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Kandy – Travel Blog for Fredrik and Gunnhild
Travel Blog for Fredrik and Gunnhild

Kandy

 We took the highly recommended scenic train ride from Colombo to Kandy, even though it meant we had to get up at 5.30 am. We bought first class tickets and expected an observation deck and a bit of luxury. What we got was dirty windows, seats falling apart and a bun filled with onion for breakfast. It was a really bumpy ride, so we didn’t dare to accept the tea or coffee being served. The views were not that spectacular either, probably because we are spoiled Norwegians. A few waterfalls and some hills far away wasn’t that impressive, but it was interesting to see all the people living along the railway and how green it was everywhere. We arrived 30 minutes after schedule and were picked up by a driver from the hotel. Kandy is the second largest city in Sri Lanka, but it felt a lot smaller. It was a little bit colder (but still warm) since it’s 500 meters above sea level, and the city center was nice to walk around in with lots of shops, restaurants and markets. We stayed in Hotel Suisse, located close to the artificial Kandy Lake, and just a short walk from the city center. The colonial style hotel had large rooms, an open-air reception, a classy bar, a billiard room, a nice garden and a big pool. During our lunch just after we arrived, we got a visit from two of the monkeys living in the trees surrounding the hotel. They finished our sandwich, licked the ketchup jar clean, and even had some salad for dessert. Fun!
 We spent a bit of time in the hotel, just relaxing by the pool, watching the hundreds of bats living in the trees by the pool, playing snooker, talking to other guests and having a massage. The only problem was that they didn’t have Lion beer (there were some delays in deliveries because of a recent flood), and the alternatives were quite tasteless. But they had some nice cocktails, and very accommodating staff (although quite slow as in the rest of the country). We had dinner in the garden two evenings. There was a buffet dinner, but they had a terrible keyboard player singing in the corner, so we stayed away. The first night we shared a curry, and the waiter got a bit eager bringing all kinds of side dishes from the buffet, so we couldn’t even finish half of it. The next day we shared an Australian beef, which was really, really good.
 We did some sightseeing while in Kandy as well. We went to a nearby tea factory named Geragama, where we got to taste some of their tea, have a short walk around the plantation and a guided tour around the factory. All their machines (except one) were over a 100 years old (left by the British), and they were doing a lot of manual work like turning the drying leaves. We learned about the process of making the different tea types and about the different qualities of their finished products. We also bought some tea to bring home to Norway.
 We also stopped at a view point with great views over the city center, the lake, the large Buddha overlooking the city, temples and the surrounding hills. We visited Temple of the tooth, which houses Sri Lanka’s most important Buddhist relic – a tooth of the Buddha. You don’t get to actually see the tooth, but there’s a lot of other relics, statues and paintings telling the history of the tooth.