March 12 – 15, 2017
Accommodations: Travellers Inn – Fort (2600INR/night, booking.com). We happily returned to Travellers Inn where we stayed when we first arrived in India. Our room this time had slightly nicer decor but the best thing was the really hot water shower. The only downside was they did away with the not-too-bad breakfast and replaced it with a toaster and white bread in the common room.
Transportation: We travelled from Canacona to Mumbai via India Rail, 3AC class. We enjoyed meeting our fellow travellers in 3AC (six bunks to a berth). We slept well on the gently rocking train. We arrived at Lokmanya Station, ignored all the rickshaw/taxi touts pestering us as we walked from the train and found the pre-pay taxi stand. While in Mumbai we again walked frequently but also took a commuter train from Churchgate to Khar Station and back to visit with a friend. A real Mumbai commuter experience!
Food: Various restaurants but the one that stood out was the Apoorava Restaurant where we had Bombay Duck (actually fish) and other Mumbai specialties. We also had our tastebuds excited by a pudding (we’ve yet to identify) from a milk shop on a small side street; chai from small shops and street vendors; ice cream to die for from K Rustom’s; chicken tikka …
When we originally reserved our room we were only thinking of being in Mumbai to catch our flight home. However, during our time in Fort Kochi we met a wonderful Indian woman artist who invited us to visit her on our return to Mumbai. We were so lucky to have Arti invite us to her home and help us with our last minute shopping. She also informed us that we were going to be in Mumbai for Holi, the Hindu Spring festival.
We arrived on a Sunday when the Holi festival was about to start with evening bonfires (check my Instagram feed for photos). Mumbai seemed almost deserted with little traffic for the first two days of our stay. We arrived early Sunday morning and while having coffees noticed some classic cars lining the street just before leaving on a Sunday cruise. And we were able to view some of the architecture without the distraction of almost being run-over by the frenetic traffic.
We started our Monday morning with chai from a small shop near our hotel. While sitting chatting with another customer we got our first dash of Holi colour from a passing man who dabbed our foreheads. Now that we were marked others soon approached us with more colours…
and the colour continued to build, layer upon layer as we met people on our Holi wanderings.
Back at the hotel we thought we’d dust off, have a shower… but no! Travellers had organized a Holi party and we were soon being sprayed with water and splattered with yet more colour. After showering though we discovered that some pigments have staying power: the red/pink finally disappeared about five days later!
Colours: India is super-saturated….
So our final few days in India were not solely devoted to last minute shopping. We enjoyed Holi, especially interacting with so many happy people. And of course the food …
The people really made our trip to India special. We met so many wonderful, friendly, helpful people.
And now we’re home again. We’re missing India. We never got to all the places we wanted to because we kept staying longer wherever we were. Which means we’ll be returning to continue our travel adventures.
It’ll take a few days to recover from jet lag (we’re back halfway around the world) but then I’ll write a final post and attempt to summarize our experiences and pass along any tips for travellers to a most intriguing country.