Hampi is amazing (though we actually missed the hippie part we found out afterwards!). Thanks to our direct sleeper bus we arrived directly in this little ancient open air museum and not in Hospet the city 15km away at 7 am. Still not early enough to have local tuk-tuk drivers and guides yell in the bus: “Get out” “Last stop”. We were 200m from the main temple, but still it was difficult to shake of the guides who were willing to point us in the right direction. It does get annoying at times. While Nastya was checking out the temple elephant I studied the interaction of the monkeys and Russian tourists and their plastic bags which the monkeys skilfully snatched. It’s not that I don’t like Russian tourists in particular but tourists of all nations to me are those people that travel and remain ignorant of the host countries culture. Seven years in Prague gave plenty of opportunity to study that behaviour. Do as the locals do! We had our big lessons already while cycling, do things when you can, not when you want to. Chances are when you’re hungry you won’t find that delicious snack you saw earlier. Same applies to toilets, wifi and just about anything once could need throughout the day (Bitter lesson, recharge phone credit).
On my openstreetmap based GPS I saw a myriad of little foot paths around Hampi so we decided to go trekking a bit. Unfortunately we had to schlep around our backpacks for once as the Hampi bus station was more of a muddy field and didn’t offer a cloak room to store our bags for a few rupees, which is what we usually do when exploring. It’s a beautiful area as you’ll see below. A river bending through formations of rocks (Flintstones!) and ancient temple ruins wherever you go. Very few people for Indian measures, well until we bumped into a movie production after 5km in the last temple and became the center of attention until the director ushered everyone back inside the temple.
Ignoring the friendly services of the tuk tuk drivers, we walked some more along small (cyclable!) countryside roads, got on a bus in the wrong direction (a rare failure in my navigation duty), hopped on another village bus and half day to spend in Hospet to “somehow” get us a ticket to Pune (expensive sleeper bus again) eat huge breakfast that turned lunch and spend 2.5 hours at the local train station buying tickets for the near future despite power cuts and the unwillingness of the local mob to form a queue (in one direction). Success at last – a 23h train ride from Pune to the Taj Mahal far far away is ours!