Hampi is on the tourist route, a "must go" in Goa. It is a world heritage site, an ancient town, about 500 years old. And really interesting.
We took the train for a 6 hour journey. Second class sleeper, meaning you get a bed that is your seat during the day. Having evicted the locals that thought they should have our seats we had a great train trip through jungle up into the hills and then across the plains to Hampi. Trains are a great way to travel with lots to see both outside and inside the train. There are Chai Wallers selling tea/coffee along with others selling every thing from cold drinks, samosas, water, crisps (homemade) to guide books. They even take orders for lunch and Vanda was brave enough to risk ordering vegetable biryani - the food is collected from the next station and your lunch is delivered in a take away box. Some locals even ride the train's last few stops to try to sell tours and rickshaw rides in Hampi, to get an advantage over those that are waiting to pounce on you as you arrive at the station. All good fun if you know what they're up to. We were brave and made our way to a local bus where we paid 4 rupees (4p) to get to the local bus station where we changed buses and paid another 20 rupees to get to Hampi. 30minutes away (and saved ourselves 150 rupees!)
We stayed in a great place north of the river of Hampi meaning it was a bit more peaceful. We had a little cabin with en-suite, and running hot water for the first time this year! What luxury!..
Hampi is a great place, very laid back without being jammed with hippies, there are quite a few here though. We spent our first day touring the temples local to Hampi town which have some excellent carvings of various Hindu gods in the structure of the temples and palaces. On our second day we joined a cycling tour of some of the more remote sites which was great fun. The bikes were pretty cranky but that added to the fun. We rested on our third day, just enjoying the views from our cabin overlooking the rice paddies and bouldered landscape. On our final day we took a coracle ride down the river to a local hill and climbed over 570 steps to the birthplace of Hanuman, the Hindu monkey god. Excellent views from the top.
We enjoyed a great 5 days here, and could have spent longer. Then the night bus home which was a bit of an experience - we had to pay an additional 60rupees just to get on board, after we'd already paid 1200rupees each for the ticket, then they tried to sell us blankets and pillows. Apparently they used to provide them but people stole them so now they sell them. They said it could get cold on the journey as the bus has AC - we were prepared with our own (blow-up) pillows and sleeping bag liners and it wasn't cold in any event!.
We both managed to sleep a bit and the bus delivered us safely, at 5 am, back to Chaudi - the nearest town to Patnem where we managed to find a passing rickshaw to take us home. We have another week here before moving on to see more of India, which will be a whole new experience..
Love to all, C&V.