Day 11, Friday 14 March
After yesterday's epic excursion there is no apitite this morning for nother long day. We decide to stay at Royal Mount for a 3rd night and start to wind down this tour. By midday, we haven't even left the room. Then at about 1pm we walk the 1 km or so into Nuwara Eliya adding a visit to the 1914-18 war memorial and the local fresh market on the way. Next up I need to use the ATM. Everything from now on is over budget. On reaching the bus terminal, we establish an exit plan for tomorrow. There are a couple of options in the morning, the most likely being the 9.40am service to Galle on the south coast. We can just turn up, no need to book. This completes the jobs we came for. It's time for lunch.
With hopefully, enough money now to complete this Sri Lanka tour, I feeling more bullish at last but what should we do now for the rest of the afternoon? One attraction (one of a number of similar ones actually) is the Damro Labookellie tea factory. I've no idea how far it is but fix a price with a tuk tuk driver for an afternoon tour.
We head back along the Kandy road, further than I imagined; maybe 15 kms. When we arrive at the factory we are greeted by reception staff and allocated a guide for a tour of the factory. The factory facilities are not massive but nevertheless, the complete process of drying, cutting, optional fermentation, coasting and grading is explained while we pass through the production building. I feel I need to learn more about how the three types of tea, white, green and black can be produced by altering the production process. For example, I learn that the more finely graded the tea, the stronger it becomes. The final display shows that at least a dozen different types of tea are produced here from the same plants. More varieties can be produced by adding fruit flavours. In the lounge overlooking the plantation occupying the surrounding hills we are treated to a free cup of tea. Of course, the sales staff are attentive hoping that you will buy something but I seem to have collected enough tea on my travels which remains undisturbed in my cupboard. I can't bring myself to add more but of course it's a pleasure to come to the factory in the pleasant surroundings of the tea plantation.
Reaching the factory was all I really expected from our ride into the mountains but the tour normally includes a waterfall. There are a number of waterfalls in the area, some off the beaten track but two are visible from the road another 15 minutes beyond the tea factory. One I noticed, Ramboda Falls, looking out of the bus window on our journey from Kandy. As waterfalls go these are unspectacular now in the dry season but arriving here witnessing more lovely scenery, the wooded hills laden with tea trees, the high peaks, the valleys and lakes make this a trip not to be missed. Small villages with their allotments are also a feature producing an army of roadside vendors eagar to make a sale.
Good Value at Last……..
Returning to Nuwara Eliya it's late afternoon and it will soon be dusk. The trip has taken two and a half hours which I consider is really good value for a change. In the town we pick up some supplies and head back to Royal Mount. The trip has cost just £10. We also settle up with our host who has kindly supplied us with plates and utensils so we can self cater this evening. Now my expenditure is back under control and the day has gone well with no further issues. It's a pity there haven't been more of these.