We both had a bit of an upset stomach after our last spicy meal in Varkala but neither of us were regretful as it was delicious. But not the greatest of starts to the day as we were reluctantly leaving Varkala and traveling to Kumily, where we were hoping to do some hiking in the Periyar National Park and maybe see a tiger. Unfortunately there wasn’t a direct route so we had to catch a three hour train to Kottayam and then a four hour bus to Kumily. As we were only traveling 250kms the time frame seemed ridiculously long.
The train trip was uneventful and we made the transfer to the bus pretty easily. The bus trip was a windy one that took us up into the mountainous Western Ghats. We arrived in Kumily and walked to our guest house which was nothing special to put it nicely but the host was lovely and we were only going to be here two nights. We dropped off our bags and headed to the National Park information office where we were met by a snot nosed girl who thought we were something stuck to the bottom of her shoe. We were trying to glean information about certain hikes into the national park but soon found out that our hike we wanted to do was booked out the next day, there were other options available but we couldn’t seem to find too much information about them from this lovely girl who worked at the information desk.
We eventually left in disgust and went back to try and Google our options and find out more information. We probably should have done this sooner as we found out via the reviews that the place was a little bit of a joke and not worth the time. We also figured out that although it was a tiger reserve, it didn’t seem as if anybody had actually seen a tiger. By this stage we were fed up with the place so decided to cut our losses and only stay one night and head to Kodaikanal, further into the Western Ghats.
Again we found out we had to take two buses for a total of five hours so we left around 9.30am and crossed the border from Kerala into Tamil Nadu. The people of Kerala are not too friendly of their description of the people of Tamil Nadu as they call them stupid. Kerala boasts the highest literacy rates in all of India at nearly 100% so regardless of their neighbors I think they would feel superior. We couldn’t tell any difference, though we did encounter a road rage incident involving our bus driver and conductor and another bus who I think may have stole some of our customers. There was lots of shouting and whistle blowing and at the next stop about half an hour down the road there was a full on argument where our two just seemed to yell at the same time at the top of their lungs at the other drivers. We found it quite amusing.
When we arrived at the bus station in Kodaikanal I was well and truly sick of bus travel and was looking forward to a few days in one spot. We had picked Kodaikanal as our next destination as it is positioned right on a lake surrounded by forest. It’s in the hill country so the temperatures should be a little more bearable which we felt as soon as we got off the bus. We had booked accommodation a short walk from the lake so we were very surprised when our taxi driver informed us it was actually 3kms out of town. This wasn’t what we had planned but we thought we should at least check it out so got into a taxi and drove out into what seemed the suburbs. After a quick discussion we decided this was not going to be okay so Tim somewhat politely told the man who owned the accomodation that his property was not where it was supposed to be and that we would not be staying. We jumped back into the taxi and were driven around town by the taxi driver showing us divey hotels which were rather expensive and didn’t make the standard. We eventually decided that this was not getting us anywhere and were maybe a little hangry (we hadn’t eaten really all day) so got the taxi to drop us off at a restaurant with our bags where we sat down to a delicious lunch and everything suddenly seemed more manageable. We logged into booking.com and found more suitable accommodations near the lake. Problem solved.
Rested and refreshed after check in, we went for a stroll around the lake, drank some chai and were back in love with India again. S
One of the local ladies go sat beside me and proceeded to have a conversation in half English half something else I didn’t understand. We got there eventually though. We have met some wonderful people so far who just seem to want to have a chat and find out where we are from. This included a lovely couple who sat next to us on the train towards the end of our trip. He pretty much told us the route we had to take in Temil Nadu.
This is waiting for a train in India. So much to see and so photogenic. The saris the women wear here are spectacular. Such beautiful material.
The train. A bit old and battered but it did the trick. We actually got sleeper seats without knowing. The back rest of Tim’s seat is actually another bed! I am thinking for a long haul overnight train we will go first or second class which only have four beds in a carriage.
The bus station Kumily.
We have no idea who this guy is but they obviously like him!
These banana chips were devine.