Monday, February 11, 2008

Weekend in Hampi

This weekend I went to Hampi with Catherine who visited from Dublin. It was full of adventures but yet very relaxing. I will definitely go back if I ever have the chance.

We started the trip on a 12 hours train ride in a sleeper class. ouch. It was way too busy and way too noisy and WAYYYY too dirty. 5pm till 5am. I had no sleep all night and I will avoid traveling on a Sleeper class again.

Arriving to Hospet (nearest village) at 5am was exciting but still very dark. Having lived in cities all my life, I sometimes forget it can be dark out there when the moon is not in its full glory. With the usual ritual we bargained a bit and got an auto-rickshaw to Hampi for 100 Rupees. Hell the ride was scary. If you can - try arriving in day light.

Following the advice of Lonley Planet we looked for Gopi's Hostel to have a quick breakfast (they claim to be open at 6.30am) but it was still deserted when we climbed up to the restaurant. So we walked back to the main street around the bazaars and watched how the villagers are waking up. It was really relaxing and interesting to see. Remarkably were the ladies cleaning the store/home-fronts. They do it few times a day. But we couldn't figure out why don't they pick the trash and throw it away? With every slightest wind the dirt is back to where it was 5 minutes before...

We walked up to the temple and overlooked the street while planning our next steps.

With a sever hunger we headed back to Gopi where we had basic, yet nice, breakfast. (no Shak-Shuka for breakfast).

Happy with the food we then took a nice rickshaw guy to drive us around the ruins. We spent 4 hours with him and paid 300 Rupees (we knew we could get it for less but couldn't care less). He was super nice and tried his best to be a guide. There are many temples around that area but all the small ones looks alike and we got bored and tired after seeing dozen of 'em. There were few exceptions: the Zenana Enclosure where we could see the Elephants stables and Vitthala Temple which is quite impressive.

So cutting it short we asked our driver to skip few and headed to the Mango Tree Restaurant. This place is a must if you pass by, they served the best food I had so far in India, including a selection of Israeli dishes like Hummus and Falafel.

The ambiance in this place is so relaxing and it is super clean and cheap. The view from the stone seats is astonishing with the river and the Hampi rocks at the back. We loved the pancake with Nutella chocolate and bananas. yummy.

Stuffed with the food and tired after a long day we decided to cross the river and go to our guest house. For 10 Rupees each we hopped on a tiny boat with 15 more ppl and 2 bicycles. During a short walk from the river we came across dozens of Israelis and many restaurants advertising their Israeli food (in Hebrew). 7 minutes and we arrived to the Shanti Guest House. It was exactly what we needed. For 650 Rupees we got en suite double bed (w/o hot water) bungalow in a relaxing atmosphere.

After a short nap we dinned in the guest house restaurant which overlooked the rice fields. The food, once again, was super cheap and superb. The Menus 2 pages Israeli section included Zaknoon, Malawah, Shakshuka and many more Israeli dishes. Shalom-la-malka was unfamiliar to me but apparently is Israeli (where from??) dessert made of crushed biscuits, chocolate sauce and vanilla ice-cram toping it all. Without noticing we realized we spent there 4 hours! I guess the loudly laughing stoned young Israelis near by kept us entertained.

The next day we woke up to the quite and beautiful setting from our bungalow and asked the boy to bring us coffee. We got ready slowly and headed for another walk around the bazaars but this time for Shopping. It was a very successful day for both of us. In just few hours we got trousers, bangles, necklaces and even flip-flops.

With the awesome experience of dinning in the Mango Tree Restaurant, we decided to revisit and it was as good as in the previous day. Sad but satisfied we had to go and catch our train back to reality. We hopped on the A/C 2 class boogie and were the happiest people on earth realizing we will actually be able to have a peaceful ride back to Hyderabad.

1 comment:

Avi Fomberg said...


I m heading to Hampi, was great to read ur blog... :)