Away from the Hustle and Bustle


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Asia » India
December 15th 2009
Published: August 9th 2017
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Geo: 11.412, 76.6945

I was really looking forward to getting away from the big cities for a change, so i couldn't wait to get to Mysore and Ooty (Udhagamandalam). We arrived at Mysore by train from Bangalore at about 6pm where we lodged ourselves at Hotel Dasprakash. I felt the immediate impact of being away from the big cities, as soon as we caught the train i calmed down a bit, for about 1 hour i stood in the doorway of the train, put on some music and just watched the country side pass by.
We settled in and then went to get some dinner, while we were ordering we invited a guy from another table to join us. His name was Scott and he was from the USA, he had told us that he had been in Ooty for 5 weeks and was going to stay for another 2 months, we were pretty stunned at that fact, but he said he was traveling with his girlfriend and they rented an apartment and bought a motor bike and made friends. We were also asked another solo traveler to join us for dinner a bit later on, her name was Elisa from England.
That night i had a pretty horrible sleep. I have been sick, cold and coughing, since the first night i got into Delhi, and as i write this blog i am still sick 3.5 weeks later. We were up early and took a walk down to the local fruit and vegetable markets, they were tucked away but we managed to find it. Here they sold many fruits and Vegetables and Spices, but again they all sold the same stuff. On the other end of the market they sold the perfumes and incense candles. In some of the stalls they had the colours that are used to make the incense and perfume all piled high. I loved the colours, from red to green to pink, makes for some good photos.

After the market we met up with Elisa for some breakfast and then proceeded to the "Old Market" we tried earlier on and on the previous night to find these markets as we were told that they had contests and showed how to make the incense, but as we ran into the same person who told us but he led us to some house, we did get to the markets but it was crap and much smaller than the local fruit and Vege market.
From there we walked back into the center of town, did the Internet thing and then proceeded to the Maharaja's palace. This palace from the outside is very impressive and very big. Unfortunately you can't take photo's inside the palace which is a same because all the best parts are inside, amazing halls and architecture, paintings and memorabilia. On that day the palace was swarmed by local tourists so it felt like we were being dragged through quickly from the stream of school kids passing through as if there was no time to stop and admire.
Later that night we arranged to have a group dinner, with Carole, Myself, Scott and his friend Sammy, Elisa and Luke, a guy staying in our hotel. So we went to a local restaurant which was full with westerners, but it was a nice place, can't remember what it was called though.
The following day we got up early took the local bus to Chamundi Hill, this is a hill that is about 13Km out of town and you go to the top and lookout at the views of Mysore, there is also a walk which has 1000 steps down to the bottom, they have some festival on the top of the hill and people come from all around and walk up the steps to the top, but we walked down.
We then headed back into town and packed our bags where we had to catch a buss to Ooty.
The bus trip was pretty interesting, I had a broken seat which slanted down on one corner, the first few hours was like a game of chicken on the roads, but we started the ascent to Ooty which is about 2200 meters above sea level, so it was nice to see the views and some tea plantations as we got higher. There are many hairpins on the road up and people over take the bus on the hairpins, it's so crazy, even trucks overtake buses on mountain roads.

We finally arrived into Ooty and stayed at the Reflections hotel. In the lonely planet it describes the hotel as "overlooking a lake" but its really a small lake where they pump the sewage...haha. Upon settling in, we took a walk towards town where we struck upon some kind of festival in the streets, I'm not sure what festival it was, but there was some kind of float with a shrine and guys dancing and singing. Up a bit further there were mostly women and kids lined in two facing each other holding candles, and in front of that was a massive Elephant with a head piece on. And just in front of that were men dressed in white clothes drumming and dancing away. I love running into these kind of things, it's so random.
That night we met two guys who were also staying at the hotel from Melbourne, James and Jasper, who were traveling India, Nepal and Bangladesh for 6 months. We planned to go get something to eat in town and before we knew it 3 others came so it was nice to sit for a meal with a group of people. Another good thing about Ooty is the chocolate, it seems to be the only place, so far, where you can by home made chocolate, and having a sweet tooth I took advantage of this.
The next day we had booked in a walking tour through the hills and tea plantations, through small villages and up to a lookout point. I donned my massive trekking boots with the aim of breaking them in more for Nepal, and we set off. There were 6 of us, Carole and myself, Gretchen and Costa, New Zealanders, and two others, who I can't remember their name, from Scotland.

We took a local bus about 20 min from Ooty and started the walk through the hills where we stopped and looked at tea plantations and farms. The tea plantations were amazing, they looked so neat and tidy, following the landscape around and growing in every available spot. We stopped off in a small town tucked away among the hills and had a bite to eat, for only $1 i was pretty full.
We continued up to the lookout where it did not look good at the start with the cloud and mist covering the view, but within 10 minutes the cloud and mist had made way for us, only for 10 minutes and then it covered the view again. We were about 2400 meters high at the view point.
Afterward we started heading back, stopping back at the place where we got some food and caught a local bus back into town. It was a very nice tour which was organized through our hotel.

I have been having bad sleeps, mostly waking up at 4 and not being able to get back to sleep due to being sick, so when the sun arose i read a book out the front. Two ladies, Kim and Gloria, from England asked if we were heading to Cochin, they said that they were going to Cochin as well and asked if we wanted to join them in getting a taxi part of the way, so we agreed, it cost us about $18 each. This turned out to be much easier for all involved as Carole and Myself were originally looking at catching a bus to Coimbatore, which we were told was a dreadful place, stay a night and catch the train to Cochin the following day, So instead the four of us caught a taxi from Ooty to Thrissur which took six hours and then caught a 1.5 hr train to Ernakulam and then a short ferry ride to Fort Cochin. So in the end we saved money as well as time catching the taxi.
The taxi ride was a hair raising experience, as is any car transport in India is. We got a flat tyre in Coimbatore, we had so many almost accidents and Kim and Carole saw an after accident scene where there was blood and chalk lines. But we arrived safe into Fort Cochin later on in the night.




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