9:30 am

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And so it begins- the journey that is recommended by EVERYONE :)

A FULL 8- hours and I feel this is how the tourists can capture an accurate perspective on the Sri Lanka way of life.

When planning this day- we thought the train ride MIGHT be around 6 hours but quickly learned we were looking at closer to 8.

Good thing we packed food and water and that I am a pushing little rude American and managed to squeeze my way into some pretty sweet seats for Maureen and me- there was a number of individuals that had to stand for almost the full 8 hours, so I was very grateful for the spots we had.

I wish I could somehow put into words the emotions, thoughts, questions... that all arose on this train ride but I just can’t seem to find a way to gather the correct wording and feel that it depicts what was experienced.

As you drive through the different towns, you begin to pick up on those that are nearly poor, low-income factory workers and those of a bit higher profession ( which appeared to be working for the Milk Factory)

What gets me, despite working a very labor intensive job, the townspeople would eagerly stop for a moment- look up, smile and wave to the train packed full of tourists and locals alike.

I of course, couldn’t but help stick my whole top portion of my body out the window and wake back in glee. I think Maureen feared I might fall out a couple of times.

This train ride provided the opportunity to see wildlife, mainly monkeys, tea fields, tea plantations, a milk plantation (oddly enough, the only building in all of Sri Lanka that appeared to be equipped with a significant amount of security), townsmen and women, the agricultural (cloud forests), and of course- the opportunity to meet and communicate with other travelers (Myril from Denmark in particular).

The agricultural beauties and varieties are really where most of my questions stem from. Like how can one town be a forest and the next a jungle? Hydrangea bushes?!? Does that seem right?

Regardless- this is a trip I recommend to anyone traveling to/through Sri Lanka. And if you do make it, get there early, the seats fill up quickly and I would pack food but if you are unable to, they provide a wide variety of their local delicacies (some, very few are gluten-free- I did enjoy a roasted peanut of some sort).

I think I may have exceeded my threshold on photos for this trip and sadly my camera battery died early on, BUT we still made the most of it!

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