What a jam-packed seventh month on the road we’ve had! I honestly couldn’t even remember where we were a month ago until I looked back through our previous blogs. The days and weeks all merge into one when you travel long term…
Month number seven started with a delayed flight from Kochin in Kerala to Bangalore, before jumping on an overnight train to the city of Hampi. When planning our India trip, we’d opted to visit Hampi over heading north to Goa – we’d just spent the last few stops seaside, Goan beaches full of Russian tourists didn’t appeal to us, and from what we’d read of Hampi, it reminded us a lot of Cappadocia in Turkey – one of our favourite spots in the world. With the cheap flight and convenience of the overnight train, the choice to visit Hampi was a no-brainer.
Hampi is a UNESCO World Heritage site, famous for its spectacular sprawling ruins, unworldly landscapes and millions of rock boulders. We hired a driver who was extremely knowledgeable about the area, and for an entire day we drove around the various sights of Hampi, checking out it’s temples, monolithic statues, underground temples and beautiful landscapes. It was definitely a highlight of our Indian adventure, and was a super affordable day out with our driver charging just 800 INR ($16.00 AUD) for the day.
We also trekked up to a viewpoint commonly known as ‘sunset point’ by the locals – a relatively easy climb up stairs and boulders to a small temple with 360 degree million dollar views. The view and the sunset were breathtaking.
Our very last stop in India was Mumbai. In true Indian style, our journey there was long… very long. Two trains and a two hour taxi over a 24 hour period, we arrived at 7AM in the morning. We didn’t get to explore as much as Mumbai as we’d originally planned – we were absolutely knackered, 7 weeks in India taking it’s toll on us. We spent a large part of our few days there in shopping malls and at the cinema – and to be perfectly honest, it was a great end to our trip, a chance to relax and recharge. We did visit a few of the famous landmarks, including the beautiful colonial area of Colaba, Gate of India, and the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus.
After nearly two months together, Mike and I said our goodbyes to each other as he returned to Australia for work, and I flew to Sri Lanka and met up with my friend Greg. Greg and I used to work with each other. He’s the most well-travelled person I know, having visited over 70 countries to date. You could say my conversations with him over the years definitely sparked my own wanderlust!
The last two weeks of January I spent travelling around Sri Lanka with Greg – it was a great experience travelling with someone else! Mike and I had previously talked about the fact that as a couple, we haven’t met a lot of people through our travels, as we tend to keep one another company – not really making an effort to meet anyone. It’s something we said we wanted to try and change up this year, and travelling with Greg gave me the opportunity to start! He would strike up conversation with anyone and everyone, and in doing so we had so many great conversations with other travellers, shared meals, shared safaris and exchanged details. I really enjoyed the social aspect of travelling with a friend and meeting new people – it adds so much more to the experience!
Greg and I travelled through the hill country before heading south along Sri Lanka’s coast, taking it slow and steady, changing our mind and booking as we went – also a different approach to travel for me. We parted ways in Negombo, as he went onto Vietnam and I got stuck into further trip planning until Mike arrived.
Mike and I set off on a similar route to what I’d done with Greg, as he wanted to see some of the places I’d already been. We based ourselves in Sigiriya for a few days and took a day trip to Polonnaruwa (blog post coming soon), and also climbed Lion Rock – you can read all about that experience here.
Taking a train into the hill country (where we had to stand for good four hours as it was so crowded), we’ve spent the last few days getting back to nature and exploring the beautiful town of Ella. We trekked whats known as ‘Little Adam’s Peak’ and visited the beautiful Ravana waterfall. The best part of our stop there? Following through on our mission to meet more people, and striking up conversation with another couple, whom we had dinner with – Maurits and Laura. It was so lovely to meet you both – see you in Amsterdam!
Currently we’re back in Udawalawe to head out on another wildlife safari, before heading back to the coast to spend a few days on the beautiful Sri Lankan beaches. A night in the fort town of Galle follows, before spending our last day and night back in Negombo, flying out the following morning.
I’m headed back to Malaysia which I’m REALLY excited for – after three months in both India and Sri Lanka I’m really looking forward to somewhere familiar and having the chance to rest up and enjoy modern conveniences (monorails! trains! cinemas! food other than curry!). I’m going to head back to Penang during my visit for a week as it’s a place I didn’t get to explore fully last time, and I want to see more of it!
If you missed out on any of our blogs over the last month, here are our most recent posts for you to check out. We still have plenty more of our experiences in Sri Lanka still to come!
- Our 2016 Travel Plans
- Photo Essay: Streets of Fort Cochin
- Indian Transport – Getting Around the Country
- What India is REALLY Like to Travel
- 10 Must-Do’s in Istanbul
- Climbing Lion Rock in Sigiriya
There’s been a lot of action happening on our YouTube channel, with all our footage from our India trip now uploaded so be sure to check them out!
Til next month,
Mike & Amy