2014 was our second visit to Sri Lanka. The first time was a ridiculously quick visit for some very good friend's wedding; with little time to experience what the country has to offer, plus jealous thoughts when seeing other friends' amazing photos, it was only a matter of time before we booked to go back.
The plan was to do it relatively cheap: backpacks and public transport. Our one free day during the wedding trip was to an elephant orphanage, but this time we got to actually watch their regular ritual of excitedly being led to the river to bathe and play.
I have a bit of an obsession about the idea of travelling by train, so once we were done in Colombo we booked our tickets for the long, jungle ride to Ella, in the mountains, way inland. This eight hour journey was incredible, providing opportunities to see so much scenery, you never tire of the views and the changing weather. People on board get out instruments and sing songs, you have the chance to quickly jump off the train to catch fallen fruit.
After a couple of night in Ella, exploring the area by hiking and tuktuk - caves, Buddhist monks, waterfalls with monkeys, plenty of fresh papaya and avocado, it was time to take a crazy bus journey back down the mountains to our next destination. For the first hour on the bus, I had no seat, no space and could only stand backwards with no choice but to keep my backpack on. When I finally got a seat next to Holly, we shared the window view and saw wild elephants crossing the road. Our next stop was Mirissa where there were plenty of choices of cheap hotels on one of the countries best beaches. My only regret and advice is to upgrade to a decent room with AC...we got no sleep...
Over the course of this trip I became pretty obsessed with coconut and how awesome it is for you. Not a new discovery, yet so readily available and cheap. Our final leg on the way back to the airport was Galle. This was another regret - not scheduling the extra night to stay here longer. Such a beautiful town, tragically affected by the Tsunami, but awesome with plenty to explore.