Archive for the ‘India’ Category

  • Temporarily out of Asia!!


    6 months were almost over and some good news arrived from Spain. Mi sister, 3 years older than me, gave recently birth to a handsome and friendly boy named Nico. This is the right moment, we thought, to come back shortly to Spain and have a holiday from our holidays or, in another words, rest a bit from so many months travelling. It is not that we were sick of travelling but we have missed some things that you only have when you are settled in a place, like the same bed everyday, like all our clothes stored in the same place and not in the backpack…


    Well, don’t be afraid, this is going to be short. The plan is to arrive to Spain, meet family, friends and colleagues and, calmly, look for the most convenient flight back to Asia, this time to Thailand and continue our trip as nothing had happened.

  • Kanyakumari, a short visit to the end of the Indian Subcontinent


    The southernmost point of the Indian Subcontinent is an apparently small fisherman town, which actually spreads out very wide in a big piece of land where the Indian Ocean meets the Arabian Sea. It is also a place of pilgrimage for Hindus, which makes from this town an interesting place to stop over and rest for a couple of days, visit the temple and join the morning and evening puja (prays and offerings in Hindu religion) in the beach.


    It is here where we met Andrea, an Italian guy who lives in London and who was able to give us a very good introduction into what meditation means . He also recommended us one place in Gokarna (one of our next moves in India) to learn more about its theory and praxis, which we will definitely check out once we are there. It is a shame that we are not able to rewrite on this travel blog all the information he gave to us.
    Our expectations (made out from the guide book that we and almost every traveller carries with him) of finding an “end of the world feeling” on this town disappeared soon. Cape Comorin, although being the tip of the country, is not as pointed as it looks like in the map and the views here are nothing special.

  • Munnar and the tea plantations


    Munnar is another one of India’s long list of hill stations, this one lying in between square kilometres of emerald green tea plantations that satisfy the needs of many of the tea lovers/drinkers around the world. The town is also know for its spice plantations, and the aroma of all those spices spreads in the wind coming out from the high number of shops in every street.


    Once again, bad timing to come to a hill station. We had not realise that it was Friday again, which means that many people escape from the hot city and move to any of the fresh hill stations, and there were two different bunk holidays happening at the beginning of the next week, so hotels were almost fully booked, streets pretty full and silence and tranquillity, what we were hunting, were totally absent.


    In any case, we enjoyed every minute hiking through the tea bushes and met some of the always smile local people, among them some of the all female crew in one of the huge plantations.

  • Too high expectations about Kochi


    We arrived in Ernakulam, twin city to Kochi, by train and very early in the morning. The good idea we had, was to store our luggage in the cloak room in the station, just to be free during the first morning hours to walk around and find a cheap place to rest for that night. Ernakulam and Kochi are divided by a wide deep channel home to many species of fish, such as the dolphins we saw during our lunch break in a roof top restaurant by the river.


    While Kochi hosts the old and beautiful part of the city, Ernakulam is the modern and busy capital of the region. Both them are hot and humid, and our bicycle ride and walk all around the streets on our search for a hostel was hard and sometimes annoying. We didn’t like it much, so we decided not to stay as long as we were expecting.
    We spent more time walking than anything else but also enjoyed much our few stops on a fresh juice bar, the boat rides and the Kathakali show early in the evening, where we could first get in contact with this beautiful south indian art expression.


    In any case, although we didn’t find the city as interesting as we first thought, we will never (I say never) forget this city for some negative reasons. On one side, the heat was so strong that we even felt dizzy and tired and were not able to enjoy our walks through the older part of Fort Cochin. On the other side, a legion of bed bugs were the real owners of the mattress we had rent in the hostel and didn’t allow us to have a proper sleep in the whole night. It was the first time so far that we’ve had these little bothersome creatures sleeping with us and it will hopefully be the last time too… f**cking bugs!!!

  • Chapora and the North of Goa


    Many western travellers are very attracted to Goa’s beaches and landscapes and spend most of the winter time chilling out on a hammock or sitting on one of the many bars and restaurants along the state. The average temperature here from October to March is around 30°C. Chapora and other towns in northern Goa are some of the hits for young travellers and backpackers and also the party scene for all those ravers and party-seekers.


    We spent almost 2 weeks exploring every corner of Chapora and surroundings, making new friends and just relaxing under some coconut trees on the sea shore. It was our re-encounter with friends, parties, alcohol and, obviously, hangovers after many months of sobriety: a good way to remember our uses and habits back in Spain…


    We highly recommend to stay in any of Chapora’s nice and cheap hostels, to rent a bike (a scooter is good enough but Einfiled’s, the indian Harley Davidson’s, are also available at very low rates comparing to any of the western countries) and ride around, north and south, to find the most beautiful places by your own: we are not going to disclose any secret in this travel blog, insider tips should not be put on every hand’s reach, but we can assure you that there are still secret-hidden beaches, which the common tourist never find. Good luck with your search!!

  • Prearranged marriages


    Our visit to Varanasi coincide with an auspicious time for marriages. We saw many Indian couples offering “puja” to the Ganges river and many other wedding ceremonies all around. While relatives sang and danced very happily, couples seemed to be in most of the cases sad and not having a very good time. We wondered why…


    Marriage is a very serious matter in the Indian society. Love marriages are not very usual, and are normally prearranged by the families, who decide the perfect bridal couple for their son or daughter. Everything has to correspond, from the religion to the caste, the economic status, the language, the alimentary habits and the horoscope. If these premises don’t fit the marriage won’t take place otherwise the couple risks to be excluded of the family and society. Therefore the marriages are not based on love and become a mere trade transaction between families. It is not surprising then finding thousands of advertisements on the Indian newspapers, specifically organised by religion, caste and sub-caste and profession, looking for the perfect wife or husband.


  • The Holy Cow


    The holy cow, known as Gau Mata or Mother Cow, has a special place on the Indian psyche. But why are the cows holy in India? For sure this is a question that most of us have thought at least once. During our visit to Jaisalmer we were staying at a very nice a cozy hotel inside the Fort. We noticed that a cow came everyday to the same house and waited in the entrance until an old men gave her sweets or food. We asked him why and he told us that cows are holy and everyone respect them and also explained to us the reasons why. Many centuries ago, when the Indian civilization was still nomadic and based on the agriculture, money wasnt established yet on the rural areas and the cow was the way to measure someones wealth. Therefore it became the legal currency, exchanged for food and services, given for the marriage dowry or to pay the taxes. Besides, the cows milk was the main nutritious source for the majority of the countrys population. The cows dung was also used as a combustible in the house stove and as construction material when mixed with clay.


    Aside the economical reasons, the cow is also considered holy due to the belief that Hindus can reach heaven just after crossing a mythological river grabbing a cows tail. Besides, the ceremony for the soul pass of a dead person includes the donation of a cow to the Brahman priest. This kind of tradition assures that the cows are treated with respect in the Hindu society. From our point of view, cows are also very useful because they eat literally everything they find: organic waste, plastics, cardboard… The garbage collection system in India is really bad or non-existent sometimes, luckily they have the cows to take care of it!


  • Goa


    Goa is the selected place for many tourists to spend their long term winter vacations due to its mild weather, its scenic palm-fringed beaches, natural harbours, wide rivers and the occidental ambience all around the state. The coast line has everything, from white sand beaches and river mouths to Portuguese fort ruins guarding rocky caves. Goa’s inland is also beautiful, with tropical forests, paddy fields, coconut palm groves and small villages. Due to its colonial past, Goa has a character quite distinct from the rest of India. Goans are easy going and friendly people with a good sense of humour.


    Apart from historical sites and nice beaches, entertainment is also assured in Goa. Hollywood movies and sport events are screened in many bars. Cultural events, such as music jam sessions or DJ sessions, are held on many hotels and restaurants along the coast. Motorbikes and scooters can be rented on daily, weekly or monthly basis to cover the short distances between all the touristy towns in Goa and the innumerable beaches, plus the scenic rides through rice fields, forests or over river channels and small lakes. Goa has long been known as the party scene for western ravers, coming here to enjoy the never ending full moon parties. Although its glorious days are over, the touristy infrastructure is still developing to allocate the every year bigger tourist demand. Nevertheless we where pleasantly surprised when we discovered that there are still beautiful and quiet hidden places in some parts of Goa, where you can escape from the tourist crowds and the noisy parties and enjoy the laid-back atmosphere and time passing by.

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  • Matheran, the hill station


    After the visit to busy Mumbai, our wish was to find a good place for a quiet and cheap stay. To relax, trek and work a bit on this travel blog to keep it up to date. We thought we have found the right place in Matheran, an environmental friendly town in the mountains where motor vehicles and plastic bags are banned. This thing surprised us, since it is not very common in India at all. After arriving there we realised that the town was by far not what we were expecting. We arrived uphill with a toy train, which was good fun, paid the compulsory 25 rupees entrance fee to town and wandered around the over lightened main street. Surprised by the lights, colours and products of the multiple surrounding shops, it seemed to us for a moment that we were in an fair. The town was busy and loud, even though that vehicles are not allowed inside. Most of the visitors were groups of young Indian friends, wanting to party and escape of the high temperatures of the plains. So we didn’t find the quietness we were expecting to.


    Nevertheless, we did different treks, from a couple of hours to half day excursions, through beautiful forests and scenic point views, although the mist didn’t allowed us to get the best views. The trails were highly populated with monkeys and we had to “fight” once with one of them ,as he was trying to take our bag with him. The result: Hector felt down on a rocky place and hurt his leg. The monkey run away fast and without the bag. Hector knows now the fact, monkeys are real wild animals and not just sweet game fellows to play with.

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