We were greeted by a large welcoming party, who unloaded the van and carried our luggage off down a dirt track into the forest. After saying bye to Geehan and Sanjeewa (our driver) we too were lead down the dirt track unsure where we were going. Two minutes later we were presented with our very own traditional wattle & daub "mud" house! Ines (a French Volunteer student) gave us a guided tour of the “house”. Wow – 4 double 4 poster beds, 2 bathrooms and outdoor showers, four hammocks plus lots more.
Just time to decide who had which bed and Ines was back to lead us through the trees to the dining room (hut) for tea. The tables were all beautifully decorated with petals, lentils and sticks. Ours had “Welcome” written out in sticks which Lydia rearranged to make as many words as she could.
We were treated to a fantastic traditional Sri Lankan meal of rice and various curries using ingredients grown on their own farm. As we were the only ones eating at that time we had 3 staff waiting on us, topping up our water glasses after every sip.
As we walked back to our hut, now along a dark path lit only by the occasional paraffin torch, we heard a noise in the hedge and had enough time to spot a mouse deer before it ran off terrified of the 4 monsters that had disturbed it. It was then our turn to be terrified as we turned the one light on in the hut and spotted a huge hairy spider under Lee and Katelyn’s bed. (Although there were 4 beds, we decided that as we were in an open hut the girls might feel safer sleeping with us.)
The bird chorus and sunrise woke us up about 5.30am (Not thinking about that we booked breakfast for 9am so girls could have a lie in! J). We enjoyed a leisurely start relaxing in the hammocks, showering with nature. Then made our way to breakfast and got a chance to see that next to the dining hut was a large lake. A Sri Lankan breakfast was served – Herb Porridge, fruit platter, followed by roti and curries. Thankfully there was also toast and jam for the girls.
The left over fruit was put on to feeding table 20 feet from where we sat and soon and 2 monkeys were sitting up filling their cheeks like hamsters. It was amazing. We sat and watched them run off and palm squirrels brave it on to the table until they heard the monkey head back.
Ines offered to take us on a tour off the whole site, showing us the 6 other huts as they were all different in design, the workshop where they make the furniture for the huts, the kitchen which had no electricity so four wood stoves were heating pots of curry for lunch. We meet the bicycle man and the girls were measured up for bikes which we’d collect on our way back. We then went on to the farm to see where all the fruit and vegetables were grown. We all discovered how Pineapples grown and that the plant looks similar to Aloe Vera and isn’t and tree.
After another Sri Lankan treat at lunch time Katelyn and I headed off to the kitchen to a cooking lesson. Katelyn had another go at scraping coconut and I got 2 new recipes to try. (Will type up and post soon).
As it is hot work being in the kitchen it was time to cool off at the yoga hut and swim in the lake. A family bike ride was the quickest way to get there. The girls and I had a kayak around the lake then the girls decided they wanted to get off and swim. Lots of giggles and squeals as the fish and weeds touched their legs.
Knowing we would get woken by the bird chorus Katelyn and I decided to make the most of it and go Bird watching our last morning. Typically, it was our alarm and not nature that woke us. We had a fantastic couple of hours with one of the staff naming over 20 different birds including King Fishers, Pheasant tailed Jacana, Little Green Bee Eater and the Sri Lankan national Ceylon Jungle Fowl. Several times we had to shelter under trees as heavy rain fell for 5 minutes then we could carry on. Just as we got back to the bikes the heavens open and so our guide called a tuk-tuk to pick us up.
Lee and Lydia were playing games when we got back. Lydia hadn’t had a great night sleep waking Lee at 4 am and throwing up, thankfully after getting out of bed. We decided best if she skipped breakfast. Katelyn and Lee ventured out under umbrellas with a task of avoiding the river that was following down the path as they went for breakfast.
Just like our arrival a group of staff gathered to send us off. Firstly, they kindly bashed off the mud that had caked our shoes. We were all very sad to leave the mud hut and would have liked to stay there longer.