Sri Lanka was known as Ceylon before 1972. Ceylon was the name given by the British. Sri Lankan or Ceylon tea is well known for its high quality. Tea production is the largest industry in Sri Lanka.
I was surprised to learn that Sri Lank is the largest exporter of tea in the world and is the 4th largest producer of tea in the world. Wondering what’s 1, 2, and 3? 1st China, 2nd India, and 3rd Kenya. Many large name tea companies sell a blend of teas from these 4 countries and others. They may add to it….mint, vanilla, ginger, etc and add their label and sell as theirs. Check out your tea box – does it say where the tea came from? Or maybe google the company to find out. Might have been Sri Lanka! So needless to say, with Sri Lanka as the 4th largest producer of tea in the world, we saw a lot of tea bushes and drank a lot of tea.
We found all of these tea bushes and beautiful landscapes after the elephants (picking up where the last blog post ended). We were inland around the center of the country and we headed north. We enjoyed some time in Ella, Nuwara Eliya, and Kandy. What a beautiful contrast from the coastal beaches. We got to do some hiking and ate more great food.
In addition to the tea, Sri Lanka is also known for their warm and friendly people, with smiling faces, and always stopping to talk. The caretaker of our guesthouse in Ella invited us to his home for Thai Pongal holiday festival meal. We had noticed lots of advertisements in town for cooking classes so we asked him if he and his wife would be willing to do a cooking class with us. We could all prepare the meal together. That was an unforgettable experience!
We took the train and rode the famously beautiful train rides through breathing scenes. We got the 3rd class tickets which were the least expensive with open windows. We were told by other travelers they were the best for views and photos.
We saw mountains, various shades of green tea bushes, went through mountain tunnels, saw large tea plantations, rice fields, little villages, and lots of people. Each section we took Ella to Nuwara Eliya, Nuwara Eliya to Kandy were both about 3-4 hours long.
As this feels like our wave to Sri Lanka….hello and goodbye – or maybe see you later!