February 10 and 11
Back in the car and off to Ooty. This is the name given by the British. I guess Udhagamandalam was a bit too long and complicated.
In order to navigate the steap climb up to Ooty , the road has 36 hairpin bends! Every bend has a sign so you know how many more to swing through. We were dropped off at Ooty’s train station for our ride to Coonoor on the Nilgiri Mountain Railway’s little blue heritage toy train, a train, using a rack and pinion track.
We had nice company in our first class cabin. Difference between first and second class? A more peaceful journey away from the crowds.
We rambled through beautiful country side, dotted with tea plantations. After approximately 1 hour we arrived in Coonoor where Vinod was waiting for us, having done that same trip by car, with our luggage.
We were driven to the Swamy & Swamy Plantations PVT, Ltd, High Field Tea Factory.
A guide explained about the tea growing process while my eyes kept wandering towards the gorgeous tea plant covered slopes. We walked through the factory and learned about the tea processing operation.
And then we went back outside and a let my camera loose on all that beauty. Just wandering between all those tea plants, watch the light filter through all the green. And it was so peaceful, so quiet.
Later on, when the women started coming back with their tea picks of the day, we drove to our hotel, the Tea Nest, located right in the middle of the tea plantations.
Walking around late in the afternoon Vinod pointed out bison (gaur) meandering through the tea fields. When they got a little too close for comfort the advised me to stay put, borrowed my camera and took some very good pictures.
Early breakfast next morning and off we were again, direction Coimbatore for our train ride to Ernakulam. The first part of the trip we negotiated snake-like mountain roads followed by busy highways for the rest of the trip.
The train journey took about 4 hours and at Ernakulam we were met by a representative of the Indian Agency for indiaonline.nl, Travel XS.
And that is another story.