Sri Lanka ’13 – Great Railway Journey in the Mid Country

Sorry I’ve been gone so long, I’ve been living life to the full ……… on the Resplendant Island.   Since my post in July I’ve had articles posted in both Oasis Living and Outdoor UAE magazines, and September will see another article printed in Oasis Living, this time an overview of our amazing 17 day trip touring Sri Lanka.  In the meantime I’ll share some photos and anecdotes of our favourite adventures there.

I love trains, not the sleek electric trains of most of the UK, nor the modern diesels of Scotrail.  The ones I love are either steam, or vintage diesel, old, creaking and full of character as they ply their way past amazing scenery.

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The slow train from Kandy trundled into the station, and we took our seats.    As there was not a first class carriage, nor a second class, Neil  bought us seats in third class.  However, I rode the whole two hours to Badulla, and most of the return journey, hanging out of the door snapping at anything that looked remotely interesting…. taking over 500 shots!

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I felt quite safe, even going over bridges….. long way down!

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However the elevated track meant we had a fantastic view of the villages and towns we passed

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and the farmers tending their fields

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as well as the odd Buddhist temple

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There wasn’t a buffet carriage, but a young man came round with a basketful of these tasty snacks.

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The train wound its way through the hilly terrain; it was only 23kms as the crow/crane/ibis/peacock flies, but over 40kms by rail!

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The old train (circa 1979) wasn’t steam but its exhaust did look a bit smokey at the inclines!

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The train is a lifeline for the very rural communities in the hills

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We crossed the bridge to Badulla where mothers cleaned their washing – and bathed their children – in the river.

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We had three hours to kill before the return train and after a light lunch we wandered around, visiting shops and a temple.

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We arrived back at the train station early to make sure we got a seat  door, and paused to speak to the mail train operatives

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They invited us in for a tour of their carriage, where they eat, sleep and work on shifts as they travel between Columbo and Badulla (12 hour trip) and sort the mail.  All too soon it was time to couple up the locomotive and head down the tracks.

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Due to poor light I don’t have many photos of the return journey but when darkness fell I sat mesmerised as huge bats soared overhead, fireflys illuminated the trees almost as if they were covered with twinkling fairy lights, and the equatorial night sky emerged from the dusk.  I think this show is held nightly so if you do find yourself in Badulla, make sure you take the 6pm train!

 

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