The central hills of Sri Lanka are home to many small villages. The land is beautiful. Pine trees mingle with eucalypts and other more exotic arboreal species. Smiles are as abundant as the verdant tea bushes that blanket vast tracts of hillside. The town of Ella is particularly charming. Days there are spent walking, eating curds and honey, and sipping fresh tea while marveling at the plunging valleys and cliff lined hills.
Ella was a major breath of fresh air for us and gave us time to relax and learn more about Sri Lankan culture. An important prerequisite to a good time in Sri Lanka is learning who to ask for help. Ella is a good place to practice. Asking the wrong person can lead to a game of “what is it going to take to get this person to leave me alone” but Ella is such a pleasant place that getting stressed is pretty difficult. Most Sri Lankan people are genuinely friendly, supremely hospitable, and happy to help. The touts (people who find customers for a variety of businesses and receive a commission) can be an extreme test in patience. Distinguishing between the two is vital.
Pain in the ass as they sometimes are, when we arrived in Ella and all the popular guest houses were full, it was a tout that came to our rescue. A mostly toothless barefoot man led us down a winding path to Raveena Homestay which was cheap, clean, and boasted excellent views. We ended up staying three days and nights. Our days started with tea on the veranda followed with a few hours of walking. In the evening we feasted on incredible home-cooked Sri Lankan cuisine. I even convinced Val to forgoe some precious sleep to take a moonlight stroll up Little Adams Peak to witness the sunrise. We were looking for a little R&R and we found it in Ella.