Or should I just call it Serendipity?
With all of the plans that go right, they are equally matched by plans that completely go wrong. These are those moments that everyone talks about being the ones that define you. Fortunately for me, my travel partner, best friend aka husband is one of those people who always know how to spin these moments for the good.
Here is what happened:
As one of our key attractions, we dutifully planned our trip waaaaaay down south to Ella where we would climb the historic and iconic Adam’s Peak. It is traveled by thousands of Buddhist people each year despite the fact that it is a 3 hour hike into the sky. It holds religious significance to these people and others because of the eerie “footprint” at the summit noted to mark the place where Adam from the Bible first fell to the earth, thus the name, Adams peak. Buddhist people include this in their pilgrimage because they believe the print was made by Buddha himself and still others claim it was made by Shiva. Regardless, we were up for the hike! So we hopped on an 8 hour train (which of course was delayed making it more of a 10 hour train) south south south to Ella where the great mountain stood.
It was pitch black when we arrived and none of the Tuk Tuk (taxi) drivers recognized the name of our hotel so we set out on foot to find it ourselves. As you can imagine, we got wildly lost following dirt paths through mountains. Without flash lights (not even little cell phone flashlights) or cell service, we ventured on for about an hour before we realized that we weren’t about to find our destination on our own. Tired and sweaty, we decided to stop at the next lit hotel we saw, which turned out to be a little Homestay. To our great fortune, an angel of the Lord lived in the small home and recognized the name of our destination. He said that the only way to get there was to follow him– it clearly wasn’t his first time to be bothered by lost and clueless travelers headed to this hotel. He grabbed his flashlight (which he didn’t even use to guide his own footing but gave to me so help with mine–seriously an angel) and guided us through dense trees and down unrecognizable dirt paths. We ventured across railroad tracks and over small rivers. Finally, we reached our destination…..only to find that it was VACANT. I am talking no lights, no sound, NO ONE HOME. We knocked….heard nothing…. then crept in, all the while calling aloud for the hotel owners. (IS THIS A SCENE STRAIGHT OUT OF A HORROR MOVIE OR WHAT?!)
AND YOU KNOW WHAT WE DID? WE WENT IN FURTHER.
We literally walked in (to an entrance with nothing but a mattress leaned up against a wall) and after deciding no one was downstairs, we went up a old dusty staircase in the corner. Still calling for anyone and everyone we reached the the top of the stairs and froze when we saw on an outdoor sort of deck, a group of people (maybe 7) staring at us.
THEN THEY LEAPT TO GRAB US! — just kidding. It turned out to be the hotel owners and a few of the guests. You can imagine the scene, here we are dead tired from a long day on the train, hot and sweaty from hiking to their hotel and starving for dinner. The owners eventually led us back down the stairs to our room but when we found that there was NO AC and a crying baby in the room next to us (which with windows open might as well have been in our room) we gave that place one big BYE FELICIA and left.
We found another hotel for the night, ate the cost of the planned hotel and wished for the best for our hike in the morning as we fell asleep in the foreign town.
THEN the UNFORTUNATE EVENT HAPPENED.
— oh you thought the hotel fiasco was the aforementioned “accident”? Nope.
So the next morning comes and we are up and ready to rock and roll when we find out that Adams Peak, you know, the mountain that we came to climb? Yeah it is located in NUWARA ELIYA NOT “ELLA” WHERE WE WERE.
WE MISSED THE ENTIRE TOWN BY THREE HOURS!! WHAAAAAAAAT. YEAH.
How does that even happen?
Well okay– it happens because “Little Adams Peak” is in Ella….and Eliya sounds a lot like Ella……womp
Either way, it was too late to change plans because we wouldn’t have time to rearrange and still make it to our next destination.
SO YOU KNOW WHAT WE DID?
We rented mopeds!
AND IT WAS THE BEST THING EVER!!!!!!! We each got one (literally paid $5 each for an entire day of riding) and we rode the heck out of those things!
We started by exploring the small town, then once we got feeling more comfortable on them, we went up mountains and through cities.
We went down a long, long path to a huge water fall. Ravana Waterfall
We rode to Little Adams Peak and climbed that thing.
We rode and found cool restaurants to check out.
We even rode to two different tea factories and went on a tour to see the entire tea making process.
We had the absolute BEST time.
The views we saw were SECOND TO NONE.
The next day we woke up…..
RENTED TWO MORE AND DID THE WHOLE THING OVER AGAIN! 🙂
By sweet serendipity, we fell into what turned out to be my favorite experience of our entire trip.
It was incredible.
Take my word for it, if you go to Sri Lanka, skip Adams Peak and head straight on through to Ella where you can moped to your hearts desire.