Ooty itself never got any better however our stay here was made worthwhile when we did a day hike in the Blue Mountains (Nilgiri Hills) and a trip to Mudamali National Park.
Our guide, Anthony, took us for a day long hike into the mountains. We went through Eucalyptus and Tea plantations, over rolling hills which reminded me of the Lake District and Jono of New Zealand. For a moment it felt as if we’d transported ourselves instantly to the Lakes with the drizzle, sheep and clean and pollution free surroundings. Sheer bliss! The hike was made even better as our guide who’d been leading tourists around for the past 16 years was known to all the locals and we got a friendly reception wherever we were. It was really sweet to see grown women giggling like school girls asking Anthony for sweets. I asked him how they knew he had some and apparently he always carries them with him.
Yesterday we got up at the crack to dawn and made our way to Mudamali National park to catch the 7am tour round it to see the wildlife, both of us hoping to see wild Elephants. The alarm went off at 4.30 and we packed up as we had to take all our stuff with us, as we were off to Chennai that night. Thankfully we’d bought a torch at Heathrow as there was a power cut and without it we’d have left half our stuff behind.
The taxi we’d hired was due to pick us up at 5am so we dutifully waited outside our Hotel (Reflections Guest House). Half an hour later, the taxi had not turned up and we’d just decided to go back into the warmth of our hotel room when he turned up. Both of us were secretly disappointed that we could not go back to bed.
The park lived up to expectations and we got to see wild Elephants, a little too close for my liking. As we were being driven round the park we were looking at Elephants in the distance to the right when I heard a trumpet and looked to my left where a whole herd of Elephants was approaching at speed. I panicked and tried to close my window, like that was going to help. Then I tried to take a picture but got nothing. So much for my calm photography skills. Luckily, Jono kept his composure and captured some video, it does not quite do it justice but I’m pleased he got it.
After the excitement of the park we traipsed around a few more sights but the dull, drizzly day made them a chore. We’d planned to spend the whole day doing this but by lunchtime we were done, so as to get some value for money we asked the driver to take us to the Botanical Gardens in Ooty. I’m so pleased we did as this IS the highlight of Ooty and if you ever get here it’s not to be missed. It’s well maintained and can compete with anything I’ve seen before. It has trees and plants from all over the world – some of which are hundreds of years old.
Ooty has very little to offer, however the surrounding country side is superb and very different to anything else we’ve seen and getting there on the Blue Mountain Railyway is a real treat.