To be on a vacation is so exciting, simply because one can be away from the routine of life. The routine on a vacation is anything we want it to be. Get up early; get up late. There is no cooking, no getting the kids ready for school, no getting them to do homework – ah nothing to do can be so much fun :).
Food for the eyes
So, after a lot of planning amid threats of younger son’s conjunctivitis passing on to other members of the family and Cauvery agitation threatening to spoil our journey, we took off to the “Queen of Hills” – Ooty. Yes, this is the first time I was going to Ooty. Pretty strange considering we live in Bangalore but so it was. Luckily, we left very early in the morning to avoid any dharnas on the highway. The roads are good, and the weather was great. We caught breakfast at a Mandya darshini. I just love the steaming idlis and vadas that you get in these places. My absolute favorite for breakfast. The climb up Ooty’s mountains is one of the steepest that I have seen and feels very dangerous too. Once up there and in the resort with a lovely view of the carrot, potato and cabbage fields, it was bliss.
The fabulous trees at Botanical Gardens
The most relaxing part of the vacation was no internet. Seriously, have you thought about how many hours we spend browsing everyday either on social networking sites, emailing, blogging or blog hopping? And, when you don’t have that, you have so many hours on hand to go out and explore :). Ooty has the best Botanical Gardens that I’ve seen, really well maintained, peaceful and so vast. We loved it so much; we went there two consecutive days. And, we bought loads of seeds, plants and bulbs. Keeping fingers crossed that they blossom. Ooty also has some wonderful international schools – Good Shepherd, Lawley and Lawrence School. The kids were having a break and so the place was buzzing with parents. There were many foreigners too – either visiting their kids at school or as tourists.
Nilgiri Mountain train
We loved taking the famous Nilgiri Mountain Train. The kids were really excited to go in it. Boat ride was fun too though the water was really dirty. And, the boatman spoke fluent English. He was a grandfather to six grandkids and was fluent in six languages. Ooty is very commercialized, so the beauty of the lush hills is marred by a number of houses built. We loved shopping for home-made chocolates from the oldest chocolatier in Ooty that had featured on the TLC. It was fun speaking to the guy whose grandfather had setup this quaint little shop in the times of the British. One thing that I noticed was that everyone was fluent in Hindi. Considering this is Tamil territory, this was surprising to me. We were prepared to use Kannada and Telugu if English and Hindi did not work but did not need to :). People are friendly and helpful.
A charming five-day break and a great holiday. The journey back had its hitches too. Our car’s front tire actually went off the cliff when we were on our way back. A bunch of men from an auto jumped down and came to our rescue. They helped get the wheel back on to the road. The ride down was really scary. Mountain roads are steep and narrow. Hubby really did well in maneuvering them comfortably. And, then we were caught in the dharna between Mandya and Maddur too.Overall, loved the lush green route and the greenery in Ooty. It was a nice, relaxing vacation. And the resort had some great holiday activities planned for kids. That helped a lot in keeping them engaged :).