A little backstory on why we drove to Ella. We were going to take the train, and in fact had previously bought tickets for the trip (only 3rd class were available at the time - wooden bench, no bathroom, seven hours!), but the doctor Michelle had just seen recommended not doing that. We asked the owner of the apartment we were renting if he could help us find a driver to take us to Ella, and he knew just the man! His friend Derek is a guide and was willing to drive us there, and also stop and show us some of the sites along the way. Beats taking the train, we thought (plus, the train tickets only cost us $14 CDN, so it was pretty easy to walk away from that).
Derek picked us up promptly at 8:30am, and we hit the road. It didn't take long before Kandy was in our rear view mirror, and we had started to climb.
As we were experiencing these lovely scenes, we were also driving throughout tea plantations that dotted the landscape.
There is a free tour of the factory. During the tour we learned about all the steps taken in processing the tea. From the "plucking" of the green leaf, to the withering, the grading, and all the way to the packing and dispatching of the finished product was shown to us by a friendly Sri Lankan woman.