We finally left Varkala the next day and took the train and bus to get to Kumily. We didn't have any train tickets book which was a bit of a risk but we were pleasently surprised when we bought tickets at the train station, were told we could sit anywhere, and ended up having the whole carriage to ourselves! I didn't think that was even possible, but it was really nice. We spent some time wondering if we were supposed to be there, but the ticket inspector didn't say anything so it was fine. the journey was only supposed to take 2 hours to Kottayam, but it stopped for about half an hour at every station so it took 3 and a half hours instead.
When we got to Kottayam we were going to stay there since it had already reached 3pm, but it looked like a bit of a hole so we got a rickshaw to the bus station and got the bus to Kumily. The bus was packed again, and it took 4 hours to get there so we arrived about 7.30pm. Half of the journey was in the dark, which i was glad about, because we went up some mountains and that way i couldn't see the sheer drops when the driver was racing around the bends! It started to get really cold (the bus doesn't have windows, it's just spaces where the windows are meant to be, so you always get the windswept look after a bus journey) the further we got up into the mountains.
We called a couple of guesthouses when we got there, but they were all full, but luckily we bumped into one of the guys we had met at the guesthouse in Allepey and he showed us to a nice place. Because of the climate, it was the first time that we didn't need to use a fan in our room - which actually makes it eerily quiet at night! We had some dinner there a couple of times, but decided not to anymore because the whole family watches you while you eat which is really annoying! they serve up the curry, then they watch and you go 'mmmm, yummy' and pat your stomach hoping that they will be satisfied with that and go away, but they watch you eat the whole thing! They even run to put more rice on your plate when it looks like you are running out. They are nice, but a little too nice!! The next day we just walked around the town, and booked a 3 hour trek at 6am (!) then next day, and then a spice and tea plantations tour for the afternoon. While we were walking we saw some monkeys on the other side of the road and went to take some pictures - they didn't like that and one of them hissed and bared their teeth at us. I s*** myself (not literally) and Jack kicked his leg out incase it started coming towards us, but it didn't!! Quite scary!
It was easy to wake up the next day as the mosque sends out a prayer call at 5am every morning... The 'walk' was not what we expected at all. We had arranged a private walk, but there were 3 other german girls with us. Not that we minded, it just wasn't what we expected. The guide was rubbish, and he walked far too fast and we all struggled to keep up with him. I was expecting a leisurly walk where you can amble along and look for wildlife - but no. Jack spotted a grasshopper and stopped to look but was told to hurry up! Having only worn flip flops for the last 3 months or so, we put on our trainers and inevitably we both got blisters on our heels within 10 minutes of walking. What didn't help is Jack stood on the back of my heel (flat tyre) when we were walking and ripped all the skin off my blister. It was raw, and really painful so i had even more difficulty keeping up with the rest! There were also a lot of leeches around and we had to keep brushing them off our trainers incase they got on to our skin. One of the girls got bit on her thigh and she was wearing jeans - it must've crawled all the way up, yuk!
We walked to the top of a hill, which would have had a spectacular view, but it was misty and cloudy and we didn't really see anything. I asked the guide if we were going back the same way he replied 'yes, same way, different way'. This is the kind of s*** answers you get in India - that or a head wobble that can mean anything! So, still none the wiser we set off down the hill. We didn't see anything exciting, just some elephant poo which the guide told us was about 2 days old, some monkeys, chilli plants, ginger plants and the coolest thing was the skin of a cobra that it had shed probably a long time ago!
We eventually headed back to the guesthouse at 9.00am, it feels strange to have done so much before we even usually get out of bed! I am completely covered in scratches from walking through really thick grass and jungle, feet killing me and probably sore legs tomorrow! All in all, a really crappy trip!
But the spice gardens and tea tour was much better. We got picked up at 1.00pm (Jack had a wee sleep before we went) and went to a spice garden. The guide was very knowledgeable, and we saw some cool plants and what they are used for. Then we went to a tea plantation which was really good, and we talked to the workers there - who are only women, with one man telling them what to do! We took some photos of them (they loved the camera!) and they asked us to post them the pictures when we get home, so we have their address to do that. Then we went to the tea factory to see what happens to the leaves before it gets sent out. It was quite interesting.
That night we were shattered so got an early night. We also had a bus the next day at 6.20am, so another early start! The bus was the express bus - which we have now realised translates to 'express - push the bus to the limits, go really fast, don't slow down for anything, not even corners or other traffic/pedestrians/cows'. It was so rough, there were people being sick out of the window! The bus conductor guy was handing our sick bags to everyone! We hadn't eaten that day so we were ok!!
We arrived in Kochin in one piece, and are staying here for one night before getting a night train tomorrow to Bangalore. We had pizza hut for dinner last night, which cost about 2 quid, it was so nice to have some 'normal' food!!