Tag Archives: trains

the best train ride ever

sri lanka trainWell, in my life anyway. I’ve travelled a bit by train. Moscow-Leningrad (was L at the time), Berlin-Warsaw-Vilnius-Kaunas, Mumbai-Kochi (before the west-coast train went in, so it went through Hyderabad and Bangalore. It was about 36hrs long. India hours, mind you), Mangalore-Goa, Mumbai-Ahmedabad-Jaipur, Jaisalmer-Delhi, Tashkent-Ferghana/Kokand, Tashkent-Samarkand-Bukhara, and NYC-Montreal. Some were hellish, some were quite nice, but this ride, though long, was gorgeous.

Some of the photos are blurred because of the motion of the train. Slideshow iv is done. It’s entirely the views from the train and train stations, so it’s a bit shorter than the others. Only two more shows after this, and the Sri Lanka photos will be entirely edited.

The train was the first we came across non-Sri Lankan tourists. There were two tattooed Germans (note the motorbike jacket over the seat) and a middle-aged French couple. They all got off in Nur-Eliya (Nuwara Eliya). We didn’t have the time.

There are photos of women tea-pickers. One is obvious, but the others are less so. Look for dots of white amidst the green of the tea plants. Again, Cerno and Sigma have good blog posts about tea cultivation in Sri Lanka (called Ceylon by the British colonizers).

train from ella to kandy

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I spent my morning looking for Ingrida Cox (née Gunkaite). We met in Klaipeda in 1995 and she moved to Australia with an Australian she later married. I lost track of her around 2000, I think. Today is her birthday (if you know how to reach her, send her to me via contact at GrumpyYoga).

I’m still editing the train photos. I love trains, and this was certainly the most scenic I’ve been on. We waited almost two hours for the train, as it was late. We’d booked our tickets on the first night we arrived in Ella, as the “scenic” car, which is somewhat comfy, sells out very early. We found our seats and settled in. I was glued to the window for hours, while Andrea read. He found me quite funny and childlike to be so excited by the train. How could I not be? It was so gorgeous, moving through that scenery.

We heard plenty of stories before and after about the safety of the trains, about how the tracks wash out, and how it’s common to be stranded in the middle of nowhere. By the end it was exhausting as the last few hours aren’t scenic, the novelty has worn off, and the train barely moves. A trip that would take two hours by car on western roads took about 10hrs on that train. But the views were incredible and the roads don’t offer the same views.

Slideshow to come.