Page 12 of RENanDREW Travel Blog Posts

Asia » India » Kerala » Kochi January 22nd 2015

HE SAID... We were leaving Kerala Backwaters and heading north to Kochi. It rained heavily during the night, so our sleep was broken, but we woke around 6am feeling reasonably refreshed. We showered, prepared our packs and sat down to idlis(steamed cakes made from fermented rice and lentil batter), coconut curry and hot tea for breakfast at 8am. I had a slight scare with the netbook, which had lost all mouse and keyboard functionality. No matter how many times I re-booted, it remained unresponsive. I hadn’t backed up, so I felt pretty dejected. I’d resigned myself to the fact that I’d have to buy a new laptop in Delhi, and that I’d lost all the travel notes I’d typed over the past two weeks. It was an awful realisation. We left our home stay in Karumady ... read more
kerala backwaters sunrise
kerala backwaters homestay host
kerala backwaters homestay breakfast

Asia » India » Kerala » Alleppey January 21st 2015

HE SAID... We were leaving Thekkady and heading west to Kerala Backwaters. We woke early and grabbed a chai(tea) at a local coffee shop (Coffee Day), before checking out and jumping into a minibus at 8am. We had a four and a half bus trip and a one and half hour boat trip ahead of us – we were heading to River Side Retreat Homestay in Karumady (Ambalapuzha). We slowly wound our way downwards out of Thekkady through tea and coffee plantations, stopping at the slightly bizarre Pattumala Matha Pilgrim Shrine at 9am before continuing our downward journey on the narrow winding roads of the Silk Mountains. This was a breathtaking trip, as we occasionally met public buses driving at breakneck speeds on hairpin corners with sheer drops off the roadside with no guard rails. We ... read more
pattumala matha pilgrim shrine
kerala backwaters
homestay lunch

Asia » India » Kerala » Periyar National Park January 19th 2015

HE SAID... We were leaving Madurai and heading west to Thekkady. Ren woke early and headed out to buy water and a few packets of electrolyte for me as I had been ill during the night. I hydrated, packed and made my way down to reception. I wasn’t feeling too bad, but I was looking forward to the destination more than ever. Ren was coming down with a cold/flu, so we weren’t travelling well. About an hour into the trip I started feeling back to normal, but Ren was getting worse. We were making our way westwards across the bottom tip of India, so we were travelling through rural landscapes filled with rice, palm, banana, sugarcane and cardamom plantations. We had a brief stop in Theni to buy some throat lozenges for Ren before we started ... read more
abraham’s spice garden
abraham’s spice garden
abraham’s spice garden

Asia » India » Tamil Nadu » Madurai January 18th 2015

HE SAID... We were leaving Pondicherry and heading south west to Madurai. We woke early and walked to Hot Breads bakery to pick up some snacks (croissants and savoury rolls) for breakfast and lunch. We left Hotel Surguru in a minibus at 9am and headed to Villupuram Junction. We waited at the train station and jumped on the train as it slowed – we only had two minutes to get on before it lurched off again. We had a six hour trip to Madurai ahead of us. We shared our berth on the sleeper train with four Indian army officers who were very friendly. I started reading “Stories told by the Mother II” which a fellow traveller had picked up at the Sri Aurobindo Ashram in Pondicherry. I put it down momentarily, and one of the ... read more
villupuram station
villupuram station
villupuram station

Asia » India » Pondicherry January 17th 2015

HE SAID... We were leaving Mahabalipuram and heading south to Pondicherry. We woke at 6.30am and headed out to a local chai wallah (tea seller) at Mother Chai Shop for a morning chai. The chai (tea) stand was tiny and the street was empty, so we were happy to be there. While Ren befriended a local dog who was after pats and scraps, I watched the wallah interrupt making our chai to give a young street kid a piece of cake. The kid just walked up to the stand and pointed to the glass jar the cake was in. When the wallah gave it to him, he took it in both hands, put it to his lips and kissed it before munching into it. It was an incredible act of generosity, especially as the wallahcould barely ... read more
mother chai stall
mother chai stall

Asia » India » Tamil Nadu » Mamallapuram January 16th 2015

HE SAID... We left Mysore at 8.30pm the previous night and embarked on an 11 hour overnight train journey to Chennai. We sat and talked with two young students who were sharing our berth before settling into our bunks around 10.30pm. The gentle rocking of the train had me asleep in no time. I woke at 6.30am and found some room on my bunk to catch up on my travel notes. We arrived in Chennai at 7am, scrambled off the train, negotiated the throngs of people pouring into Chennai Central and jumped into a minibus to begin our journey south. We were halfway through our south India travels, and we were heading down the eastern coastline of this vast country. We’d barely left the train station before pulling into the Emarald Hotel for breakfast, where we ... read more
chennai central
chennai central
five rathas

Asia » India » Karnataka » Mysore January 14th 2015

HE SAID... We left Mudumalai National Park at 10.30am and continued our northward journey, this time heading for Mysore. India is often termed the “land of the farmer”, and we could easily see why as we drove through vast expanses of agricultural land of cotton, palm trees, bananas, sugar cane and rice. Every so often we’d drive through a tiny village, but most of the time the rural landscape stretched to the horizon. Slow agricultural machinery, trucks and farm animals were sharing very narrow roads with speeding buses, motorbikes and cars – which equated to very dangerous driving conditions. We came across an accident between a bus and a car, but it didn’t appear that anyone was injured. We dropped into the Chamundi Hill Temple on our way into Mysore. We wandered through the popular and ... read more
chamundi hill
chamundi hill
chamundi hill

Asia » India » Tamil Nadu » Mudumalai January 13th 2015

HE SAID... We were leaving Ooty and travelling north to Mudumalai National Park. We woke at 6.30am in our freezing bedroom and headed out for a warming chai(tea) on the street at our favourite local chai shop (Shri Ragavendra Bangalore Iyengar’s Bakery and Sweets). We jumped into our minibus at 9am and headed off on our journey to the small town of Masinagudi. It was a very steep descent out of mountains, and it was a fantastic drive. We had to negotiate 36 hairpin bends, and there were countless signs saying how many car accidents had occurred on each particular stretch of road. A few signs even had a running tally of how many people had died. This wasn’t the best reading for those who don’t like steep drops without guard rails. Ren had banned me ... read more
bison valley viewing point
jungle retreat
jungle retreat

Asia » India » Tamil Nadu » Ooty January 11th 2015

HE SAID... We woke early at 5am, once again beating the 5.30am call to prayer. We had a long travel day (seven and a half hours) ahead, as we were leaving Kochi and travelling north to Ooty (or Ootacamund as it appears on most maps). We sat down to a plate of dosa (thin pancakes made from fermented rice and black lentils batter) with coconut chutney for breakfast at 7am. Bowls of fresh bananas and watermelon were on the table, and I had a pot of masala chai (spiced sweet milky tea) while Ren had a tea. It was a great start to the day. We left our Fort Kochi homestay (Kaliveedu Lodge) at 7.45am and headed to the Ernakulam train station for the first of our two travel legs to Ooty – a four hour ... read more
dosa with coconut chutney and pickle
train to coimbatore
thali meal

Asia » India » Kerala » Kochi January 9th 2015

HE SAID... We touched down in Kochi at 10pm and were immediately greeted by the warm embrace of a balmy Indian evening. We breezed through customs and caught a taxi to Saj Homestay in Fort Kochi. It was a one hour drive, and we finally arrived at 11.45pm. The place was fantastic! We dropped our packs, showered and then crawled into bed at 12.30pm (or 6am Hobart time). We’d been travelling for 26 hours. The call to prayer woke me at 5.30am. The bustle outside our first floor window was slowly building and a bird with a monotonous call had started his day. I stayed in bed until 6am and then slowly began to organise my pack where I’d dropped it the night before. I felt incredibly rested. We headed down to breakfast at 8.30am. A ... read more
pathiri with potato coconut curry
kaliveedu lodge
honey of the kaliveedu lodge

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