The views on route down the mountain towards the waterfall are breathtaking and I don't think the pictures can quite do this country justice to be honest!
Matey Hut Cooking Class
We booked onto a Sri Lankan cooking class recommended in Lonely Planet with Matey Hut, a local restaurant. Off down a beaten track on the way to the Tea plantation, tucked away was our little kitchen... there were loads of spices and ingredients all out, all vegan and ready to make lots of curries. It was us, the Brophys and a South African couple so we were able to get involved in lots of the making process and all have a go at different things. We made coconut rotti, coconut sambal, banana curry, dhaal, pumpkin curry... to name a few! http://www.jesswondering.com/cooking-class-matey-hut/ has got a lot of the recipes and more information on this blog.
I would definitely recommend this as a must do in Ella or Sri Lanka in general. It was good to see more of the culture and treats which they make! It was all very tasty (albeit fairly spicy) and I don't think I will eat again for a while now!!
Finlay Green Tea Plantation
Given that there is SO MUCH tea here in Sri Lanka, we thought we should go and look around how it is made and try some tea. I love tea and working at Boston Tea Party with 25 different teas on offer I got to learn a lot about the brewing times and temperatures for each leaf. So I was probably a little bit more interested than Matt, but at a compromise we went to a green tea plantation as he can drink a bit of that rather than none of black tea! It was interesting to know that the same leaf can make black and green tea, it is just the process it undergoes after being picked that makes it taste different.
This factory was so quiet - we were the only ones there and it was closer to the Nine Arch Bridge we wanted to visit so it all worked well. If you want a bigger tour around plantations rather than just the factory I would advise going to Newlands the larger plantation for black tea.
Nine Arch Bridge
An iconic spot in Sri Lanka, especially for photographers! You can either walk from the green tea plantation side down a steep-is path or if you get the times of the trains walk from Ella station along the tracks. We enjoyed our scenic walk in the hills down to this spot above the bridge where we met a French couple and shared tea and cake from the small cafe there whilst awaiting the train. Which was a beautiful sight, albeit over quite quickly even though we had waited for quite a while!