A Google search for "Sri Lanka" will most definiltey return at least one result for the must do, "Epic" train ride from Ella to Kandy (or vice versa). I read countless blogs which equated this to the highlight of their trip, a once in a lifetime ride, and breathtaking views, all in all it was something to not be missed during my visit to Sri Lanka. After a few days in Ella I was due to leave, meeting an old friend in Kandy my time in the sleepy yet enchanting town was coming to an end. Due to some of those blogs I read and a fellow traveler I talked to, I decided to book my train ticket ahead of time. This was another learning experience, neither was it necessary or beneficial to pay the extra price and be prepared, but you live and learn. The price difference was small so I decided to book a first class ticket, but that was a mistake.
The problem with first class is that it's air conditioned, I think the heat in Colombo and Mirissa had gotten to my head, causing me to forget that I was now in the hills, a much cooler region. Not only that, but AC meant windows that don't open and the highlight of this train ride would definitely be sticking your head out the window, breeze in your hair enjoying the view. So although I had a comfortable air conditioned seat, I spent the majority of the train ride sitting in a doorway on the floor.
It may sound like, and kind of did feel like a waste of a ticket, but regardless of where my seat was I probably would have wound up in that doorway anyway. It may sound uncomfortable, but it was more about the experience than the comfort, I had little time to think about how I felt because my mind was full of other feelings and emotions. The journey was roughly five hours, but looking back it felt much shorter. We passed through small villages, tea plantations, rolling hills and forests, with each scene being just as beautiful, if not more so, than the last.
To be quite honest I have no idea where my desire to travel to this country originated, but it festered and grew for nearly 3 years. In a sense it's a cleaner, safer, smaller India and having always had that country on my radar it seemed like the perfect test drive.