Because of the chaotic traffic and the winding roads the taxi ride from Kandy to Ella was far from relaxing. Therefore it was a relief to arrive in the small backpacker-hub on the southern edge of Sri Lanka's hill country.
With a handful of shops, bars and restaurants, Ella is a perfect base for exploring the surrounding hills. There are plenty of hotels and guesthouses (and still more are build) and I stayed at a guesthouse with a terrace view on Ella Rock.
Ella is the hiking hotspot Sri Lanka's hill country. Since I didn't fancy a challenging hike, I did a fairly easy trek to Little Adam's Peak. This hill got its name from its big brother, the holy mountain Adam's Peak, due to the similar shape. The path goes through tea plantations and it took me about an hour to get to the top (1141m).
On my way back I descended to the Nine Arches bridge between Ella and Demodara railway stations. The historical brick bridge is still in use to take the trains from Kandy to Badulla. As the railway strikes continued for some more days, the rails were empty and I decided to walk along the track back to Ella railway station. This way I still managed to get an impression of the famous train ride through the hill country.