I’m starting off with my most recent travel destination Munnar. Its a brilliant place though I did not expect it to be. Well, I had started off my journey with two other friends from my college. A last minute decision as we could not go to Silent Valley. It took us 5 hours to reach there and we had to switch buses at Udumalapet. We started off late….nothing out of the ordinary……and got into the most crowded bus that I had ever got onto in my life. Sweaty and damning my luck I was out of that pit and reached Ukkadam bus stand . We barely managed to get onto the Udumalapet bus on time. After these preliminary glitches the rest of our journey was eventful. The wind mills on the way to Udumalapet are something you must not miss. I just loved them.
Then we got onto the Munnar bus at Udumalapet. This took us through the Anamalai tiger reserve and the Chinnar Wildlife sanctuary. The was pretty sunny and the views were good but not brilliant till we reached Marayoor. Here we bought a couple of peculiar fruits(I think they were berries) and an avacado without actually knowing it was an avacado. From here the journey was filled with sights and sounds of tea gardens and streams creeping their way throught the hills and ending up as water-falls. They were beautiful sights.
One of the best experiences to the nose as far as I am concerned is when the mild fragrance of tea engulfs it as you are passing by a tea factory. This is exactly the experience you will have when you are around half an hour away from Munnar. After this brilliant experience we arrived at Munnar town which appeared to be lost in its own frenzy. Not quite what I had expected judging by the tranquil journey we had had. The thing that struck me first when we went to the tourist office just by the bus stop was that this was a place full of friendly people. Honestly speaking,this is the place with the best auto drivers out of all the places I’ve been to India. They are the best and cheapest guides you could get. We went by auto to our restaurant at Devikulam called Autumn trees, it was 7kms away fro town. We encountered some beautiful sights on our way there from which I realised why this places was so popular.
After all the beautiful sights it was time to bargain for a price at the hotel. We did get a the room at a reasonable price. The hotel was’nt that great(it was clean though which was all that mattered) but the location was good. So we decided to go for a walk after having a cup of tea at the tea stall by the highway. As expected the tea was brilliant, the best tea I had had in my life ( Hav’nt visited Assam yet!) and I mentally made a note to drink tea at this place for all the three days we were here.
The walk was quite a treat. We enjoyed it as went along the highway due to the beautiful surroundings which were so laid back and also due to mild weather. As we kept going we noticed a small path by the side of the highway which lead down to a beautiful lake. The lake was enchanting enough for us to go down by the slushy, muddy and slippery path. When we reached the lake it was just an amazing experience which I shall not forget for years to come. The lake was just beautiful and was tempting us to take a dip. We resisted that temptation as we knew we were better off on land than in unknown waters.
We just could’nt take our eyes off the lake, but it was getting dark and we had to leave. So we slowly trudged up the path and made our way back to the highway. To our surprise we discovered that there were leeches all over our shoes. One of my friends did provide us with some entertainment by jumping up and down with his shoes in his hands. He was repulsed by the leeches and when he saw that a small leech had clung on to his calf he pulled it off and started running back to the hotel. My other friend and I had cleared off all the leeches off our shoes and walked back to the hotel and had a good laugh about the leech-phobic friend of mine.
Once we had got back to the hotel it took us some time to get ourselves spic and span and double check for leeches in our shoes. After all the tidying up we decided to walk a bit into town and have dinner at a small hotel called Rajalakshmi which was suggested to us by the receptionist. It was a shabby little place with tables and chairs all cramped up in a small space. The food, I would’nt say was exceptional but it was good and very very affordable which reduced the overall expense of our trip by quite a margin. The people here were as friendly as ever and we had a good time eating and chatting up at the table. While going back we sat down on low clearance wall and talked some more and tried blowing the fog to make it look like we were smoking. I loved doing this ever since I was a kid and this time was no exception. After a night full of maniacal fun we retired to the hotel and slept quite early so that we could get up in time to go down the Mattupatty side of Munnar.
Just found out a bit about Cyprus and Crete today [Courtesy : Globetrekker TLC 😉 ] Will post about Crete some other time though.
Firstly about Cyprus, It is famous for its awesome beaches and bars. Cyprians are known to love partying. They have a hell lot of good beaches. They have mid afternoon bubble bath dances on the beach and parties raging from the night till dawn. Cyprus is also known for free diving, one of the world’s 3 best free divers is from Cyprus and he can dive upto 75 metres. Free diving is a dangerous and beautiful adventure sport. It takes years of practice and a controlled & calm mind to go even over 20 metres. Its also home to the Temple of Apollo (The greek Sun God) which was destroyed by an earthquake which occured more than a thousand years ago. The beautiful ruins of this temple lie facing the beach which makes for a beautiful sight. Apparently, during the Summer solstice the Greeks come over to this Temple to perform a thousand year old ritual to show the people the importance of the temple in greek culture.
Cyprus has the influence of both Greeks and Turks as the Turks invaded it as well. There is a buffer zone dividing North Cyprus from the rest of Cyprus though it is recognised as a seperate country only by Turkey. North Cyprus is full of Turkish Cyprians and the rest is full of greek Cyprians. Even the currency differs in these two parts. But since the past few years there has not been any agitation between the Turkish and Greek Cyprians and they are allowed to pass through the buffer zones to meet each other or explore the other part of Town. All in all , Cyprians are a wonderful set of people who host mind blowing parties and I’m happy to have seen that episode!
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