Tag Archives: Mumbai

Bangalore

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After our nice relaxing four nights in Mysore it was time to move onto Bangalore and this was not without more problems “it seemed that everyday we have been in India something has gone wrong”. I received an email from SpiceJet to say our flight from Bangalore to Mumbai had been cancelled and was instructed to call them for an alternative. So I called and was offered none as there were no flights going to Mumbai on the day we wanted to travel, great! So with with refund processed and iPad in hand we managed to get a flight with Indigo airlines at the same cost thankfully.
The journey back to Bangalore took around three hours,. Before leaving Mysore we checked the website that we had used to book our accommodation with to refresh our memories to make sure that the apartment which we had chosen was the one we were getting. On arrival things seemed to be in order as the outside of the apartment block was just as the photos on the website. Once we checked in the staff took our luggage and started to trundle up the street, “not a good sign”. We walked about 100m up the road to a different block altogether. Inside it was nothing like what we had booked, It wasn’t very clean, everything was shabby, it was dark and it had no terrace, the room we had booked specifically stated it had a terrace, we had even stopped on the journey from Mysore and bought some wine and beers so we could sit on the terrace and relax. I informed the manager that this was not the apartment we had booked an we were not prepared to stay unless we got the one we wanted, he told us that there were no apartments with a private terrace, only a communal one I explained that the images on booking.com clearly showed a terrace and a far better apartment than the one we was in but he wasn’t going to budge. I was not prepared to debate the matter anymore and called booking.com who thankfully sorted it out so we was not going to get charged. “Like I said always a problem” so iPad in hand “again” we booked a stay at the My Fortune Hotel which looked very nice indeed, and on arrival thankfully it was,
The guide books state that there is not really a lot to see in Bangalore “we only visited as we had to change our plans, the main attraction seems to be the palace. So on our first and only full day in the city we grabbed a Tuk Tuk and headed for the palace. On arrival the palace grounds was buzzing with activity as it appeared that their was an Indian wedding going to happen later in the day. Everywhere was very brightly decorated with bunting, flowers and large statues of elephants and Hindu gods, it was spectacular. We all thought it must have been someone important or very rich, as there were people setting up large spotlights to illuminate the outside of the palace, some guys setting up a remote controlled helicopter with a camera attached for arial filming, we also saw a TV crew setting up vehicle with a huge satellite link dish on top, and the colours of dress especially the woman’s sari’s were spectacular. After we watched the proceedings for a while we went into the palace.
Once inside it was all a bit of a disappointment, pretty bland really, nothing like the Mysore Palace, but we are glad we went as we would not have witnessed the build up to the the Indian wedding.
After our visit it was time for a coffee so we headed back to the MG road “most cities in India have a Mahatma Grandi road”.
Whilst we were having coffee I was trying to arrange a taxi to take us the next day from our hotel to the airport for our flight back to Mumbai. I telephoned the driver who had brought us from the apartment that we had originally booked as he had given me his number, but unfortunately I had difficulty with getting my requirements across, so I gave up. Fortunately for us a very nice Irish chap who had lived and worked in India for some for years had overheard my conversation and put us on to Meru Cabs. So I gave them a call, spoke to a really nice lady who spoke good English and made the booking, a very professional outfit indeed. You get a text to confirm your booking, a text about twenty minutes before the cab arrives then another when it’s outside, the distance to the airport is some 40km and on arrival the meter read 840 INR about £8.40 just amazing.
I had quite a long conversation with our new Irish friend and during our chat I asked if he could recommend a place to eat for later that evening, when he told us a place called the Thirteenth Floor down the MG road. Now the thirteen floor is just was it implies the thirteenth of a block which has a couple of restaurants and a club. We decided to eat one of the restaurants called Ebony , it turned out a very good recommendation, the view over the city was amazing, the food was very good and the prices very reasonable indeed.
Well Bangalore was the last city on our trip before we fly back to Mumbai.

In my next post I will say thank you to some of the many helpful people we met on our travels, and post,  hopefully some valuable “Top Tips”

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Mumbai Day 2

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Well Mumbai is just as vibrant and alive as I remember from our last visit two years ago. Its chaos, noise, mad traffic, all adds to the charm of the place. Not forgetting the people, they are so friendly and helpful and nothing is to much trouble, perhaps we could take a leaf out of there book in the UK. Our first full day back in the city was visiting some favourite old places, Gateway to India, Leopold’s cafe which has been around since 1871 and is a very popular tourist haunt, it’s also one of the places that was involved in the infamous terrorist attack in the city, and still bears the scars to this day, where the bullet holes in the walls have been left as a reminder of that terrible day back in 20080. Next it was a walk along street near Leopold’s cafe which is lined with shops and stalls selling their wares. “Top tip” if you need to change your currency for rupees this is the place, just ask any of the shopkeepers, they offer a rate far better than the banks, and with no commission, don’t accept the first rate offered, yes you can even barter on currency rates, “only in India”. Next we decided to take a look at an attraction which we had not visited on our last visit the “Hanging Gardens”, this was also mentioned by our taxi driver on our journey from the airport, and by the many taxi drivers who we used throughout the day, so we thought we should give it a look. On arrival at the gardens we immediately knew it wasn’t going to be how the mind had conjured it up to be, it was pretty run down and ill kept, and what the hanging part meant I have not a clue, apart from maybe a few dead branches hanging from the trees. There were various animals created out of the hedges by the age old art of topiary, but they seemed to be a bit disheveled due to lack of maintenance, there was even a giraffe that looked like it had a Afro wig on where it had not been trimmed for a while, oh well at least we gave it a look. So as the day was getting on and as it was vastly approaching “Beer ‘O’clock” which is the name we, as travellers use for time for a nice cold beer after a hard days sight seeing, only to discover that it was a religious festival day for some thing or another and it seemed because of this nowhere served alcohol, unperturbed we sought out a very nice hotel “The Marine Plaza” which did not go along with this and was still serving alcohol, so we settled down in the first floor bar in comfy seats, and with cold beer in hand watched the sun go down over the “Arabian Sea” perfect.
Next stop was suppose to be the Britannia restaurant, which I first heard about after watching Rick Stein’s series on Indian cooking, he visited the restaurant and throughly recommended it, and as it was near to our hotel we decided to give it a try. So we grabbed a taxi and off we set. Now the traffic in Mumbai is chaos the best of times but this evening it was gridlocked, the journey took around an hour as opposed to probably 15 minutes, to make matters worse when we arrived it was closed. So we asked our driver if he could recommend a good restaurant, so he took us to one called “Makesh” which specialises in fish cuisine, which as luck would have it was very close to our hotel, and our driver was not wrong on his recommendation, we were treated to a mouth watering meal, I had a delicious fish curry and the ladies had a dish comprising of large tiger prawns which the name escapes me, we had rice and some side dishes and drinks,”soft ones, holy day remember” all got £37 excellent value and I would thoroughly recommend a visit, it has great service, excellent food and very friendly staff top marks.
Tomorrow it’s up early for our flight to Jaipur
So as always stay safe keep well and keep following.

India, First stop Mumbai

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India, First stop Mumbai

We have now left Dubai and have arrived in Mumbai. Immediately I felt a sense of relief to be back somewhere I was familiar with and did not feel like Disney World. It was great to be back, it has been two years since we were last here but it seemed like only yesterday that we had left. Our taxi journey took about an hour from the airport to the hotel, and I noticed many new additions to the city, first of which was the very swish new airport. On our journey it was good to see some old familiar favourites too like Chowpatty beach, Marine Drive, driving through  Dada district we also passed Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus Mumbai’s magnificent railway station, somehow it felt like we had arrived home, and our holiday was just beginning. So with bags duly dropped at hotel it was off for a nice cold glass of Kingfisher at a fraction of the cost of the one in Dubai.

More later

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