Time is really flying by. It's already February , can you believe it!? This is our fourth month in India which means we have less than three months left here. A bit sad perhaps, but we have planned for many weekends away from Chennai, to try to explore as many places in India as possible. India is a beautiful country and we've agreed we want to see as many places as we can while we are here. So exciting!
Last weekend we visited Munnar, which is a city located in Kerala. Munnar is mostly known for its tea plantations as well as spice plantations. It's up in the hills and the views are just magnificently beautiful. We went to Munnar by bus, which departed just outside of our office last Thursday evening. Thereafter, it was a 14 hour journey among India highways and steep and narrow roads in the hills when we came closer to our destination. The bus trip went okay actually, we got some sleep and we got to see amazing views on our way to the city. When we finally arrived in Munnar, we met up with our Bangalore friends who had arrived a few hours before us. After some lunch, we went to our hotel and spent the rest of the day in the nearby area. On our afternoon exploration walk, we met a girl a few years younger than us who invited us to for coffee in her home. The most surprising aspect of this random coffee break was that the girl and her family had a really beautiful garden with lots of different spices, fruits and vegetables that they grew themselves. She offered to show us around which made us all very excited. She was very knowledgeable due to her studying agriculture in college, and she described the different plants in a detailed and interesting matter. The family grew pepper, cardamom, nutmeg, coffee beans, cacao and loads of other spices. It was so cool to see this and we were so grateful for this family's hospitality. These memories are the ones you never forget! We never imagined an experience like this when we accepted the invitation for coffee.
The day after we arrived in Munnar, we went on a full day trekking among the tea and spice plantations. We started early in the morning and finished by late afternoon. We saw so many beautiful views on the trek, and at the most we were at 1800m above sea level. Apart from beautiful views, we also saw many kinds of different spices growing almost freely among the plantations. As a Swede, it really is fascinating to walk past a tree where peppers or cardamom are growing. We had a great guide on this trek, who told us a lot about Munnar, the tea plantations in general and the people working in the plantations. Apparently the average weight of tea leaves a person has to pick everyday is 27 kilos. That's a lot of tea leaves...
Here's the trek team! It's so nice we get to experience these things together as often as we have up until now. We love it!
We went past many houses on our trek which grew their own spices and fruits. Often, we walked past these views where they dried things like pepper and cacao beans. We also saw a lot of coffee beans which were so cool!
There were also many spices, tea and everything in between which you could buy in the town of Munnar. That's basically what you could do in the city. There were some restaurants, some hotels and then there was a lot of small shops selling what they produce in Munnar. Something we were surprised to discover were all the home-made chocolate shops in Munnar, which were everywhere. All of us bought so many spices to bring home to Sweden)!
All in all, we had a great weekend at perhaps the most beautiful place India has offered to us so far. But we have many more weekends planned, so lets see what we will discover in the future... Until the next adventure! /Malin