The next few stops – South India

The next few stops

I love trains in India! The things you see outside, scenery changing, kids playing on the street, colourful laundry hung in front of beautifully painted houses. Eerie rocks, and going from dust into the hills, green, lush, fresh air. I prefer the trains to buses, but sometimes you don’t have a choice. After Hampi we’re off on a train to…

Bangin’ Bangalore

Taking a train from Hampi to Bangalore was fun. In General Sleeper I met some great Indian men. Going through great trouble advising me the best places to go to in and around Bangalore. Thanks to them, I even ended up in Ooty!

Mr. Gokul took me and Tom to a hotel to stay for cheap, and a place for breakfast as we arrived at 6:30am in Bangalore. He’s suggested Indian food for us to try, and places to see. He even called a friend who might have more tips and tricks!

Bangalore itself is bustling. Very busy and big, and in the end I didn’t get to see many of the sights, although walking around through the parks was very nice. But after all, Bangalore was only a stop on the way to…

Miserable Mysore

I can’t believe how much I’ve mistaken going to Mysore. Not. Impressed. At. All.

The city itself is alright, just a normal city, nothing much special. Lots of people working, dirty, filth on the floor. Normal Indian city. The Royal Palace was really nice to see, especially as I was there in the weekend, and at night they turn β€œon” the palace. Thousands and thousands of lightbulbs line out the premises. It’s stunning.

Unfortunately, the β€œmain” thing to do and experience in Mysore – in my experience – is getting scammed. Only there for two nights, me and Tom walked right into the trap of a β€œnice” Indian who – for a change – didn’t want to sell us anything. He made us feel so comfortable, showed us his home and where they make incense (see the pictures, there’s even one of him massaging my head!). And then, when we were fully at ease, let our guard down and trusted this guy… He comes out with a pricelist. Right, you guys are buying oil from me and you better make a list! I for one was startled! I thought he was such a friendly guy. We ended up scurrying away with the smallest bottle of the cheapest oil we could find. Later I found out that this is the most commonly used, very thorough, scam in Mysore. People seem to want nothing from you, only to push you into feelings of guilt when you start trusting them. Apparently I was lucky to have only bought such a small amount, most people get pressured into buying oils for thousands of rupees!!

So. That sucked. But even worse, in those 2 days I was there, another two guys tried the exact same scam and the morning I left I ran into the guy from the first day again and not recognizing me – I was wearing my glasses after all – , he tried again!!!! Mysore. NOT. Impressed.

Snooty Ooty

An interesting busride through two National Parks and into the mountains later, I arrived in Ooty. It took about 35 hairpin turns in a full bus to get there, but I got there! A little hillstation that’s grown out of proportion. The main town was very busy with honking vehicles. Strange little alleys and maps that didn’t add up, but Ooty was nice. Really nice! Fresh air, beautiful surroundings, a stunning lake close by. The main thing I did was just walk around. To the lake, into the Botanical Gardens which were nice and just there, were Indian couples, shyly walking hand in hand, squealing children that were out on a schooltrip and some, but not so many tourists.

Me and Tom decided to go to the highest peak in the South of India as well. After a 5 rupee busride from town, it was a 2-kilometre hike uphill. Nice, and I stopped to take in the scenery more than once. Somehow the pictures don’t convey how far out you could see, and how beautiful it all was. Ooty was a nice little break from chaotic India. But after a few days it was time to climb down and go to…

Alluring Alleppey

Alleppey, in the state of Kerala, is mostly known for the backwaters. Although stunning views revealed themselves to me on the train down, I thought a tour on a boat would be enough. I saw the houseboats. Massive houses that float basicly, but I felt I’d be uncomfortable on them for 24 hours or even longer. To have a personal driver, chef and another Indian scurrying about for you and watching your every move… Not for me, although I’m sure it’s really nice when you can go with a group!

The tour took about 3 hours, which for me was enough. Also – unlike the houseboats – we could go into the smaller canals and glimpse at the life Indians live in these canals and islands. Fishermen on small boats, women doing their laundry in the river, children running about, laughing and playing with a ball.

It was great. And long enough, for me anyway. The town itself was nice as well, small and friendly. I ended up in a guesthouse the rickshaw driver took me, but what a great deal. Definitely the most luxurious room I’ve had in Asia!!! Well… Except for that one in Bali (click here!)

Okay guys. That’s all for now. Enjoy the pictures, next time I’ll tell you about that time I went to a cult, erm… I mean ashram!

Next few stops in India 2012
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