Humbugs. Strange name. Makes you think of Charles Dickens’ Ebenezer Scrooge, remember? Bah humbug. Generally humbug isn’t a word with positive connotations but the little restaurant/cafe of that name, on a bend in the road just beyond Hakgala Gardens, 8 kms from Nuwaraeliya town is a place that, for a great many Colombars, holds nothing but good memories. While the cafe’s hill-country trip brightening strawberry pancakes are renowned far beyond the Hakgala/Nuwaraeliya locale what isn’t as well known is that humbugs also offers very comfortable and reasonably priced accommodation.
There are rooms in a modern block attached to the restaurant and in their lovely 100 year old, colonial bungalow a few meters down the road. Nestled in a little valley, between the gorgeous, but crowded on weekends, Hakgala botanic garden and the rugged, world heritage montane forests of the Hakgala reserve this is a great location. The rolling, high-altitude forest- still home to the occasional leopard, begins just feet from the bungalow. Between your rooms and the wilderness there’s also a perfectly tended rose garden – not second to any of the horticultural feats on show in the Hakgala botanic gardens.
From the bungalow you enjoy some of the last views in the vicinity of Nuwaraleiya not blighted by the ugly, and environmentally devastating vegetable cultivation now sweeping this part of the hill country. The rooms are cosy with ample insulation – duvets, cushions, carpeting, for potentially chilly nights- I’ve seen frost at the edge of Hakgala gardens. The interior has that stuck in time feeling common in hill country bungalows though there’s something a bit more 60s going on here – a departure from the usual stuck in the 20’s- gin and tonics, plantations, planters and racial aparthied feel of most colonial bungalows. Lots of mustard and red, bits of lace, shaggy carpets and plush sofas by a roaring fireplace – ideal for sipping some hot cocoa and unfolding the old cluedo board.
Your not even 10 kilometers from Nuwareliya Town (25 mins drve ) and the distance works in your favour. You get the natural amenities of the hill country – waterfalls, tea gardens, horton plains, alpine and the Hakgala reserve are close at hand, while the pollution and noise of the cluttered up country township are a little way a way.
Without much in the way of modernity to bother you (though the have internet and cable TV are available on request) you can really and sink into your own routine and time. It’s a wonderful place for a weekend escape and at Rs 4500 b and b + inespensive and tasty fare from their famous cafe it’s pretty good value. A good choice for a budget Nuwaraeliya break.
This post was written from Nuwara Eliya town using a Hutch 3G dongle