The second and third legs of our trip were in Sri Lanka. Although we hated to leave the Maldives, we were excited to see what Sri Lanka had to offer. Our first stop was a boutique hotel called Casa Heliconia located in Kaleliya, just outside the capital city of Columbo.
Benjy had planned our trip to be a relaxing one, so instead of going on tours or activities, we pretty much laid around, ate a lot and relaxed–something we haven’t done much of post-kiddos.
For this leg, Casa Heliconia was the destination and it was definitely an experience! It was pretty much in the middle of a jungle with not much around it. The website describes the hotel as “jungle glam.”
When we arrived it was dinner time and we were greeted with a traditional Sri Lankan meal. Lots of curry!
This was our bedroom.
Our sitting area.
The shower, which was outdoors.
The hotel was really small, only 2 bedrooms. Here are a few shots of the other bedroom.
The hotel had a small pool.
And its own bull.
I couldn’t figure out what he was for. Being a bull, he obviously didn’t provide fresh milk. Neither was there any indication that he would eventually end up as dinner. I think he was a sort of pet/lawn mower/decoration. The hotel staff told me to steer clear of him because they said he wasn’t very friendly.
There were lots fresh fruit trees on the grounds.
We got to eat lots of fruit for breakfast.
More shots of the hotel. The décor was quite eclectic and charming.
We hired a tuk tuk to give us the tour of the surrounding area.
We did a little shopping in the local economy and purchased coconut drinks and cashews.
After two days in Kaleliya, we boarded a train to Kandy, the third and final leg of our trip.
At the train station, Benjy was the only white guy probably within a 30 mile radius.
Kandy is located in the mountains of Sri Lanka. We stayed at hotel called Taylor’s Hill. Sri Lanka was formerly a British colony and as you can see the house reflects that style of architecture. The house was built over 100 years ago by a British tea planter.
Staying there, we definitely got the English manor vibe, complete with the English gardens
and billiards room.
The décor was cozy and inviting. Here’s the living room.
and sun rooms.
There was also a pool.
And stunning views.
Here are some pictures of our room.
The hotel workers were all young men, probably in their 20’s. They were so friendly and kind. They invited Benjy to play cricket, which is not a sport he has ever played, nor a game he has ever been able to figure out. He said that once while on deployment, he fell asleep watching a cricket game and there was a guy a bat. Four hours later when he awoke, it was the same inning and the same guy was still at bat. Talk about a slow game! But cricket is quite popular and Sri Lanka. Their national team is one of the best in the world. Benjy was a good sport and played with them for almost 2 hours.
In keeping with the whole English manor theme, we enjoyed high tea every afternoon. I have to say that I’ve grown quite fond of taking tea. There’s just something so endearing about sitting down, having a cup of tea along with little fancy snacks and enjoying each other’s company.
And speaking of tea, we went up to one of the tea plantations to have a look around. There were acres and acres of tea bushes. Just gorgeous country!
In this picture you can see the workers picking the tea leaves. All of them are women.
And this is what they look like up close.
Aren’t they simply beautiful? I love their brightly colored clothing.
The pictures of these ladies are my favorite photos of the trip.
Our next stop was Loolecondera tea factory. It’s the oldest tea factory in Sri Lanka.
After the tea leaves are brought from the field, they are laid out to dry.
There are many stages to the tea making process, but I won’t go into great detail about it. Here are some pictures of the process.
As you can imagine the air inside the factory was saturated with the scent of tea. It smelled so lovely! And yes, those are piles and piles of tea waiting to be bagged up.
And that was our anniversary trip! Benjy did a great job planning it and we had a wonderful time! Here’s to another 20 years and more!