Shopping, drinking, dining and the arts were on our agenda as we left Tamil Nadu State and made our first foray into Karnataka.
To reach the city whose name translates literally as ‘Town of beans’ we opted to save acommodation fees by taking a sleeper bus and travelling through the night. With childlike enthusiasm I climbed into our berth (we were provided with sheets and blankets) and made our bed for the night thinking this is FUN.
The fun was very shortlived. Almost immediately after departure, the natural rocking motion of a bus – which always seems so gentle during the day – made us feel like we were trapped inside of a tumble dryer riding on the world’s most poorly maintained roller coaster, during an earthquake. And trapped we were. For hours. No getting off. Jess sat up, hugged the curtains, clapsed a sick bag, declaring “I can’t do this for six hours!” I felt exactly the same but pretended I didn’t to try and keep spirits up.
Whether it was divine intervention by a Hindu God we had pleased at some point or sheer panic I can’t say but something magical happened… we crashed. Not the inevitable road traffic accident we had been expecting all trip but SLEEP.. time devouring, blissfull, beautiful sleep. I still don’t fully understand how it happened but we had arrived at Bangalore. Six hours had been condensed into what felt like six minutes.
At the bus station a hard nosed rickshaw driver almost came to blows with a fellow traveller who had kindly offered to book us an ‘Uber’ to our hotel when we refused to pay his 200 rupee asking price. 150 rupees later and bags dumped we had 3 hours to kill before we could check in.
To fill the time we ate masala dosas (my favourite in case you didn’t know already) and idlis, drank tea and coffee and visited the botanical garden. The garden was expansive and claimed to house more species of plants than anywhere else in India. The calm green space also had a lake (home to flocks of black kites, pelicans and herons) a jogging track and a lotus pond.
Saving the jogging track for the next morning, we relaxed, watched aged yoga practitioners and read until finally 12 o clock came and it was time to enjoy our rather classy hotel room.
Recovering from the bus journey took up most of our first day in Bean Town but the next day we covered the city on foot. This was a lot easier in Bangalore because, for once, the footpaths had space for your feet. Before now the roads, despite bursting at the seams with traffic, were a much better proposition than the booby trapped footpaths on offer. The evidence below was taken in 50 yard stretch of pavement earlier in trip.
We did some window shopping before visiting India’s National Art Gallery. Spread over two floors, each housing a mixture of modern and classical Indian artworks. Here’s a couple of links to the works we found most interesting/aesthetically pleasing:
Later that evening, we ate at a vegan restaurant which Jess suggested and the fare on offer was both delicious and inspiring – great shout Jess! The sole exception being some bizarre onion juice aperitif. My opprobrium for raw onion is not being diluted one jot despite the best efforts of numerous Indian chefs.
Our final day in Bangalore played out as follows: browsing second-hand book stores, discovering used English language novels are not cheap; relaxing and eating fruit in the gardens surrounding the City Library; revisiting a delectable establishment called Infinitea, which combined good food with an extensive menu of teas of every colour, flavour and origin.
And thus ended our time in our favourite city so far. Great food, green spaces and functioning pavements. Take note Pune because you’re next… but not before 5 nights in Hampi and another night bus…😣