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Published: April 15th 2012
After Gokarna we (still travelling with Louisa from Hampi) travelled down to Kerala by train. This involved travelling 32km by bus to the town of Kumta to catch the 00;45am train (which arrived 01:45am). Getting to Kumta was alright; physically catching the train however was somewhat exciting! After being told, platform 1 #5 for our carriage we dutifully waited there...only to watch the sleeper carriages speed past us right to the other end of the platform (trains can be up to 3/4 mile long in India). The train only stops on the platform for about 2 mins (small town) so we had to leg it up to the sleeper carriages! We couldn't get on the train where we were because you cant walk through the cooking carriage, which was between the sleeper carriages and the carriages we were standing by. We RAN, not so bad for me because my bag is quite light comparatively but Louisa's is over 20kg. I jumped on the just starting to move train and yelled for Louisa to jump on too! Eventually she managed to throw her daysack in front of her and jump on the moving train but if it wasn't for the help of a stander-by man she would have fallen right back off again because of the weight of her rucksack! It was really crazy at like 2am. Once on the train we had to walk through 6 sleeper carriages (walking over people sleeping all over the floor of the aisles) to wake up the people on our beds before we could finally get on!
The next morning was nice, I got adopted by an Indian family on the train and they got me chai and shared their breakfast with me. Was very nice and tasty!
Then once in Kochi we headed straight to Munnar to catch up with Natalie (from Goa). The 5 hour bus journey was in reality 6 hours due to traffic. Once more there is a festival! In Munnar right now. The first night we couldnt find a room anywhere nice- ended up in a right ****hole. We couldn't even take a wash (after all that travelling!) because the water came out brown...
Still, the next morning we managed to transfer to Natalie's hotel and went out for an early morning trek through the tea plantations and cardamom plants. Was fantastic. 6 hours hiking through beautiful scenery! At 1400m we stopped for a picnic of cake, passionfruit and tree tomatoes. It was so good! Such a good time, except that (despite 2 applications of factor 50 suncream) I got burnt quite badly on my arms and neck :-( ouch.
The trekking was definately my highlight of Munnar, though going out to see the waterfalls and local spice markets was good too. Its so green and lush here its very beautiful. Its quite cool though, and it rains properly here at least once a day. Tropical strength downpour- but cold! My first proper rain in India for sure. Natalie has left now and I wont see her again in India :-( I will hopefully visit her in Switzerland next summer though :-)
Unfortunately phone signal near my hotel seems to be non-existant but I am trying to contact a collegue, Thressi, who should be in Kerala at the moment to see if she is able to meet up. So I will hopefully be heading in the direction of Kottayam next!
PS: my last night in Munnar was so strange, there was a 'fest' on in the town, which involved alot of fireworks, some shitty stalls (such as hoopla or gambling stalls) and a few fair ground rides on a muddy field. Mostly it just reminded me of the deeping show, alot of people turning up to be mildly amused and be entertained by the local talent whilst buying junk and homemade chocolate. It was abit bizzare. Still it made a good last night there!
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