More shades of green than an Absinthe bar
Trip Start Feb 08, 2012
22Trip End Jul 28, 2012
Ooty was originally founded by the British and quickly became the mountain resort of choice for all the expats living in India. It then gained wider popularity with the locals and underwent a massive growth explosion which made the town itself a bustling crowded eyesore with the odd glimmer of past glory as it stands today. That's probably a bit harsh, but it's saving grace is the cool weather and its location nestled among the hills of the Nilgiri mountain range and surrounded by tea plantations which paint the hillsides in more shades of green than an Absinthe bar.
The next day was spent checking out the sites in town. 1st stop, a man made lake at the bottom of town which turned out to be a disappointment. The guide book talked about a serene mountain lake, peppered with paddle boats and picknickers. The reality was a dirty, rubbish strewn fenced off, stagnant mire with a dodgy theme park packed with locals as the only way to access the lake front. From the look of the water alone, I wouldn't have risked getting on the water as one spill in the drink would undoubtedly have left me with a disease bearing my own name (as the 1st known victim). There was nothing redeeming about the place, so I turned back and headed to the other side of town to visit the botanical gardens. These were very nice as botanical gardens go and I spent a good few hours wandering about.
Day 3, however, was a cracker! I'd read that Ooty is home to the best motorcycle ride in the world (http://urbanmixtape.in/2011/11/coorg-%E2%80%93-ooty-munnar-route-crowned-the-worlds-ultimate-riding-wonder-at-the-shell-advance-malaysian-moto-gp-2011/). Due to having no internet access, I couldn't look it up again when I was there, but discovered one which was the best I'd ever done. I'm sorely tempted as I write this to head to the end-point Munnar and give it a crack on an Enfield. I found a rental place and took them through my newly devised bike hire checklist:
1. Horn - pass
2. Brakes - pass
3. Helmet that provided some chance of surviving a spill - pass
4. Mirrors - fail, but after a short but emphatic conversation, pass
...And I was on my way. I headed up the local mountain which afforded great views over Ooty following a short but windy ride.