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Entries about train travel

Freezing in the Ghats

sunny 30 °C
View Kickin' it solo in Asia on Patrick_K's travel map.

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As usual a lot has happened in a week. After leaving Arambol, I met four guys on the train. George (the English bloke), with two Russian ladies (Carina & Mila) and this polish girl Marta. So after hangin' out on the train, we decided to rent a place in Varkala together. And man what a place we found! Two small flats connected to each other, totally about 70sqm. A fridge and a porch outside. In the garden they had this giant swing connected to two palm trees. For this we payed like rs200 each (3 euro). Unfortunately Carina and Marta left after two nights, heading for new adventures. Varkala had some really stunning views, basically all the restaurants lie on this huge cliff by the ocean. The beaches in front of the cliffs are really clean and beautiful with powerful waves.

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So me, George and Mila continued together to Kanyakumari. This small town is at the most southern tip of India, a place were the Arabian Sea, the Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean meet. It is considered as a great tourist attraction for Indians, especially due to the Gandhi memorial witch is located there. Apart from the touristic parts, there was an entirely different world in the neighborhood around the docks. People were doing everyday stuff and didn't have time to give you attention. This is rarely the case in India. Normally people come in groups of ten wanting to take picture of you with their mobile cameras. And they even call you things like "master" and "boss", when they don't use the frase "sir" of course. If you want to feel like a rock star, it can easily be done. Just catch the next flight to India.

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After doing the extreme south we headed up to the Western Ghats, which is the second highest mountain region in India (after the Himalayas). Apparently it contains world's top 34 hotspots of biological diversity. In order to go to Kodaikanal, the village up in the Ghats, we had to make a short over night stop in Madurai. When we got there, it felt like being back in Delhi. An awful stench of piss and petrol, beggars, dodgy rickshaw drivers trying to rip you off. After seeing like ten different hotels that were full of cock roaches, had broken toilets and smelled awful, we finally found the least dirty place for a reasonable price. Actually we didn't know anything of Madurai until we went up the roof and saw these huge temples that had resemblance to the Maya ones, but a lot more colorful. These pictures will come up shortly, stay tuned!

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After Madurai, we took the bus to Kodaikanal yesterday. The place we're staying at is truly brilliant. For being Indian standards, it's amazing. In our mountain cottage(!?) we have 24h hot water (very unusual in India), open fire place (yes, it's freezing cold at night), cable TV and a nice little garden. It's rs500 each per night including wood, which is a bargain. George has had a lot of issues with his stomach, which is the reason of him leaving India earlier than the 30th. He's flying back to London from Bangalore on the 22nd. After that it's just me and Mila.

//Patrick

Posted by Patrick_K 13:51 Archived in India Tagged me mountains trains train_travel Comments (1)

From the craziest city of all times to an almost empty Goa

semi-overcast 29 °C
View Kickin' it solo in Asia on Patrick_K's travel map.

I will start off with saying that it takes for ages to upload the damn pictures, here in Arambol, Goa. I arrived yesterday night with the 13 hour Mandovi Express, so I haven't really sorted out the Internet issue.

So, Mumbai... Well I actually stayed at the same place during my stay in Mumbai, since it revealed it self to be a really cool hang out place for travellers. I met a hell of a lot of people the last couple of days actually. There were two hardcore guys that really stood out from the rest.

First out was David, the Hungarian guy that walks the earth basically. He's been walking the last 6 months from Budapest with a little cheating over the Arabian Sea, since he didn't get any Pakistani visa. The guy is somewhat special, he's energy doesn't seem to fade. The hungarian press wrote an article about this guy some months ago, however I can't seem to find it online.

The other guy, Travis is crazy cool in a way. The guy actually wrote a book about hitchhiking freight trains in The States, highly illegal activity over there... He's only been to jail for a couple of days though :)
Check out his website http://www.asailboat.com.

The train ride was truly brilliant, the views were stunning. I met a young german couple which I eventually ended up in the same hotel with in Arambol. Me and Philip, the german guy did some indian style train surfin'. Good fun, I can tell you! :)

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So here I am in Goa which actually was a Portuguese colony until the sixties . I'm staying in Arambol wich is is up north in Goa. It's really off season so the price level is ridiculous. I'm paying 150 rupees per night for a double room which is about 2,5 euro. I actually found a place next to the beach for 100 rupees, and the standard is better too. A classical win-win situation, thank you! You get really delicious food at the restaurant for about one euro.

Furthermore I met Phil, an English bloke in his mid 50s. We met last time I was in India, down south in Kerala. He runs a hotel and restaurant here in Arambol, the place was closed but the guy was there. Tonight I'm gonna hang out with the locals here.

Big up! / Patrick

Posted by Patrick_K 16:21 Archived in India Tagged train_travel Comments (4)

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