We have heard a lot about the famous Ella-Kandy train ride route through the mountains and tea plantations of Sri Lanka and this day we wanted to see it with our very own eyes.
The hotel owner in Ella woke us up really early in the morning. So that we could hurry to the station. In the background it began to dawn but we were just in time. Dog-tired but in time… The sun started illuminating the clouds in the distance and there was a thick fog lying over the valley.
When the train arrived it was nearly empty and we had plenty of room for our bags and stuff. We even had two seats at the windows. Usually the Ella-Kandy train ride is crowded with people… Nonetheless I abandoned my window-seat because I wanted to be at the doors of the train just like in Anuradhapura, with nothing blocking my or the cameras view. The train started and every photographers dream began – the Ella-Kandy train ride in the morning. We went into the mist, partly illuminated by the golden morning sun in the distance with the mist creating this cover and giving depth to the jungle forests along our way.
An old train
That alone would have been enough to make me totally happy with the journey because it looked gorgeous. Before we left the mist we stopped at a train station covered in mist with an old coal-powered locomotive standing there, waiting. It was just a magical sight: the lamps of the train contrasting the thick blue gray fog and the rails shining in the same colors, perfect for fotography, except way to many people thought so and took selfies, standing in one of the most beautiful frames possible with their phones, annoying the crap out of any photographer around.
They just destroyed the feeling, the atmosphere, the magic of the picture. It was funny to see the professional photographers though with their really big cameras from Canon and Nikon standing there rather puzzled, not knowing how to deal with the situation.
After some time the sun had risen up into the sky far enough to shine over the mountain peaks and it was bathing the world in a golden light. It was better than I could have ever imagined.
On the Ella-Kandy train ride
The sun started to warm the cold morning air slowly making the fog dissipate and retreat back slowly into the lower valleys. We in turn went up higher into the mountains through tunnels along really old, tall but rather thin trees. But every once in a while this forest opened up and gave view over the valley down below and we could see very far into the distance. The valley seemed like a crucible filled with humid air, being slowly heated up by the sun with white puffs of clouds and fog covering up everything like steam, slowly changing shape and moving as if they were alive themself.
But we also left this landscape behind and came out through another long tunnel. Now there were green tea plantations everywhere. Rows of tea wound along hills all the way into the distance. Huge mountains stretching all the way into the far distance… The sun illuminating everything beautifully. It was like another dream.
There were even waterfalls rushing down directly underneath the bridges we crossed with the train. The only thing we would have wished for was the train to stop. We would have loved to leave and stroll around this beautiful country for a while. Sadly it continued. Landscapes kept changing, still beautiful… Compared to the morning of this Ella-Kandy train ride fairytale it was a bit boring and dull though. Instead of gazing out of the window, I was writing diary. I was also eavesdropping on the conversation a German girl had with her little brother about Flo’s ukulele. Actually they (meaning her and her family) became quite good friends of ours during the next days in Kandy. But I’ll let Flo tell you more about that in our next post.