We’re halfway through April already and I barely remember March happening at all. What a strange year this is turning out to be. New things falling into place. Old things falling away. Sanity a thing of the past. You know how it goes.
I promised my friend Tammy that I’d give her the details of our itinerary when we were in India and, once again, figured I might as well blog it instead of just emailing it. Here I can add pictures and things and go all memory laney on myself if I want. Right?
Honestly though, I can’t stop thinking that what we did doesn’t really matter. It’s what you choose to do on your travels that matters.
Mooning About Mumbai
So we landed in Mumbai in the early hours of the morning and I was quite content in the idea that because it was so early (4am-ish) that the airport would at least be quiet. Uh….no. Like the most solid form of “no” you can think of. The customs queue was probably a couple of thousand people deep, and while it did move very quickly considering how full it was, I have to admit that I wanted to cry just a little at the sight of it. If nothing else, prepare your soul for that queue! Because if you’re not expecting it at the end of a super long flight, you might just fall apart.
Insanely we organized to have a tour on the same day that we arrived. Needless to say, we were both kind of grumpy when our driver arrived to pick up up at 9am. Eventually we found ourselves though, and we were able to enjoy the buzz of energy all around us. I think that is maybe what I love most about visiting other countries – the different energy. It’s so addictive!
The first day we visited The Hanging Gardens and some other park close by. Honestly: give those places a skip. I liked The Hanging Gardens because despite being kind of dull garden-wise, it was full of various types of butterflies. I LOVED that, but hubby was kind of disappointed and grumpy about it. I’m kind of better at finding things to enjoy and keeping my expectations low, but if you want “mind-blowing” then skip the Hanging Gardens. The park is filled with tons of birds though. Some parrots, loads of crows, and way more birds of prey than you’ve ever seen in one place. You get used to it after a while, but it’s friggen cool how many kites and eagles are just flying around all over the cities of India.
Sadly we missed the Elephante Caves because it was too late to go by the time we got there (not sure why our driver hadn’t calculated this but anyway) but we did get to go to the Kanheri Caves the next day and that was pretty awesome.
We also went to some sort of Temple Pagoda thing – I can’t think of the proper name but it was near the Amusement Park which you take a ferry to get to (I imagine any tour operator will probably send you in that direction) and I did quite enjoy that as well. We got to nibble on some yummy lunch at the canteen and it was nice walking around there and enjoying the architecture. They were weirdly strict about letting people in to this place though. I’m not sure why. Ty’s matches were confiscated, and I was taken into a closed off room where I had to explain to a woman what tampons were because the box of lilets in my handbag had her completely flummoxed. So that was weird…
I especially loved all the Golden Triangle. People keep asking me what my favourite part was and this was probably it. I love temples and old buildings and shrines and palaces and forts all those sorts of things. New Delhi, Agra, and Jaipur are full of these things. I know some folks find temples to be much of the same all over, but I don’t. I kind of love them. I love being in them. I love the cold floors. I love the tradition. The details. I love all of it.
If you do a Golden Triangle tour (which you should do) you’re pretty much going to end up at all the places I ended up in so I won’t bore you with details of each one. You just go off and experience it yourself rather!
Definitely the Kerala district was quite visually stunning. From a distance, the Chinese Fishing Nets in Kochi are quite impressive (from close they are sadly surrounded with a disturbing amount of garbage!) and spotting bee eaters and kingfishers all over the place is so satisfying. Fort Cochin is quite entertaining if you like ambling around markets and through quaint little streets. It’s small enough to not be overwhelming, but big enough to keep you entertained for a while.
Kummarakom I loved. The backwaters are so quaint, the houses are quaint. Everything is just kind of sweet and pleasant to be around.
Munnar! Tea plantations everywhere. So much green!! Absolutely beautiful.
I think Goa is supposed to be the sort of Party State of India. This is where all the tourists seem to congregate and everyone seems to be quite at home. Here we managed to brave hiring a scooter and going around town on our own. The traffic is a little less intimidating in Goa than it is everywhere else, but it was still scary as hell! Here I saw a ton of people pretending to do yoga on the beach while their friends/partners took pics with their phones, so that was weird. I should have done one! Tree pose in the water!
Go up to the fort (can’t remember the name – sorry – google maps will help you!) if you can. The view from up there is incredible! And eat the curried fish. Curried fish sounds disgusting but omg! It’s so good!