Anniversary Trip – Sri Lanka

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!

CP CH 1st dinner

This was our bedroom.

CP CH big bedrm kitchen 2

Our sitting area.

CP CH sitting room CP CH sitting room 3 CP CH sitting room 2

The shower, which was outdoors.

CP CH shower

The hotel was really small, only 2 bedrooms.  Here are a few shots of the other bedroom.

CP CH bedroom CP CH big bedrm bath CP CH big bedroom 2

The hotel had a small pool.

CP CH pool

And its own bull.

CP CH 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.

Jackfruit

CP CH jackfruit bull

Mangos

CP CH jackfruit 2

Rose apples

CP CH rose apple

We got to eat lots of fruit for breakfast.

CP CH fruit

More shots of the hotel.  The décor was quite eclectic and charming.

CP CH big bedrm kitchen CP CH bull statue

CP CH reflect pool 2

We hired a tuk tuk to give us the tour of the surrounding area.

CP CH tuk driver

We did a little shopping in the local economy and purchased coconut drinks and cashews.

CP CH cut coconut CP CH coconut

After two days in Kaleliya, we boarded a train to Kandy, the third and final leg of our trip.

CP CH train

At the train station, Benjy was the only white guy probably within a 30 mile radius.

CP CH wait train

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.

CP TH house

Staying there, we definitely got the English manor vibe, complete with the English gardens

CP TH house 2

 

CP TH garden

 

CP TH tala table

stone architecture

CP TH Tala window CP TH front door

and billiards room.

CP TH billiards

The décor was cozy and inviting.  Here’s the living room.

CP TH living room

Dining room

CP TH dining

and sun rooms.

CP TH tea room CP TH sitting

There was also a pool.

CP TH pool

And stunning views.

CP TH roof view

CP TH view

CP TH benjy rock

CP TH benjy talal view

Here are some pictures of our room.

CP TH bedroom CP TH bedroom 2

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.

CP TH cricket4 CP TH cricket 7 CP TH cricket 6 CP TH cricket 2

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.

CP TH tea

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!

 

CP TH tea field 2 CP TH tea field 3

In this picture you can see the workers picking the tea leaves.  All of them are women.

CP TH tea pickers

And this is what they look like up close.

CP TH tea picker 5

Aren’t they simply beautiful?  I love their brightly colored clothing.

CP TH tea picker 6

The pictures of these ladies are my favorite photos of the trip.

CP TH tea picker 4

CP TH tea picker 2

CP TH tea picker

Our next stop was Loolecondera tea factory.  It’s the oldest tea factory in Sri Lanka.

CP TH tea factory

 After the tea leaves are brought from the field, they are laid out to dry.

CP TH tea 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.

CP TH tea dry 2

CP TH tea gather

CP TH tea crusherAs 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.

CP Th benjy tea pile

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!

3 thoughts on “Anniversary Trip – Sri Lanka

  1. Great photos of both wonderful locations. I could smell the tea from your description along with viewing all the photos. The Tea Picking Ladies are real beauties and dress so nice as well. I, like you two, could not figure out the pet bull either. Glad you had fun. Benjy IS a very thoughtful hubby to you. With kindest regards, Tim

  2. Congratulations on your Anniversary! Tala, so wonderful of you to share your amazing journey and photos. Funny reading about the cricket….. it’s true!
    B x

  3. What a wonderful 20th anniversary trip!
    Sri Lanka, how beautiful! — both jungle and mountain.
    And as Tim said, I can smell the tea after reading your words and seeing Benjy standing next to these hillocks of tea leaves.
    Now I must backtrack and see your experiences in the Maldives. Thanks for sharing these things with us:) — Anna

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