Once again we woke up to the amazing breakfast and luxury of the Hotel Suisse. We saw many comments on trip advisor of how the this hotel was tried and old, but compared to what we were about to go to, this hotel was pure luxury.
We headed out around 9am to head towards Kitulgala. Along the way we had several stops. Our first stop was at a wood working shop. We had a guide take us around and show us all the furniture they made by hand and the different wood carvings they did. They also showed us how the rainbow tree worked, which was amazing. This tree they can mix the tree shavings with lemon and iron and produce different pigments of paint. It is quite amazing.
Next we headed off to the spice gardens. The spice gardens actually cooler then we thought. We learned what different spices looked like, but we also tried a nature tiger balm and we tried a nature hair removal cream. I wish we had bought the natural hair removal cream. For years, monks had used this cream to keep their heads hair free. The longer you use it, the longer it takes the hair to grow back. Some times you can be hair free for 5 years the sales people claim. There is nothing like it in Canada that I know of. So it would have been interesting to bring it back and try it here.
Next we headed off to the tea factory. We were expecting to get the chance to walk in an actual tea field, however, I think the tea factory may have been the correct way to go. This day was pouring on and off rain, and this part of Sri Lanka is said to have a similar climate to the rain forests. So this was the perfect climate for leeches. One of the men in the tour group behind us got a leech on them, during the factory visit. The tea factory had been working producing tea since I think the 1920s, and still had the original process and working machines. It was really cool to see these old machines still working un-touched by time. We also got a tea tasting of the 6 different types of tea that they make in Sri Lanka.
At this point we checked into our hotel, Kithulgala Rest House. This hotel is cool because it is right on the waters edge, it is also the hotel that the crew of The Bridge on the River Kwai stayed at. Our hotel was in the middle of the jungle. It was in a small village that consisted of other hotels along the river for tourists. Our hotel is known as a guest house. It did not have any air conditioning or wifi. Our room was full of bugs, which made sense because the “air conditioning” was leaving the door open.
This town is known for its water sports. The river here has lots of rapids and has a lot of opportunities to go river rafting. This town also has lots of leeches. We were warned not to wander around outside, since we would get leeches on us. We had a nature walk booked for 3pm. We were not very excited about this due to large amounts of rain. They tried to see if the rain would pass, but it continued to come down harder. So we bucked up and grabbed gold umbrellas and went for it. Now the down side of rain and golf umbrellas was that its hard to see nature with an umbrella in your hand. Its also hard to see animals in the rain.
The thing about our nature hike that probably ruined it for us, was the trail was all muddy and slippery, and I fell into the forest and was covered in leeches. Leeches in Sri Lanka are tree leeches, they live on plants waiting for a passing animal. They are pink, like earth worms, and there are many of them. I got about 50 on me, but none bit me since we got them off fast enough. Andrew was bit by 4. We also had to cross a river in our running shoes, so that dampened our spirits. But had this been a sunny day, it would have been a nice hike with fun bridges and lots of rocks to climb.