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As we explained in the last post we had to take the bus to Kandy from Ella since the trains were on strike. We had one of the more expensive deluxe buses though. Up in the mountains of Sri Lanka it gets pretty cold very fast. On our way we saw Nuwara Elia another city in the mountains that is pretty famous. Unfortunately we did not really plan to stay there but probably we should have since there a a lot of tea fields and nature to see. Also we saw a lot of horses.
On the bus we booked our hostel on Hostel World as usual. J Hostel was the name of the place and we could walk there from the bus terminal once we arrived. Fernando also joined us again. The owners of J Hostel, a small family, were really helpful in arranging the perfect day in Kandy. The next day we woke up while there dog was making sure that all other dogs in the street left us alone =D.
The breakfast was nice and we went on to point one of our day: The royal botanic garden of Kandy.
The gardens were absolutely amazing and Johanna was completely in her element studying all the different plants, with their Latin names and all their variations.
After some time of wandering and checking out humongous bamboos and coconut trees and probably 100 different orchids we got us some tea and lassie in a small coffee store in the center of the park.
Afterwards we also met a family of monkeys, playing on the road and I had plenty of time to take some really nice close-ups of them. Before we left we also took a look at the cactus house.
As we exited the park we estimated that we could go to the cities tea museum but that we would not have too much time there. But since google estimates the average visit duration at 40 minutes we decided to give it a try and got us a tuktuk driver. A fun thing that we noticed is that many of the drivers have water bottles in their tuktuk, and many of them use glass bottles like for example the Stolichnaya vodka bottle.
We arrived at the tea museum and were given a tour through a lot of old machinery. This place was clearly a museum, what made it different from what we heard of all the tea factories. My personal highlight inside was a big model of the factory with lots of tiny moving machines and lights. It reminded me of a old factory model I built a long time ago out of Matador At the end we also go a free cup of tee to test.
The third must see sight we intended to visit was the large, white Buddha statue that you can see from several kilometers away. In the case of our hostel we could almost directly look into Buddha's face. The floor surrounding the statue is part of a monastery, infact the entire inner space of the statue consists of 3 levels of holy rooms. only one of them was open though. We had to leave our shoes at the entrance and went up the stairs. Tourists could go up to about Buddha's shoulder, and the view from there over the city is pretty nice, but still the statue itself blocks a lot of it. (the platform is kind of behind its back)
Afterwards we went home with our driver and had something to eat. The hostel family had already checked our seats and we took a tuktuk too the Kandy Cultural Center where we enjoyed a very fancy dance show. Short before it's end there was even a firewalking performance where two of the guys walked over burning (not just glowing) coals. Here are some impressions:
At this point we were already pretty exhausted, but since we were basically in front of the famous temple of the tooth we went in. To go in I had to cover my legs with a scarf, since I only had my short trousers on, so I needed to buy one. The tickets were pretty expensive. After walking into the inner parts we finally came to the point were we had to take off our shoes. Hundreds of other people were standing there busy taking theirs off as well, while police was guarding the entry. As we finally managed to get in Johanna was not really feeling well anymore. It was hot and tight between the enormous amount of people and from the inside you could hear the loud and dis-harmonic sounds of a Sri Lankan trumpet.
The main attraction of the temple is the shrine of the tooth, a big golden cylinder with lots of golden ornaments and stones. It is kept in a seperate room and you can walk past it and take a glimpse inside. Somewhere in the crowd I quickly switched to my tele lens and took a few images. A lot of the people where bringing flowers and put them down in the hall before the room. I also managed to take a picture of the guy who was busy cleaning up the tables again and had all the flowers in a big trash bin.
Once we were out we tried to relax for a moment. Then we found a little museum that was the museum of Raja the Tusker, a holy elephant thet who's body was mounted after his death.
Completely exhausted we had something to eat together with another lady who was in our hostel and then we went to bed. On the next day went on to Dambulla, the dog of the house said goodby by pissing against the wall in front of our door.