Matheran – My short visit in Mumbai

As some of you may know, after visiting Nepal in January I headed back to India for a yoga retreat. However as always my trip in India started in Mumbai with a flying visit to see Pooja.

One of the things she recommended was to take a short weekend visit up to Matheran an old English Hill Station, now declared an eco-friendly motor free zone. This is such a wonderfully peaceful place, which was unfortunately on strike when I arrived. So after having difficulty finding accommodation I set out to walk around the many mini walking trails.

Mid-walk I stupidly slipped and fell on my ankle, with no one around but a man and his pony to rescue me and take me back to my hotel. Because of this I took very few pictures as I became bound to my hotel. But here are some I took before the incident.

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Flying Visit to Mumbai

I was only back in Mumbai for 48h, I had a little walk around and saw a few of the sights I’d not seen before…

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A selection of food I’ve been eating…

And obviously a visit to Mumbai would not be complete without this lovely lady…

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Yoga Holiday – Patnem Beach, Goa

Upon coming to India I knew that I really wanted to try out a yoga retreat. I had so many options I just didn’t know where to start! I’m not really a beach person, but for some reason I had it in my head that I wanted to do my retreat by the sea. I thought I’d get bored, but there really was plenty to do around town and in the evenings.

A typical day involved me getting up at 7.30am for some breakfast. At 8.30am there was a mediation session, (I know what your thinking mum… but I fully embraced it), followed by a 9- 10.30am yoga session. I’d then spend the day swimming, reading and exploring the area before doing my evening yoga class, 4.30-6pm. We would then all watch the sunset before heading out to dinner. It was absolute bliss! I learnt so much from some of the best yoga teachers and I feel like I’ve vastly improved my yoga practice in such a short space of time

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Silent Disco

After a long hard week of yoga and sunbathing we fancied a bit of a change and headed to one of the many silent discos in southern Goa.

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(Not the most flattering picture… But hey ho!)

My Secret Admirer

One of the beauties of being a fair skinned, blondish, solo travelling woman is all the lovely male Indian admirers I get.

This man asked me if It was my first day here.
Me – “Yes” (thinking he meant my first day on Patenem Beach)
Waiter – “I can tell most fair skins get a little bit black after one day here”
Me – “I’ve been in India for 4 weeks now”
Waiter – “Oh… you’ve not gone black yet?”

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My Afternoon In Mysore

My travel options from Wayanad were quite limited, so it was either back to Calicut or onwards to Mysore. Not having done Mysore after Hampi (like I should have) I thought I’d take a night train from there and spend the day seeing the limited sights.

Mostly my time there was batting off all the local tourists who wanted pictures with me, however I did manage to see the following sights.

Mysore Palace

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Cows! (I’m not quite sure why but all the cows I met here were yellow!)

Night Market

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I tried to go to the cinema, but they didn’t have anything in English or with English subtitles. I think I could quite easily come back to Mysore, I was surprised by how much I liked it and think the yoga opportunities there are quite vast!

My Journey to Wayanad

I started the day at 7am by hailing a rickshaw to take me to the station for 150 INR. (Bargain seeing as the hotel wanted to hail me one for 350!)

I then arrived at an empty station with nothing to do for 2h, (once again the silly hotel told me i’d need these two hours to navigate the ticket office at the busy ‘rush’ hour station). So I had myself some idly for breakfast (like a fluffy rice cake eaten with curry, 12 INR).

I boarded my (on time) train to Calicut and sat myself in coach class (120 INR). Coach class unlike general and sleeper has seats. The train journey was about 3.5h long and surprisingly arrived on time.

Next was a short rickshaw ride to the local bus station (60 INR), where I had to navigate the unfamiliar layout and written texts to find my bus to Kalpetta. I’m not sure the locals were used to tourists in their bus station as I attracted some unwanted attention. I soon boarded my ‘prison’ bus (30 INR) and laughed about how empty it was. (Little did I know that it would pick up passengers along the way to the point where people would be hanging out of the bus.)

The bus journey was really pretty and went up the mountainsides of Wayanad. It also wound around 9 scary hair pin bends at ridiculous speeds. In fact the driver was so confident at going round the hairpin bends that he decided to over take a bus, over taking a bike whilst a lorry was approaching from the opposite direction….. And well crashed into the lorry… decided no harm was done and carried on!

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Once I’d reached Kalpetta I had to jump on a second bus (15 INR) to get my closer to my hostel. This bus was full of school kids and I really had no idea where to get off or how I was going to push my way through everyone to actually get off, but I did, and then had to take 1 final rickshaw to the hostel (100 INR).

This would be the end of the story, but at about 6pm when I finally reached the hostel (which was literally in the middle of nowhere) I found out that I was the only guest and had a dorm room of 12 beds all to myself… scary or bliss… i’m still undecided!

In total journey took me 11h, cost me 487 INR (£4.87). The experience was well worth it and Wayanad was truly beautiful.

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