I was happy to be running on the beach again this morning, with the view and relaxing sound of the sea.
As I ran, I thought: Indian pragmatism has trumped aesthetics again! Like many places in India, Alappuzha has congested roads. The solution, it has decided, is to build an elevated highway running parallel to, and about 20m from, the beach! If you’ve ever found yourself at the beach and thought, “I really wish there was more of a motorway feel about this place”, well, now, you needn’t be so despondent. Alappuzha is the place for you; book your ticket for 2020. If you time it right, you might be able to catch the grand celebrity opening at the same time.
Today has been a day of reading, doing nothing and planning for my next destination.
I usually pick my next destination only after I’ve settled into my current location because I don’t know how long I’ll want to stay in any place. I make room for serendipity and spontaneity 😊
As I’ve learn more about India, I’ve refined my planning method. Currently it involves:
- Picking a location. I use the following to help me: Lonely Planet guidebook, web sites, experiences of other people, activities I might want to do, how much I want the next place to differ from the current place, and whimsy! Once I have a location, I download an offline copy of it in Google Maps. This could help me when I’m there eg getting a bus to hotel, directing a taxi or rickshaw driver or walking there.
Working out transport. My preference varies according to how far I’m going but I try to balance the joy of actually travelling with getting to a place in reasonable time. I didn’t appreciate how big India is and how long it takes to get around! For long distances (generally inter-state travel), I prefer planes unless there are potential intermediate places I want to visit or fancy a long train journey. Otherwise it’s trains if possible then finally coaches. Sometimes a taxi is cost-effective. You can travel 50km for about £25. I book planes using the Cleartrip app; it takes ten minutes to search for, select and pay for a flight. I usually book trains via the hotel because I haven’t got the apps to work reliably. I book coaches online although I now have the redbus and goibibo apps.
Finding accommodation. I use the booking.com app and check with the India-specific MakeMyTrip and Cleartrip apps.
Working out transport to my starting point (eg to starting airport) and to hotel once I arrive (eg from destination airport).
I allow a day for a move to a new destination. Planes and coaches usually run to schedule. Trains are more variable. Every move is potentially stressful, especially inter-state travel. I minimise stress by pre-booking everything, including taxis, if I can. It helps that I’m travelling light – 7kg in the rucksack and 2kg in man-bag – so I don’t have to check in anything.