Bangalore - Mumbai
Sally Evers & Nick Griffith
Our friend Amanda was arriving in Bangalore at the sociable hour of 4.30am so we went to go and meet her at the airport. We did not give Amanda much time to catch up on her jet lag as took a train to Mysore in the afternoon.
As it was Amanda's first night we opted for the semi-deluxe room for 3 quid extra. We spent our first day in Mysore visiting the beautiful palace that was designed by an Englishman. Amanda being quite white and very blonde was intriguing to locals and had her photo taken on numerous occassions, it was like being an A list celeb for the day(well sort of).
The palace was stunning inside with huge ornately painted rooms, the concrete was very hot between palaces though and scolded our feet as we had to run across it bare foot. The afternoon was spent visiting the most holy hill in India - Chatmundi Hill. Apart from a lot of monkies, a few cows and a temple there was not much up there and it was a bit grotty.
We decided to get a bit of exercise and walk down
the 1000 steps (Indians climb the steps as part of their pilgramage, we took a taxi).
We looked in amazment as we saw a massive rain cloud in the distance, little did we know that within 10 mins there would be a torrential rainstorm on top of us! After sheltering for 15 mins we braved the drizzle and continued walking down what now ressembled a waterfall rather than steps!
As we had sensible slippery shoes on I fell ass over *** on a couple of occassions much to the amsusement of Amanda and Nick. In the evening we treated ourselves to Dominoes pizza in our room whilst we lounged back and watched the cricket.
The next morning was spent on a whirlwind tour of the local silk factory- a noisy but interesting place where you see the silk wound onto reels and then made into the most beautiful sari fabrics - and the sandalwood factory which was dull in comparison especially as it seemed to be deserted and our guide was a bit bizzare.
We visited the colourful market before departing for Bangalore. The train journey was interesting, we decided to opt for
the 23p seats instead of the 2 pound seats, a bit of a mistake as we had to spend the next 4 hours on bum-numbing wooden seats with the strongest waft of urine I have ever smelt, still Amanda did want to experience the real India!
After an easy overnight train ride we were in Hampi, best known for its boulder strewn landscape and amazing ruins. It really was a beautiful place and like nothing we had seen before.
Our days there were spent at the town temple where we were blessed by the resident elephant, she was very clever / well trained as gracefully took our rupee with her trunk, gave it to her owner and then proceeded to bless us with her trunk.
In the midst of the midday heat (mad dogs...) we walked the 2km to Vittala temple, a World Heritage Monument built in the 1500s, where we afforded ourselves a guide who demonstrated the musical stone pillars and showed us the Kama Sutra stone carvings that Indians used for sex education, apparently they came to the temple and just copied the drawings - most enlightening!
stop on the Hampi trail was the Lotus Mahal, a beautiful rose coloured palace, and the elephants stables that were used to house the Taj's herd...pretty amazing.
From Hampi we made our way to Goa for a few much needed days on the beach. We checked into a hotel in Palolem that was right on the beach and spent the next few days sunbathing, getting hit on the head by a parasol (Amanda), eating cheese toasties, playing beanie, getting asked if we wanted a taxi 20 times a day, and swimming in the lush warm sea. It was heaven.
From Goa, we did a quick stop in Panaji (the capital of Goa) and Old Goa (famous for its old churches) before we headed on an overnight train to Mumbai.
Of course our train was delayed 4 hours, as we made our way down the carriages I said to a waiter "Excuse me", he promptly ignored me so I continued pass with my huge backpack. I caused a bit of a commotion as my backpack sent him flying and he fell onto the nearest chair as he was taking somebody's food order :0
As we are
This was from half way up
always conscious of thieves, Nick sensibly chained our rucksacks to the seats and then turned to our neighbours in our compartment and came out with the classic "I do trust you!". It was to be a sleepless night as our neighbours had the biggest snores in India.
Our welcome into Mumbai was poo-lined tracks on the opposite trainline, it was totally revolting as we even saw a rat having a good feast on one pile of poo.
We checked into the semi plush Hotel Cowies and then Amanda and I spent the rest of the day shopping whilst Nick walked around the area of Colabra.
In the evening we decided against starring in the latest Pepsi advert and visited the Taj Palace hotel (amazing) and had cocktails at a hip place called Indigo.
The rest of the night was spent on the toilet for me. I then felt like I was being bitten lots, on closer inspection this was due to the 10s of bed bugs crawling around our sheets - lurvely! So at 2am we upped and moved rooms. Nick faired the worst poor thing.
On Sunday we visited
the biggest outdoor laundry we have seen where 1000s of men wash the clothes and sheets of the city. We spent our last evening playing beanie (much to the dislike of our grumpy waiter) in a fab restaurant called Leopolds.
Come Monday it was time to say our goodbyes to Amanda at the airport (we nearly did not get there as our taxi driver had to tighten up his nuts on the local highway). Its been a fun packed 2 weeks and we think Amanda did experience the real India - Delhi Belly and all, bless her!
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