Hampi is one of the most visually interesting places I have been to so far. The landscape is monochromatic combination of boulders and ruins from the Vijayanagara Empire.
We spent most of our time here exploring the ruins scattered throughout the city. On the first day we woke up later than expected and decided to explore the ruins in town. The next day we hired a tuk tuk to take us around to the ruins further off and explain their history.
After touring the last ruin our tuk tuk, which had been struggling for a while, finally died. We used this as an opportunity to take pictures of ourselves pretending to drive while our actual driver tried to solve the problem. The guy in the background wandered over once we started taking pictures to supervise or lurk. I’m not really sure which.
Our guesthouse was located in an area between the boulder covered river and a rice field. The guesthouse area was filled with gardens, swings and a restaurant with floor sitting and pretty views. This is one of the first times hanging out around our guesthouse has been as fun as exploring the city. We were even able to see the temple elephant get her daily bath in the river while we ate breakfast.
In the evening, we planned to climb Matanga Hill to view the sunset. After discovering we would not be able to walk to the hill in time to catch the sunset we toyed with the idea of learning how to drive scooters to get to the hill. Well, PZ entertained this idea. I watched in fear. Turns out driving scooters is harder than it looks and we decided to pay some people to take us. It was a good thing we did. The route was filled with hills, sharp turns and kamikaze dogs. We’ll save driver’s ed for another day.
Upon reaching the hill I learned there were some 500 steps to climb to make it to the top. I really don’t think anyone informed me of this before I agreed to go because that sounded awful. And it was awful. I hate climbing. And 500 steps are no cake walk.
The top of the hill was cool enough, but the sun disappeared behind the clouds and the monkeys gave me the creeps and my legs were tired from the climb and all I could think about was that PZ with her misty-eyed love of sunsets would probably make us climb every building, hill and steeple in India to view the sunsets. At some point I through a proper fit about how this would be the last time I will ever, ever climb something to watch a sunset.
PZ loved the hill and said lots of things in a breathy voice about how beautiful the view was. I told her my favorite part was when we left and the scooter wind cooled down my sweat drenched face.
Now that I look back at the pictures I realize that the hill was pretty cool, and the view was pretty awesome, and the monkeys were pretty cute. I guess it’s one of the advantages of traveling with a friend. I do things I wouldn’t have done otherwise.