– some stuff I want to write about…
Often I have been accused of being too planned and too prepared with trips, so it had been on my mind to break those shackles. Opportunity presented itself when a friend suggested an unplanned trip where we decide the next destination on the move. I got a week off from office and we decided to make this a budget friendly adventure trip.
The only ticket which was pre-booked was the ticket to the first destination, but that too was known only to my friend and he didn’t inform me where we are headed till we boarded the bus from Vashi. Hubli was the first stop as it is a good stop over to explore some interior places in Karnataka. We spent the day visiting the Unakal lake which had a good promenade and garden around it, followed by Nrupatunga Hill which offered a good view of the entire city and was a nice place to spend some time while it rained. The rain was a pleasant surprise and it changed the atmosphere radically. After the hill we went to the Glass House which was a well maintained garden with an Aquarium and an amphitheater. After the overnight train journey and a whole day of sightseeing, this was a moment of leisure and we lazed on the grass.
While returning to our hotel, we stopped by the bus stand and enquired about the options we have to travel further and we decided on Hampi as the next stop. Details of the Hampi trip can be found on this link – https://joysown.wordpress.com/2014/11/22/why-hampi-will-be-revisited/
After the amazing Hampi outing, we took an evening bus out of Hampi and reached Hubli post-midnight. A good breakfast later, we took an early bus to Dharwad and then on to Dandeli. We met one of the tour agents there and decided to go for a river rafting (9 kms, 8 Rapids of Grade II & III) on the Kali river and opted for a tent stay in the jungle. The river rafting was an amazing and there were many occasions when they allowed us to leave the boat and swim in the river too. Tired and drenched, we reached the camping site to freshen up and headed for the night jungle safari. 6 kms we walked in the jungle with the guide looking for signs of animals and it was towards the end that we saw the shining eyes of a leopard, deer and jungle cats. We went for a bird watching trek the next morning and saw a few feathered friends whose names I don’t recall. This was the last leg of our trip and we had to reach home by the next day. We spent the rest of the day playing carom, chess and some board games. We took a bus to Belgaum and then another on headed home.
It was a very different trip from what I am used to. Having no plan as such is nice in a way that it allows for a lot of surprises. We met quite a few interesting people ranging from a Mumbai based family of 4 to a nomadic French couple traveling in India doing odd jobs, from an Israeli PhD scholar to a bunch of dentistry students from Karnataka itself. The entire trip cost me less than 9K (of which 1.7K was for the rafting alone) and I came back with a lot of photos, memories and an excess tan (like we Indians needed it in the first place.) In the days that followed, I started planning (some habits die hard) for the next trip – Ranthambore.