Total exhilaration!

Pink post office
The Pink Post Office in Nuwara Eliya

Having never really cycled before, the prospect of 55 kms all steeply downhill from 2400 metres above sea level to just 400 metres, was a little daunting to say the least, not helped by a misunderstanding meaning that the first 16 kms were cycled with us wearing our normal clothes and not cycling gear.

Downhill day
Whizzing along on downhill day – look at the movement in my hair!

But I soon got the hang of it and it was truly a-maz-ing to the extent that the middle 10 kms where we cycled two quite long uphill stretches and otherwise remained on the flat, I felt positively cheated! I actually managed to overtake people on the downhills and did not finish last for a change.

Some of our group cycling on what was the most exhilarating day
Group photo
A group shot on downhill day. Don’t we all look smart in our Variety cycle shirts?

The cycling was interspersed by a visit to a tea plantation where we picked tea leaves, aided and abetted by some local women who were more than happy to be paid to help us in our quests to collect the most leaves in 15 minutes.

The countryside today was just spectacular – beautiful lime green tea plantations that stretched as far as the eye could see, garden supply stores overhanging the steep mountains, rocky outcrops and lovely little mountain villages with the requisite colourful temples and local roadside cafes serving delicious snacks.

Rocky vista
Another gorgeous view of the Sri Lankan highlands
Mountain top selfie
A group selfie taken in a mountain top cafe. I am not sure why I look SO teeny tiny!

IMG_7916On arrival in Kandy, we were treated to a wonderful picnic lunch in the Paredeniya Botanical Gardens and were then relieved to find that the facilities at our hotel were a step up from Fawlty Towers the night before.

IMG_0151IMG_1974There was not only a pool but a bar with happy hour cocktails, plug sockets that worked, showers that did not flood the bathroom and a balcony with a view from every room overlooking a river from where we could see the sun setting.

IMG_6383And – the following day was going to be a rest day. So overall, another really great day and what a relief to now be half way through the cycling.

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