Saturday, 25 February 2017


Joshi picked us up from Ernakulam at 1pm for the 4 hour drive to Mettupalayam from where the steam train departs for its journey uphill to Ooty (which is a colonial hill station, the Summer capital of British government of Southern India.  It is approx 7,500 feet high built as a cool retreat for the Brits in the hottest months of the year)

Whilst we enjoyed the steam train journey, Joshi drove directly to Ooty with our luggage and was there to meet us from the train

We stayed overnight at a very small hotel called Woodland Residence which narrowly escaped being rated by us a 2 star place because it did have aircon so we'll be kind and award it 3 stars.   It was adequate for one night but Trip Advisor will have its ear bent!

We were at the railway station at 6am this morning in order to avail ourselves of the breakfast which David had read glowing reports about.   In the event it was a pretty standard Indian style breakfast in industrial surroundings but good fun anyway  and very tasty.     Joshi, David and I enjoyed it.

The train set off around 7.15am after the usual red tape.    A lady inspector, armed with clip board and a mountain of computer print-outs demanded to see tickets, booking slips, passports/identification before allowing us to board our first class carriage (which meant only 8 people in our compartment  and we get the faux leather (plastic) seats rather than the 10 people crammed onto wooden benches ).    We've done this train journey before but on the downhill run so David wanted to do the uphill run so the engine has to work harder and we'd get more 'CHUFF' for our money.

The 5 hour journey in fast class cost us £2.90 each (including credit card surcharge for using a non-Indian card).   We were in the front carriage (although facing backwards which meant having to keep twisting round to see what was ahead of us in order to take photos)

The real excitement of the trip was disturbing a black bear which then ran in front of us along the tracks before disappearing into the shrubs alongside the railway line.    Sadly neither of us got a good photo of the bear as we had to aim through two glazed windows which were very dirty/discoloured.   But we saw it and it was a bonus!  We didn't get a very close look at it as it was running in front of us but I think it was probably a Sloth Bear (based on my Google search)

If you really use your imagination you'll see this is a photo of a running bear (good Indian name methinks)!!   This is David's best shot (and 100% better than the image I achieved).   Who cares .. we know we saw a bear running along the track

The scenery is quite spectacular as the train climbs higher into 'tea plantation' country and the temperature drops by around 10 degrees which is quite wonderful for those of use who've been suffering from the 35+ degrees so far .....

The train stops regularly along the route so passengers can alight and buy paper cups of Chai (tea) and Indian snack foods/take photos etc.      The monkey population knows the timetable by heart and wait at several stations in anticipation of treats - they are very intrepid and will steal food left on seats by unsuspecting travellers.

1 comment:

  1. Looks marvellous, we would certainly love the train! Love the bear photo, reminds me of those taken of Big Foot 😂. Breakfast looked rather good too.