February 21, 2016
21.02.2016 - 21.02.2016 32 °C
We had bought tickets on the A/C train from Kollam to Kottayam while we were in Kochi. But on the advice of our host, Vijeesh, we decided to take the 8:00 train from Munroe Island to Kottayam instead. This would be cheap and get us to Kottayam quicker. So for 25 rupees each, we got on the train and found seats. Anja, a young German woman who had been staying at the same place, came with us. She was traveling to Munnar, so our path was the same for awhile.
At one of the next stops, a group of 2 men, 1 woman, and 1 girl got on. They were Indian college teachers going to a friend's daughter's wedding near Kottayam. The young girl, Devira, wanted to talk to Anja and us. They all spoke quite good English and we passed the time, about 2 hours, chatting with them.
After we arrived at Kottayam, we took a tuk tuk to the bus depot to catch a bus to Kumily. Anja came with us to get a bus to Munnar. There was a bus leaving right away so after a bathroom break - and the experience of an Indian squat toilet for old stiff knees and hips is unforgetable - we hopped on the bus for a 3 1/2 hour ride. There was a stop at one town long enough for Don to go and buy some snacks for us. I shared my seat for awhile with a couple of sisters, who were traveling with their mom and gramma to visit their aunt and cousins for the day. They were pretty shy but they talked a little bit to me.
We passed rubber plantations, coffee estates, and tea plantations. The views from the road were impressive when we could see thru the thick stands of forest. After we arrived, there was a tuk tuk driver expecting us and took us to Kerala House, our accommodation here. It is more like a hotel, with a big room with a lovely balcony looking out over the Tiger Reserve. It seems quite unlikely we will see a tiger, as there are only 35 to 40 in the whole park, which is very large.
He explained some of the park trip options to us and we decided to go on the bamboo rafting trip the day after tomorrow. So he took the money and went off to book a ticket for us.
After a rest and shower, we went out to find supper. We ate at Grandma's Restaurant, no grandma in attendance, but good food anyway. Then back to bed - traveling is pretty exhausting, both the trains and the bus are noisy, jolting rides.