ella) to get to Ella Rock. The thing with this hike is that it is very easy to get lost and its recommended to take a guide. However, once you have the right directions they are very easy to follow and making it there on your own is very doable. Here is the link i used to get to the top. It saved us and an english couple from getting lost. gapyearescape.com/ella-rock-hike-the-best-step-by-step-direct-route/
The views were unbelievable fromt the top, and even though i struggled with a hangover, 3 hours sleep, raw blisters on both feet and no food in my belly, I enjoyed the reward at the end. The view over Mini Adams Peak, Ella town and the wide landscape of lush green tea plantations was enough to set Sri Lanka aside from many other places I had been. Breathtaking! My last full day In Sri Lanka was spent sitting for 12 hours on two different trains and one bus until i reached Colombo Fort, the last stop of one of the best train rides in the world. I had reserved a second class window seat which was absolutely perfect, for the first half of the journey that is. The scenes out the window were like something from a fairytale. We soared high above the tea plantations, over bridges, looking down onto waterfalls below and in the distance. It was truly magestic. Until...... A fellwo passenger told me that we all had to get off the train and catch a bus to the next station. I didnt believe him, but when i was the last one left on the train, i believed him then. Another traveller told me he had heard that a train had fallen off a bridge and it was stopping us from passing that section but he wasnt sure. Either way, we were all ushered onto two tiny buses like a herd of cattle, squashed into every crevass of the vehicle. We held on for dear life as the bus sped around the sharp hilltop corners and finally got us to Hatton station. There I sat in three of the wrong seats in the wrong carriages until finally i found my section and could relax. Either the trains are confusing or im just easily confused. My last day would be spent in Colombo preparing for my next journey to Slovenia. I cant wait to share what this adventure will bring.