In to the hills

Our tuk-tuk arrived promptly to take us on the 30 minute drive to Ernakulam Junction for our train ride on the Bangalore Express to Coimbatore, and the next phase of our adventure. It took us a walk to the far, far end of the train (the trains here are looooong) and back again to find our coach with a/c and our assigned seats. The journey took almost four hours, during which food wallahs constantly plied the aisle with their “chai, chai” or “coffee, coffee”, and whatever other food items they were hawking.

Rajat met us in Coimbatore and we set off on the two-hour road trip to the NilGiris (blue mountains) with stops along the way. First stop was a large Tiffin (restaurant that is open all day serving Indian “fast food” – typically a light lunch. Ours was dosa with chutneys and sambal.

We stopped to look at plantations of curry leaf plants, something we have enjoyed in virtually every dish we’ve eaten. Rajat told us of its medicinal properties also. We were amazed by this young man who loaded two huge bundles of the leaves – each weighing about 60 kg – on to his moped and then gingerly took off to the wholesale market!

Just before starting our ascent, we stopped for a coconut milk and ate the deliciously soft meat from the coconut.

Up, up and round and round, we climbed to 6,550 feet passing lush tea plantations along the way. And here we are, in these beautiful hills, perched on the side of the hill. Renu and Ravi, our hosts, are delightful and full of stories and information.

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