I have been to Ooty umpteen times, but this one was special. Not only because it was our first trip together after being Mr and Mrs. Rajeev, it was a pakka traveller trip.
We planned it in 1 day. Just booked the to and fro bus tickets and off we were.
The bus travel was nice. The food at Kamats in Mysore was perhaps the first thing worth mentioning :) We had North Karnataka thali...Jawalad Roti with butter and moong sabji. I loved it. The whole stretch of Bandipur was nice and green just after the monsoons. We saw some dear, pea-hens, elephants, monkeys and so on. The stretch from Gudalur to Oooty was divine. The hairpin bends leave your head whirring while the tea gardens and tall Eucalyptus trees mesmerize you. I love d to see the setting sun play hide-n-seek between the trees.
We reached Ooty at around 8 pm. Found a place to stay facing the Udagamandalam station. This is the station meant for the small mountain train..yes yes the one on which Chaiyya Chaiyya was shot :D.
The next morning we started our journey from the boat house, which was only about a km from the hotel. The pedal boat ride was fun. The next destination was Coonoor. I had always wanted to go here, coz thats where my mother had spent some of her best days as a kid. I had heard a lot from her, and wanted to see it for myself.
I loved the city for its old-world charm. We took the mountain train to Coonor. The 1 hour ride to cover 19 Kms , is truly worthwhile. The view from the window, was no less than watching the travelogues on travel and living. The tiny squares of vegetable fields, tea gardens, small green houses...and the best of them all, the wild flowers. It was a dreamy ride for us.
We then went to Sims park. It was peaceful, and away from the usual tourist hustle-bustle that Ooty indulges in. We spent a good 1-2 hours there, as we got the news of a new addition to our family, Shreya, jeev's neice was born.
We decided to walk back to the station, about 2.5 Kms from Sims Park. It was fun. The churches, markets and the people were typical of hill station. To our surprise when we got back to the station, it was deserted. The good part was that there was a soul, perhaps meant only to guide us, at the station masters office. My panic meter raised an alarm, we had to take the bus from Ooty back, that very same night. Lucky enough, we got a bus back. This too was good, for the picture perfect view it has to offer.
Now the last lap, I bet you can never guess where we went. :D the municipal market in Ooty. Jeev promised me to turn veg for life, if he were to get fresh vegetables like they sold there. And me a pakka shopaholic, did some shopping there as well. I brought carrots and grapes :) and some home made Ooty Chocolates.
We could start our return journey at 10. Then came the Sholay "kitne aadmi the..." moment. The bus was halted. It was pitch dark. You could hear an argument from far. I was s*** scared. For a moment I thought our bus had fallen into the valley. I gathered my senses and woke up jeev. He was startled, but was soon ok and tried to console me....and then. The bus door opens. All you hear is boots...tak tak tak tak....and then the light comes up. I wanted to scream aloud no no wait...am ready to shell out all my credit and debit cards. phew!!! It was only the cleaner of the bus, confirming that all was fine. Thanks to the new rule that no buses can ply in the jungle zone between 10pm and 6am, we were stuck right before the jungle. We reached Bangalore only at around 1 pm.
Be it the beauty of nature or the natural fear in me...this is one of most memorable outing for sure!