Munnar, India

I had to wake up Rob upon seeing the rolling hills of Munnar as they were too beautiful to sleep through. Plus that did mean we were almost there. We were fortunate enough to find a hotel for only $15 a night in the town! Unfortunately, it was on the 4th floor with no elevator – but nothing we haven’t experienced before! We were thrilled that it was cooler here than in Kochi. Around 75 degrees it was perfect for walking around!

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Old British church in town

After settling into our room we decided to walk around the town. Our first stop was for lunch so we just went to a restaurant where we saw lots of people eating. We ordered the chicken stew, which is not like the stew we would have at home. It was more of a thick gravy and it was delicious! We stumbled upon a beautiful old English church, as most of India was previously colonized by the British. After we stopped at a chocolate shop to try an array of flavors from strawberry, mango and orange – but our favorite was the dark chocolate. It didn’t taste bitter like the dark chocolate at home (which I don’t like), it almost taste more like creamy chocolate.

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Chicken Tikka Massala and chapati bread

After a tuk tuk driver asked if we wanted to go on a tour of the spice fields the next day. First he took us to travel agencies to try to get the best rate for an overnight bus to take to Bangalore the next day. Once we thought we got a deal we arranged to go trekking the next day at 7 a.m. That night we went out for dinner at had Chicken Tikka Massala and our new favorite bread here – chapati. Delightful!

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The next morning we packed up our bags to check out, and our tuk tuk driver met us at our hotel to begin the hike. It was a nice and gradual hike at first. He taught us that the tea plant was actually a tree that they cut to make it look like bushes. And each tree produces all the leaves to make each kind of tree, it is just dependent on the leaf size.

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We made a stop at this meditation Rock. I struggled to climb up to it at first, but it ended up being a really rough rock and easy to climb!

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After about 2 hours of hiking I was starting to get hungry. We were informed that breakfast was included, and normally I am the type of person that needs to eat immediately when I wake up or I get hangry. We asked when breakfast was and he pointed to the top of a mountain. He asked, “Do you think you can make it?” I assured him I could. The hike was worth the view – and the breeze. He took out many fruits out of his backpack along with bread and jelly. We made banana jelly sandwiches. I was really wishing we had peanut butter, as the jelly here tastes quite artificial. We tried tree tomatoes for the first time, where he just cut a hole and we slurped out the tomato juices inside. We enjoyed passion fruit and watermelon.

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Next we hiked to an even bigger hike. Our guide saw I was struggling so he tore down a walking stick for me 🙂 Along this hike there were 12 crosses. We thought they may have represented the 12 apostles. I thought they represented Jesus helping my weak body get up that mountain, as I was praying “Lord Please give me the strength to finish this hike without dying.”

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Treehouses in the forest

On the other side of the mountain I was relieved to see it was all down hill from here. Not to mention we were now in the forest so it was nice and shaded! We came across some tree houses that we were actually looking at staying at, but they were a little out of our backpacking budget. Although they were about the same cost as hotels back home for about $130 a night so I would recommend staying their!

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Our tour guide standing next to the fig tree

Near to the tree houses was a garden. The lemon tree had the biggest lemons I had ever seen! They also had a beautiful fig tree. They let us suck on coffee beans, which actually have a sweet outside layer. Also along the trail he showed us frayed trees which had been rubbed against by elephants. Wish we could have seen them!

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Women working in the tea fields

Our tour guide asked me to try to pick the leaves as quickly as I could, I tried and failed. He showed me how fast they were and I was quite impressed! Than we saw a bunch of ladies who did this for a living, we learned only women do this profession and the men water the plants.

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On our hike back to our hotel we saw many cows. Cows are sacred in India so they can wander as they please. We finally made it back at 1 p.m. We had walked a total of 13 miles. Probably the most we have ever hiked! Needless to say we were a little sun burnt when we got back as we didn’t think to put on sunscreen. We were very hungry so we went back to the restaurant we went to for lunch yesterday and ordered another curry   dish.

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Indians asking for our picture

After coming back so sweaty from our walk the hotel was nice enough to let us use a room to shower up. Granted it was someones room that hadn’t been cleaned yet, we were just happy to have a shower! While waiting for the bus a group of Indian people asked if they could take our picture with us. We were the only tourists that I saw in this city. They said they were visiting Munnar on holiday too. They were very nice and wished us a good trip.

That evening we boarded the 12 hour bus to Bangalore. We were thrilled to have a sleeper bus again, but not very happy it didn’t have A.C. Thankfully we could open the windows. It was a windy ride at first through the mountains so we watched some tv shows on our phones to pass the time. When the roads straightened out we attempted to get some sleep.