One of the other amazing cities we visited on my family road trip, which won over a another amazing city (Idukki) was Munnar. When I was 16, we visited Sri Lanka and while driving through the tea plantations, my parents mentioned Munnar then and claimed we needed to visit. Well here we are, a full decade later, driving through tea plantations, stopping to look at flowers, searching for places that served alcohol legally, while trying to get used to the long winding roads.
Since we tried to fit in a few too many places in about 10-11 days, we had just a day to actually take in the sights Munnar had to offer. We stayed in a quaint little Portuguese bungalow for the night and the caretaker gave us a little map of the place. While Sheehan and I were inclined to visit the little amusement park they had in the vicinity, the rest of the family wanted to do other things. We would have parted, however we had just a single car at our disposal, and the amusement park was in the complete opposite direction. So we went along with the rest of the family.
We definitely spent most of our time travelling in the car. And we all wanted to go to the dams. However, when we got to Mathupetty, it was a little too crowded and even the boats seemed full while the queues seemed long, so we skipped and went straight ahead to Kundala instead. Kundala dam was gorgeous and I got such a Norwegian lake vibe from it (even though I've never been to Norway yet!). Sheehan and I and even my mom wanted to take the boat ride. But somehow that didn't happen. Instead I found myself walking over a chained barricade and climbing/crawling onto the ledge overlooking the dam to take a couple of pictures. Just as I was done and climbing back, I got an earful from one of the locals who shouted at me and told me not to do such "dangerous" things.
I was also interested in checking out the Munnar Flower Show, as was my mom. When we got there, we weren't completely wowed, and a few of the attractions were very inspired (like the floral heart shaped arches in Miracle Garden) but it was worthy of a visit for sure. We ended up buying a few bulbs and seeds for our gardening friends. Also, there was a sweet little lake at the area where the Flower show was, tucked somewhere in the corner with no crowds and no tourists. So we finally got our boat ride there.
Apart from this, there was also another flower garden with an entire greenhouse that housed various fruits and trees and all sorts of amazing vegetation. They had three different varieties of oranges! Not to mention a mini chocolate factory.
Talking about chocolates, only upon my arrival at Munnar did I discover that Munnar was not only popular for it's tea, but also chocolate. The markets are filled with spices and chocolates. Most retailers and shopkeepers make their own chocolate. If you're lucky enough, you may find interesting flavours like green tea, chilly, cranberry chocolate! We stocked up on chocolates as well as spices for friends. Sheehan and I bought different flavoured teas, as well as two amazing jams; plum and pink guava.
As for the earlier mention about the search for alcohol, we managed to find a hotel (Isaac's Residency) for lunch where we treated ourselves to some beer and wine. The place also had an "ice bar", which my dad went to investigate. He's usually the expert and he's been to the best ice bars in the world (Sweden/Norway/Denmark). Of course, the ice bar turned out to be just Ice Bar and was a name for a regular bar who wasn't too keen on having female customers. Still, the in house restaurant had alcohol in the menu. For dinner, we asked around for bars (that allowed women to enter) and we kept getting direct to the family restaurant at Isaac's. Finally, we sought directions to the nearest liquor store and bought our own booze for the night. Of course, my dad had to wait in line for about 20 minutes and enter a barricaded area just to buy vodka. We went off to Mayabazar for dinner. What was really unique about this place, was the fact that it used to be a theatre company and a cinema hall and is thus themed similarly.
In conclusion, my day in Munnar was fantastic. The sights were gorgeous and I wish I had some more time, and I also wish I had my DSLR! But thankfully my iPhone still takes decent images. I would definitely love to get back
Images: Roxanne D'souza and Sheehan D'souza