Trip Start Sep 19, 2012
79Trip End Feb 28, 2013
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Where I stayed
Nestra guest house
On one of my last night a group of us meet for dinner at a local restaurant. There was an English couple, Hippie Mike from Germany, Susannah from Slovakia, Rachel (UK) and two young girls from Germany. The conversation was interesting as often things had to be translated and explained. Bogy the Englishman had ordered Stuffed Calamari. When it arrived it resembled 3 large Testicles on a bed of rice. We then had to translate the meaning of testicles to bollocks and balls. Obviously this created much mirth. Susannah, a shy girl, who had the least understanding of English was very quiet most of the meal and didn't say much. After we left the restaurant one of the German girls wanted to borrow my bicycle
21 Feb 2013. Caught the train to Hospet which passed through some amazing scenery. I love the food on trains as I never know what it is and just buy from the vendors as they pass. It is very cheap so if I don't like it I can bin it but in most cases it is GOOD. From Hospet caught a Tuk Tuk to Hampi. What an amazing place situated in an incredible landscape of huge orange/brown boulders surrounded by coconut and banana plantations and strewn with ancient ruins and temples.
Hampi was the capital city of the Vijayanagara empire between 1343 and 1565. It was a strategic site along the banks of the Tungabhadra River and was the hub of the spice, cotton, pearl and diamond trade. It was reputed to rival Rome in wealth and statue. Eventually it was laid to siege by a coalition of Northern Muslims rulers who didn't want the city but sacked it and destroyed many Hindi deities and removing most of the wealth. What was once a huge trading centre with rows of bazaars is now 26 square miles of incredible ruins scattered amongst huge granite rocks.Some are well preserved and some are in a bad way.
The two German girls, Josie and Maria as well as Rachel had arrived a few days before me and had arranged accommodation on the roof terrace of a guest house. During the day it was used as a restaurant with the patrons sitting/ lounging on the mattresses and then in the evening we hung up mosquito nets and slept
The best way to see Hampi is to hire a bicycle. My bike must have been the worst bike in the world. The frame had been welded so was not street. The pedals were bent and there were no brakes. the girls and I set off and had great fun exploring the area. There are coconut sellers everywhere and they are very deft in slicing off the tops of the coconuts and making a small hole so one can drink the water inside. Once you have finished they then split the coconut in half , slice a small wedge of the bottom which you then use to scrape out the pulpy flesh to eat. Very refreshing but I am not a big fan of coconut but I guess if I was stuck on a deserted island i would survive.
The main temple is still in use and the temple elephant, Laxmi, will bless you, by placing her trunk on your forehead, for a few rupees. Very clever elephant as she will accept coins from Indians but only notes from tourists! Every morning she goes down to the river for her bath and a swim and anyone who wishes to get into the river and help give her a scrub. You can see how just lies there in bliss as she is scrubbed for head to toe
There were some lovely walks to see the various ruins and most days I would start off early and then return to my roof terrace for lunch and a siesta and then go out once it had cooled down in the afternoon. There is another small village across the river which was a quick ferry ride. If you missed the last ferry one then had to return by coracle.I didn't know people still used this mode of water transport.
Once across the other side life changes as meat and alcohol is available and it is also a place where long time travelers hang out for a while. Very relaxed and cool vibe. I hired a scooter and headed of to a nearby dam. Crystal clear waters with sandy beaches between massive granite boulders. A great place for a refreshing swim in the 37 degree heat.
All in all Hampi is an awesome place and once again met some really interesting travelers and spent many an hour talking about life, travels and a whole lot of other shit. There is not one thing that defines travelers. Each one has their own reason for traveling. Their own philosophy of life. Their own sense of belong to this world. Most of them just like the adventure. Most of them a just very positive people. I like this