Woke up early after another night of sleeping badly and headed straight to the shower to wake up properly. Went down for breakfast and used the wifi to organise ourselves for the next couple of days. Grabbed our stuff from the dorm said goodbye to Dikshanta who had been planning on joining us in our visit to Kandy but clearly decided against it after yesterday’s walk. After checking with the hostel manager which bus we needed to catch (pretty much any of them!!), we crossed the road and jumped on the first bus that stopped – the buses won’t stop to pick up more passengers if they are full, unlike India that keeps putting more and more people on. Got off opposite the train station and used the bridge walkway to get into the station by which time we were both melting in the heat and humidity – it wasn’t even 9am! Managed to work out which platform we needed to be on and sat down with our bags people watching. Lots of western tourists with very short shorts(!) and exposed underwear really gave us the impression that we were a million miles away from India. A deaf mute guy signed to us about the trains and, after asking us what class of carriage we had booked, told us where to stand on the platform. He seemed a bit worried when we didn’t get on the first train that came into the platform but a bit of writing on hands explained we were waiting for the next train. We were chatting on the platform about how Sri Lanka felt so safe and Jayne said how she didn’t feel compelled to lock her daypack like we had before during our time in India. I mentioned how we shouldn’t be complacent as that’s when things get stolen!! As we boarded the train and did our usual routine of holding each other day packs whilst the other gets sorted with their big bag, there was a commotion behind us. The guy behind had just had his day pack stolen – full of all his money, passports and electronics. The tourist police were there within minutes but it was a good reminder to us to make sure we don’t let our guard down anywhere! The first class AC carriage was nice – it even had a film showing (Baby’s Day Out) and I kept having to poke Jayne to remind her to look out the window rather than watching the film!! The three hour train journey took us through some absolutely stunning countryside – the views of the mountain area and surrounding forests were spectacular. Arrived in Kandy and waited for our transfer to our hostel… And waited… And waited… Since we hadn’t paid for it, we decided after 30 mins to just started walking the 3km uphill. Wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be and was certainly good training for EBC (if we end up doing it!). Found our hostel and checked in with a free welcome drink – could get used to this!! The hostel looks out over the valley and I took full advantage of the swimming pool, despite it being freezing. I spent the rest of the evening reading my book on the terrace whilst Jayne investigated car hire companies for when Nicola arrives. Got chatting to two girls who were also staying at the hostel and had dinner with them before going to bed in our two-person dorm (bliss!) and falling asleep by 9pm – so rock and roll!!
Friday 29th January 2016