Our arrival to Ooty was pleasantly uneventful; pleasant also in the way of milder temperatures and cool mountain air. Our hotel was situated upon a hill and set back from the noisy town center. A lavender lined path led the way to a quiet cottage run by an older Baha’i family.
On our first day, we set out to explore the town and do some urban hiking through the hills. We started at the Boat House and watched Indian tourists glide on the lake in peddle-boats. There is also a Thread Garden, an entire display of 150 varieties of plants all made out of thread. It took 50 workers 12 years to complete, “which is either really impressive or really sad,” says the guidebook. We then made our way to the fancy hotels in town to have a nice lunch and pretend we were guests. We relaxed at a quaint cottage for an excellent meal that made us feel like British royalty in the 1850’s. Finally, we walked to the Green Shop, a store specializing in environmentally-friendly and fair-trade products. After walking all over town, we relaxed in the evening. Unfortunately, Gabriella caught a stomach bug and spent the rest of the night exterminating it.
The next two days we took it easy so she could recover and I played caretaker. Sure enough, as soon as she was feeling well, I began emptying my stomach down the drain all night and our roles reversed. It’s like India was giving us one last pinch on the butt on our way out! Luckily, we managed to take a guided tour on our last day in town, once we were both feeling better. We went to various lookout points and tea gardens and got to see more of the countryside surrounding Ooty. The views were amazing and the tea was delicious. The hills were covered in tea gardens that would soon be harvested and packaged for our drinking pleasure. We also stopped by the Rose Garden, which had more varieties of roses than I ever thought possible.
Ooty is a nice a hill station and a welcome break from the heat, but it wasn’t anything that really amazed me, like some of the other places we’ve been. Perhaps I’m a bit jaded from our consecutive illnesses… Regardless, the rolling hillside, endless tea gardens, and towering eucalyptus trees are nothing to complain about.
After leaving Ooty, we departed on a 4-hour bus to Coimbatore and a 7.5-hour train to Chennai. We stayed in Chennai Tuesday night and flew south to Sri Lanka yesterday. Thus, our time in India has come to an end. The past two months have been an experience like none other, with its fair share of ups and downs (more ups than downs luckily!). I can’t imagine there being any other place more diverse, historical, cheap, beautiful, dirty, confusing, and welcoming than India. No matter what you’re looking for, chances are you can find it there. It’s time to explore Sri Lanka now, but if I can handle India, I can handle anything!