When we sat down to write this post we just couldn’t believe how many things we had done these past two weeks! And, as a quick reminder, we started the last week doing absolutely nothing because of Nick’s injured knee haha
Our mothers say our guardian angels must be working really hard during this trip and if there is a moment we could swear we met them, it was at our guesthouse in Dambulla.
Traveling every other day, creating content, editing, and posting it on our social media has been quite exhausting. We knew from the beginning we wanted to put as much work into this as we could – we’re not here on vacation, we’re trying to make a business out of it – so when Nick hurt her knee we were so afraid that she might need medical attention and it would rip off our savings… it was stressful.
But as soon as we arrived in Dambulla, our hosts immediately asked if we would be ok with them caring for it. Nick accepted and the owner’s wife, who didn’t speak a word of English, proceeded to fetch a bottle of golden oil, a bowl of hot water, and a balm. She then assessed the injury, applied hot water, massaged the knee with the oil, and finished with the balm. The pain relief was instantaneous. We asked what this special oil is made of and the answer was: no one knows! Apparently, people just travel to this old Shaman and he gives them special oils for everything (how amazing is that?!).
Two days later we were waking up at 4 am to hike up a mountain for sunrise and it was a big success! No pain, and a huge feeling of gratitude for this couple who stopped everything TWICE A DAY to treat Nick’s knee for so many days.
Note: If you’re ever in Dambulla, the guesthouse we mention here is Menara Green Inn. It has the best value for money we paid so far and the food is cheap and delicious. Not to mention you’ll be at the house of amazing and caring people!
Herbal Garden, Temples & Lakes
And well, even though our stay in Dambulla was limited, it wasn’t dull at all! Thanks to Asela, our local tuk-tuk driver, we manage to visit a local Herbal Garden (a must!), and quite a couple of out-of-the-beaten-path local temples and lakes.
Note: Asela is married to Chrissie, a german woman and the author of Travel Info Sri Lanka. We found their contact on her website along with lots of useful information about the country!
Sigiryia and Pidurangala
Once Nick’s knee was good, we managed to tick off one more dream from our bucket list!
You know that feeling when you see a place online, you think it’s amazing and you wish so badly you could visit it one day but it seems so unreachable from where you are in life right now?! This was Sigiryia and Pidurangala Rock for us.
We’ll never get over the feeling of achievement that flooded our hearts while standing on top of Pidurangala, watching the sun rise over the monumental Sigirya Rock…
If you met us five years ago in Brazil and told us we would be standing here we would laugh SO HARD at you hahaha life is funny this way. Here’s to chasing our dreams!!
Asela then took us to Kandy on a 2-hour tuk-tuk trip (easy to say we’ll never forget this). Kandy is a large city in Central Sri Lanka and is mostly known for the Temple of the Tooth Relic: a sacred temple that houses the sacred tooth relic of Lord Buddha. You can’t really see the tooth but the ceremony is beautiful!
We didn’t find much to do in Kandy (yes it is a bit overrated) so we tried to get a ticket for the famous scenic train to Ella town. Because of the pandemic and the current crisis, there were only a couple of trains available and they were all full so we hopped on a 3-hour taxi ride to a town called Nuwara Eliya.
Nuwara Eliya sits at an elevation of 1,868 meters and was nicknamed “Little England” because of its chilly climate and colonial-style architecture and well, because of the tea! It is here that you will find the lush tea plantations and factories that give Sri Lanka the title of Best Tea in the World.
There is so much to do here – from visiting tea factories to strolling around the city and hiking to beautiful waterfalls, we spent way much longer than we had planned in this chilly town. AND we managed to book the so wished train tickets to Ella!
The train ride is famous for a reason! It is really one of the most scenic rides and most awesome experiences we have ever had and it is a must-do when in Sri Lanka.
We can understand now why most people come to Sri Lanka just to visit Ella and/or stay here for weeks when backpacking the country.
Our favorite experience was hiking to Ella Rock for sunrise: we left in the dark of night, walked through the train tracks, and went up a very steep trail all the way to the top.
When people ask what adventure feels like, the thrill of this hike is part of the answer.
Then we visited Nine Arches Bridge. It rained the day before so the whole trek there was super humid and muddy. On our way back Nick felt something inside of her shoes (felt like dirt?!) and when she removed her shoes and socks: SHE GOT LEACHED! Not only on her foot (twice) but also on her inner tight and it was a nightmare. Think of us in the middle of the train tracks, Nick screaming with her skirt up asking Bruno to remove the leech, and Bruno terrified of pulling the leech out of her. NIGHT-MARE.
Now we’re on our way to the city of Negombo – the best place to stay if you need to be close to the airport (Colombo is really far away from it), and next week we’ll hopefully be writing this blog directly from Vietnam!