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The following day we wound our way up into the highlands stopping at a waterfall, with an interesting way of saving the environment, to the British built Nine Arch Bridge.

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From here we would walk, along the railway track, up to Ella station. Wendy led the way.

It's an active railway but trains are not frequent and one had just passed as we set out.

The railway is a tribute to Victorian engineering. It's wide gauge (5' 6"), single track, with passing loops and numerous tunnels. It winds its way all the way down to Colombo. Just surveying the route, before construction, must have been a herculean task.

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Above: Ella Station and bar - the best mojitos of the trip


Stragglers in our party arrived half an hour later, by which time we'd finished our mojitos in the pleasant bar near the station.


The next stop was nearby Bandarawela. The Bandarawela Hotel is a century-old British-colonial property built during the development of the hill-country railway. As we guessed, judging by the general milieu, the hotel had a 'European Only' policy until Sri Lankan independence in 1948.

At over 1,230 m (4,040 ft) above sea level it's known as Sri Lanka's first mountain resort hotel, "consisting of 33 comfortable colonial rooms with British furniture".

We liked it and spent quite a bit of time in the well-stocked bar. The back door of our big, traditional bathroom opened into a pleasant garden retreat.

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We were not so keen on the town, that, in places, smells of sewerage, and has at least one feral dog pack. 

As we had the best part of a day to explore, we got a tuk-tuk back to Ella, through the tea country. 

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Ella resembles hippy influenced resort towns everywhere - think Byron Bay or Bali: Candles, cotton, crystals, German tourists, but most importantly cafes' and bars and restaurants. On the way back was this intriguing pedestrian crossing. The guard-rail had a considerable drop on the other side.

Leaving Bandarawela we again travelled through tea country to Nuwara Eliya.

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The tea pickers are largely (all?) Tamil and thus Hindu, so this temple is well attended. The monkeys like it too.


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In October 2016 we flew from southern England to Romania.

Romania is a big country by European standards and not one to see by public transport if time is limited.  So to travel beyond Bucharest we hired a car and drove northwest to Brașov and on to Sighisiora, before looping southwest to Sibiu (European capital of culture 2007) and southeast through the Transylvanian Alps to Curtea de Arges on our way back to Bucharest. 

Driving in Romania was interesting.  There are some quite good motorways once out of the suburbs of Bucharest, where traffic lights are interminable trams rumble noisily, trolley-busses stop and start and progress can be slow.  In the countryside road surfaces are variable and the roads mostly narrow. This does not slow the locals who seem to ignore speed limits making it necessary to keep up to avoid holding up traffic. 

Read more: Romania

Fiction, Recollections & News




Jordan Baker and Jeff Purser were married on Saturday 3rd of December 2011. The ceremony took place on the cliff top at Clovelly.

Read more: Wedding

Opinions and Philosophy

Electricity price increases



14 April 2011

New South Wales electricity users are to suffer another round of hefty price increases; with more to come.

The Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) has announced that electricity prices for the average New South Wales resident will increase by 17.6 per cent from July.  Sydney customers will pay on average about $230 more each year, while rural customers will face an extra $316 in charges.  IPART says it is recommending the increases because of costs associated with energy firms complying with the federal government's Renewable Energy Target (RET).  The RET requires energy firms to source power from renewable sources such as solar or wind.

What is this about and how does it relate to the planned carbon tax?

If you want to know more read here and here.

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