We’re back! Did you guess? I suppose the being back a whole month and the steady stream of Facebook updates about our job hunt woes might have given the game away. In fact I wanted to blog about our plans to come home early many time, but I had this whole surprise appearance at my friend’s 30th birthday planned (wholly ruined by Ben’s status update: “In Goa airport, back in London tomorrow”. Cheers honeybunch).
Anyway, here we are back in my hometown, neither of us actually invalids (although I had a stye for my first two weeks back, so y’know, walking wounded), but definitely missing the hot climate. Man alive it was cold when we first got back!
I was home approximately 2.5 days before I was jumping on another plane to Italy with Rani to see our mum, but it was no warmer in the south of Italy (I know: I was shocked, and so were many of the people I told, but apparently the Mediterranean has a winter too). We spent much of the week huddled under duvets, reading books, eating biscuits and teasing the cats about their weight gain. Oh Siri, you lost all of what, three pounds in India (despite your plans to come home a waif-like size 10), and you’re lording it over a couple of plump cats?? Loser.
We did make a wonderful day-trip up the coast to Gallipoli, where we bought fresh fish and wandered the backstreets, finding increasingly bizarre and tacky souvenirs. As we admired the carved stone facade of a church I was struck by the thought that a week earlier I’d been doing almost exactly the same thing in Panjim, Goa. Being an ex-Portuguese colony, Goa is littered with stunning Catholic basilicas.
Actually I’m just extrapolating from Panjim because we spent less than a day in Goa. Our journey home basically started in Hampi, where we had a final breakfast in our awesome guesthouse with Laura and the Swedish guys we met, before we did this:
- walked to the river and took our final boat ride across to the town side (more on Hampi later)
- walked through town to the bus stop and caught a bus to Hospet
- caught a second bus to Hubli, the nearest proper train station apparently
- had dinner in yet another awesome little railway cafe, hopped the overnight train to Margao
- discovered the train actually carried on to Vasco da Gama, where our flight left from, but it would cost an extra 500 rupees to extend our tickets
- got off the train bleary-eyed at 6am, got a taxi to the airport in Vasco da Gama for 550 rupees. Felt stupid
- Couldn’t go into the airport at 7am, started walking (with all our luggage) into town to find the train station and left luggage. Refused access to left luggage in absence of an onward bound train ticket. Nuts!
- Took all our luggage on a bus to Panjim for a bit of sightseeing. Realised that Panjim is a Catholic town, and very much closed on a Sunday, thwarting souvenir buying plans
- Bussed back to the airport and settled down in a cafe with books to await our flight to Delhi
- Flew to Delhi an hour late, hopped the shuttle to change terminals
- Much to our delight, discovered at check-in that Indian airports list coconuts as one of the prohibited items for checked luggage. Really, coconuts? Flew to Abu Dhabi.
- Much shorter turn-around at Abu Dhabi, hopped our plane to London, where I promptly passed out and Ben watched all the films that he knew I wanted to watch with him!
- Arrived at Heathrow a little shell-shocked, got on the tube and well, you know how that goes…
By the time Rani and I flew back from Italy, I’d racked up five flights in about 10 days, but the last was definitely the worst. All my life I’ve struggled with the havoc cabin pressure changes wreak on the ears, and I’ve slowly got better at preventing popped ears. But coming back from Italy I had a cold blocking up the gubbins in my head, and this meant a three hour flight of shooting pains and wet squelchy popping sounds. The view of the Alps from above and a veritable duvet of fluffy white clouds did their best to soothe me.
So, that’s the end of the adventure. I still want to write about Gokarna and Hampi because they were so lovely, and I also want to share a few more photos and memories from the trip. Other than that, I plan to keep on blogging about life in general, but I will try not to make it all “wah wah, job hunting sucks, wah wah I’ve got no money, wah wah now I’ve got a job and working sucks” (although I cannot help it if these things happen to be the case can I?)
For now, I’ve made a little map of our route on tripline.net so you can see where we went. It was meant to be embedded as a cool thing on the blog, but apparently wordpress will not allow this, so a link will have to do!