Earlier this year, we were sick of sitting at home for more than a year and decided to venture out on a trip. It was a much-needed break from the home environment, we needed it badly. One of the things to take care of was not to go too far but still have a vacation worth remembering.
We picked Ooty.
Ooty is in the southern part of India. A mountain range with cooler temperatures and a choice of both Indians and Foreigners alike. British while they were here had chosen this place too for their summer vacations owing to the climate. It is a nice, cold place with a lot of tea and coffee plantations. The problem with Ooty since it is a famous place in India is the crowd. Any season, it would be crowded. So I picked an adjacent place which is much better than Ooty. Coonoor is around 14 kilometers away from Ooty, a calmer place and a real dream for anyone who wants a silent and enjoyable vacation.
The journey was like 6-7 hours by road and I didn't want to drive. So hired an Innova for 4 of us. Decided to leave Momo, our Shih Tzu with a caretaker because we weren't sure how he would cope with the weather and trip.
I wanted to avoid all hotels, so hunted down an old Scottish Bungalow. The owner lives there but he rents out rooms for the tourists. The added advantage was that you get homely food as well. Though it was a bit expensive, the rooms were quite large and the entire building took us back by years. The long drapes and curtains were mesmerizing. We felt as if we were indeed living in Scotland in the mid-'70s or so.
I had booked for one week. We started making our itinerary, basically the places we would like to avoid.
The Ooty market, Garden, Lake, and places like those were crowded. Instead, we chose to go to a smaller lake where you can still do boating. A smaller public garden, where you get to see all varieties of roses. Wellington was another place nearby, a military regiment that allowed us to travel inside. There were some other places of interest as well nearby but our kids were not interested. They wanted to spend time with nature. Our homestay at the Bungalow was much more than what was needed to be with nature. So I arranged for a trek as well on one of the days.
The evenings were cold and we spend most of the time inside except for one day we decided to have a campfire and barbeque dinner. It was one of the kind where it was just us with soothing music enjoying the natural cold weather.
We also managed to go into an entertainment park that had interesting things that gave a good laugh to all of us. One of the childhood memory for me was the toy train. There are two toy trains in Ooty and one of them is between Ooty and Coonoor. We got into that and had fun enjoying the serenity. I am told that the other toy train ride is much longer and enjoyable than this with a lot of tunnels etc.
The one week was memorable and took with us a lot of memories back from the Ooty/Coonoor. The trip gave my kids a break from the boredom. My wife got a break from the household chores as well. I forgot everything about the work, the grind, and came back all charged up.
It was one of the best trips we have had, relaxing straight out for one week.