Everyone’s heard the advice: Don’t judge a book by its cover. However, it seems we maybe shouldn’t judge a town based on what’s written inside the book either.
This weekend was an adventure in listening to the guidebooks. I went with two of my fellow travelers to Nuwara Eliya, a small town up even farther in Sri Lanka hill country than Kandy. The guidebooks tout this location as the “Little England” area of Sri Lanka with tea plantations, golf courses and colonial architecture abound. Unfortunately, the guidebooks were slightly off the mark. The town didn’t quite live up to expectations. Nevertheless, it was a fun experience. We made the trek to Horton’s Plains for a seven kilometer hike to Mini World’s End, World’s End and Baker Falls. The views were beautiful and it was nice to get in some exercise after traveling seemingly everywhere by tuk-tuk for the last two weeks.
The trip ended with a practical joke from Mother Nature, turning our simple journey to the train station into a brush with a landslide. One portion of the road was closed off to vehicles due to a landslide two days earlier and a likely one to occur due to the torrential downpour of the afternoon. Therefore, our tuk-tuk could not pass through. We had to wait in line to cross the safest portion of the previously wiped out road by foot in order to catch a new tuk-tuk on the other side of the slip ‘n’ slide.
I can confirm that the guidebooks certainly build up Nuwara Eliya to be a bit more exciting than it is in real life but, on the other hand, I had a great time navigating the shenanigans with my trusty travel companions.
So, no, don’t judge a book by its cover. But also, don’t let a town’s literary depiction overwhelm your sense of adventure and leave you feeling like you missed the boat.