From Kandy to Tea Country

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Monday started with a more than opulent breakfast at our rather high class hotel Thilanka. We then went down to the city centre to visit the temple of the tooth. Entry to the whole temple area is heavily guarded and guards not only check your bags but also refuse the entry for people that are not “appropriately dressed”, meaning that show knees or shoulders. So make sure you’re either “covered” enough or bring a big scarf or the like, to cover sensitive body parts while in the temple area.

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To enter the temple itself you need to pay an entry fee of 1000 Rupees and leave your shoes at the shoe office. Leaving them doesn’t cost a fee but you are supposed to leave a donation. Or you take off your shoes a bit out of sight from the officials and put them in your bag. It is supposedly not allowed, but it means you have them directly at hand when leaving the temple. The inside of the temple is nice and contains the shrine for Buddha’s tooth itself and an upper level to worship and give flower offerings. The outside contains some more buildings, two museums but nothing especially spectacular.
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Also within the temple boundaries but outside of the ticket area are several Hindu shrines which were actually nearly more interesting than the buddhist temple. We checked them out before going shopping. Kandy is quite a big town with lots of shops but we headed to the shopping centre in the city centre to buy some clothes at Odel, the trendy clothes chain here in Sri Lanka. My new t-shirt is not especially Sri Lankan or cheap in anyway but I like it and that’s all that counts, isn’t it?
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After shopping we quickly got some short eats (handy pastry filled with stuff like vegetable curry or a spicy chicken paste) and then got on the bus to go to Nuwara Eliya. Even though the actual distance between those two cities is not that high, the difference in height is. From Kandy being at 400m above sea level you need to get to near 1900m in Nuwara Eliya. And this means many serpentines.

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And more and more the rugged hills were covered with tea plantations. We even stopped at one. But actually the tea there that we got at their cafe did not really trigger me to buy some. When I heared what a tea plugger makes per day (900 rupees, so 6€ and I spend around 3000 per day so far, not including accommodation) I didn’t really feel like buying tea. On the other hand buying tea means those women have a job after all.
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After a four hours drive we then finally arrived in Nuwara Eliya. We didn’t get to see much of town as it was dusk already when we arrived and dark by the time we left for dinner. Speaking about dinner here is a place we cannot recommend: Colling Wood Hotel! You know, I do not mention bad places often. But this restaurant at Badulla Rd, opposite the race course not only had weird service but also not very tasty and cold food at quite a high price. After that experience we quickly made our way home and to bed as the next day started at 4 am.

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