Goodbye Maddy

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January 19th 2014
Published: January 19th 2014
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We wandered about the city and did a bit of shopping. We are all a bit wary of the food now and sad to say it has not been of a good standard the last couple of days. Following a very light lunch we headed to the station to farewell Maddy. We had to buy tickets to go onto the platform to say goodbye and spent some minutes approaching people to see if they spoke English- just to check we were at the right place. Turns out we were. When the old train rolled in we were in the right place and Maddy boarded - Grant, Lois, Peter and Roy all checked out the train ( they got on to inspect the carriage to make sure they thought it was safe). We have loved having Maddy with us and will miss her. She popped her head out to say she was sitting next to a lovely Indian girl who was getting off at the same stop so we all breathed a sigh of relief. Then it was off for a long drive up to Ooty. Once again we wound our way carefully up into the mountains, through gorgeous bush very reminiscent of NZ except for the cute monkeys at many lay-bys and the breathtaking driving manoeuvres; hairpin curves with not enough room for two vehicles let alone the buses that gestured to our driver to move over when we were balancing very close the edge, tuktuks and motorbikes that tried to slide in between our van and said buses not the mention the odd pedestrian. And then the fog came down!!!!!!!! We cheered when we arrived at our hotel which is near the lake and very nice. In the morning we set off for a bit of sightseeing, firstly heading up to the Dodabetta Peak, which at an altitude of 2623 metres is the highest point in Southern India. Once again we were the attraction. The view was spectacular though the haze made photography difficult. The terraced mountainside is very like those in Cinqe Terre in Italy though we think it could be portuguese influences as well. On our way back down we visited a tea factory which was really interesting. Ooty is a very popular tourist destination and is a very pretty city. It has a really nice 'vibe', people are happy enjoying the sites as we are. We visited the Ooty Botanical Gardens which were set up in 1847 and had a very relaxed wander. We came across a part of the place named -The Italian Garden - according to a sign there, the British bought Italian prisoners of war into India to design the garden. So there is another piece of evidence for our Italian influence theory. We opted not to do the three hour train trip and instead went to lunch at the Savoy- we were keen for quality food. The Danish pastries and croissants went down a treat with a fine cup of Earl Grey tea. Antony, our driver, dropped us off at the lake for a bit of paddle boat fun and a great walk. Dinner at the Savoy!


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