Thursday 21 December 2006

Firming up on the route

Trying to pretend that the hip pain caused by too much shopping yesterday doesnt exist - the first of my hip replacements doesnt like lengthy trips. Instead I'll think positive: about where I'm going.

First I plan to travel down through Tamil Nadu, visiting the main Dravidian temple sites. These were mainly built during the dynasties of the Cholas, Pallavas and Pandyas, some as early as the 7th or 8th centuries A.D.

Then I plan to work my way up the coast of Kerala, where I will concentrate more on the scenery, an occasional beach stop, trips on the backwaters, and hopefully some delicious food! If there is time, I will fit in a trip on the Nilgiri Blue Mountain railway to the hillstation of Ooty. As usual I'm trying to pack far too much into five weeks ...

You can see maps of these two states on my website, at

Wednesday 20 December 2006

Got the rucksack - and mosquito repellent

I've replaced my old travel bag - bursting at the seams - with a swanky new Berghaus rucksack. Just hope I can lift it. I bought the rucksack, plus other essentials like weapons to zap mosquitoes and locks to deter the thieves on the otherwise splendid rail system, in London, at Black's, off Oxford Street.

The shop assistant came from Kerala and had studied at the university in Chennai, and so was able to give me useful advice. In turn I advised her NOT to take her father on the planned trip round Scotland at the New Year! She works in the shop to help finance her master's course in electrical engineering (at the University of Westminster) and will probably end up in somewhere like Bangalore. A very pleasant encounter.