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In Varkala we were ill, in Bangalore we wandered around the Botanical Gardens wondering about The Future, and in Hampi we got happy again.  There’s so much to love here.

Temples, so many temples.  There was a huge festival and many people slept inside the temple afterwards.

Monkeys.  On Christmas Eve I watched a monkey eating scraps from a bin.  I bought some bananas and dropped them into the bin (I was cautious about being too obvious having got surrounded by monkeys in Nepal), but unfortunately this frightened the monkey and they came after me, teeth bared.  They didn’t want the bananas either.  An Indian man shooed it away and gave me back the bananas which I fed to some less intimidating cows.  On Christmas Day we went back to the main temple and hand fed the monkeys peanuts in shells, which they liked.  On Boxing Day we threw some peanuts on the ground for some languid looking monkeys, one of whom quickly sprang up and jumped on my husband’s bag where the nuts were.  ‘Never describe a monkey as languid,’ he said when he had recovered.  And just to cement the full range of monkey experiences, my husband saw one cradling a dead monkey in its arms.

The scenery is almost too much to take in, it is so unreal looking but so peaceful at the same time.

The people
Such sweet simple pleasures to be had here.  Buying roasted peanuts in shells, bananas, coconuts and chai from the roadside stalls.  Peanuts have become the new cigarettes, prompting interactions and sharing them with people.  So many school trips and families here for pilgrimage, sleeping outside in the temple area or at the roadside.  So many kids saying hi to us.

Everything…  We arrived early in the morning on Christmas Eve after a night of little sleep (there was a reason why ours were the only two beds left, they were over the back wheel arch, and the road to Hampi is very bumpy!)  Sitting at the chai stall under the full moon, the stalls closed and brown, the streets dusty and grey.  Bits of colour from the pink and purple of skirts.  Buses arriving, tuk tuks coming to meet the new arrivals.  Every place is something new, a new start, a new state of mind.  I am so happy we are ending our India journey in Hampi, where I first fell in love with India back in April.

Thank you very much for reading

For more pictures of our trip see Instagram travelswithanthony

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