We had booked the cheapest tickets, which meant the non-AC sleeper coach of the train, but the beds were alright and we slept quite well. Though the night-buses may serve more comfort, the train at least has a toilet- something that is very welcome on such long rides.
Bangalore welcomed us with loud noises and sunshine, though here, the weather was milder. What a relief! And also, there was Uber!
We took an Uber to The Little Blue Window Hostel, where we had booked two nights. Everyone had told us that Bangalore wasn’t worth a longer stay, since all it supposedly offers is food and alcohol.
Our host, Roshan, was extremely nice and helpful though and allowed us in the room before check-in time, so we could relax after our long and more or less wearisome journey.
He then showed us a great place to eat breakfast, only a few meters from the hostel. It offered delicious South Indian food- dishes we had already tried when staying with our friend Manan in Mumbai- and we enjoyed a Masal Dosa for breakfast.
We hadn’t planned on doing much in Bangalore, but when René realized that there were many entirely vegan restaurants around, we decided to make our stay a culinary delight.
The Carrots restaurant proved to be one of the best choices for that, though reaching it took more than 30 minutes through Bangalore’s traffic jams, even though it wasn’t that far away from our hostel.
The restaurant immediately won our hearts with its comfortable interior, the posters showing facts about veganism on the walls and of course, the wide and mouth-watering menu.
We chose milkshakes, pizza and a mashed potato-pie and afterwards a black forest cake and a tiramisu. Here it is important to mention that black forest cake is Nici’s favorite dessert, but since going vegan, she’d never again had the chance to eat it, so she was especially delighted.
A fellow vegan named Melwin then started talking to us, and we decided to grab dinner with him the next day- of course once more at Carrots.
Later that night, we enjoyed some beer with Roshan and some other guests of the hostel and realized one thing: Bangalore is a great place to meet people!
The next day was wasted at a mall, since we thought we’d find the things we need there and were proved wrong, but later, we met Melwin at Carrots.
Two other vegans, Rajat and HJ started talking to us, and soon enough the five of us were sitting around one table, sharing our food (except the black forest cake) and discussing ethics.
After dinner, we all went out to some brewery, where we enjoyed a range of different beers and talked some more.
On our last day in Bangalore, we met Rajat again for lunch at Carrots, but this time, Nici had no space left for the black forest cake.
We then did some shopping and spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing, before taking an Uber to the bus station.
Melwin came to see us off and without him, we would have probably even missed our bus, since it was waiting at the wrong platform.
The bus waited for us, though and turned out to be extremely comfortable.
We reached Pondicherry again very early in the morning, but the manager of the guesthouse, where we had booked a double room, let us move into the room earlier.
After sleeping for a couple of hours, we went out to meet Manan, who had come to Pondicherry for a scuba dive convention.
After a bit of confusion (we waited at Manan’s hotel and he at our guesthouse) we encountered each other in the middle and went to a rooftop restaurant for lunch (and beer).
Then we strolled around and rented two scooters. Pondicherry was about as hot as Hampi- if not hotter- and we didn’t feel like doing too much walking in the sun.
The French Colonialists left their traces everywhere in Pondicherry. Beautiful French houses align the roads and many restaurants have a French name (though not necessarily French food).
To our disappointment, there were no beach shacks anywhere, no way of just lying in the shade of a sun umbrella and catching a nice tan. Manan explained to us that Pondicherry wants to be the opposite of Goa- which is somehow understandable, but the beaches were covered in garbage and plastic waste. We just had a coconut there and took some pictures of the colorful boats spread along the shore, then we drove off again.
After looking for restaurants for a long time (trying to find one that served beer), we went to a place that offered woodfire pizza. Yep, the waiters understood our wish of having a pizza without cheese and the food was delicious!
The guys then decided to watch the football match that night (Real Madrid against Juventus) but Nici was too tired (and hates football besides), so she decided to get some sleep instead.
There was not much sleep in the end, however.
René got up at midnight (shortly before the match started) to meet Manan at his hotel. Nici, still half-asleep said it was okay if he locked the door from the outside, so he didn’t have to wake her up later.
Bad idea. Never lock a claustrophobic person in a room, that’s what we learned that night.
As soon as René had left, the horrible imaginations of possible deaths started to creep up in her mind. What if there were a fire? Or if René had an accident? She wanted to call him and tell him to get back asap and open the door, but we had no wifi in the guesthouse and there was no phone signal. Also, the only window was small and barred and the room itself looked a bit like a prison cell.
We’re not going into details now, but Nici survived without calling for help through the little window and causing a huge scene and René came back at around 2.30. Not so happy because Juventus had lost.
The next day we enjoyed some beer at the dive-convention and listened to an interesting presentation about cave-diving, then we went out to get pizza in a place, whose name we won’t mention here.
René got a pizza with cheese, even though he had told the waiter three times that he wanted one without cheese, Manan got his pizza without the Jalapenos he’d ordered. Only Nici’s order was alright.
We then called it an early night because René and Manan wanted to go diving the next day.
Again, there wasn’t much sleep, though. This time for the two of us. The guests in the room next to us were watching movies incredibly loudly and didn’t turn the volume down, when we asked them to. At least everything went quiet after the manager told them to turn it down.
René then got up at 5.30 to meet Manan for the diving. Nici remained in bed. After the claustrophobia incident of the previous night, she didn’t feel like being enclosed by tons of water.
René and Manan enjoyed a delicious breakfast at the diving school, then they went out to sea in a little boat, bouncing up and down on the waves.
On the way to the first dive-site, they saw fins looking out of the water and suddenly, one of the instructors grabbed his goggles and jumped in the water, yelling “whale shark!”.
Manan and René had never seen a whale shark before, so of course they jumped in the water as quickly as possible, but until René had finally found his goggles, three of the fours whale sharks had already left. He managed to film the last one with the GoPro though and the footage isn’t so bad :-)
The first dive wasn’t that spectacular. Afterwards, while riding on the boat to the next dive site, the waves suddenly started to get to René and he fed the fish with his breakfast.
The second dive was beautiful. It was a fake riff constructed through palm leaves and car/bike wrecks, in between which many colorful fish swam around. There were tons of little jellyfish, that stung when you swam past them.
When Manan and René came back from the diving and the four of us (Manan, René, Nici and another diver) wanted to grab a late lunch, most restaurants were closed and when we finally decided to go to the same pizza-place as the night before, it was already past 4pm.
We felt positive, that the waiters would now understand our order, since we had already eaten there. René ordered pasta without cheese, Nici pizza without cheese and Manan pizza with Jalapenos.
Our diving-friend got served first. Everything after that was a debacle. Manan’s pizza was not the size he’d ordered, but at least it contained Jalapenos. René got his pasta with tons of cheese on it. Normally he’d eat it, but we then decided that nothing’s ever learned if we don’t say anything, so he sent it back. Nici’s pizza contained cheese, so she sent it back as well. Then René got his pasta again, but the cooks had just stirred it to hide the cheese on top, there was still a lot of it in the middle. We really don’t like confrontations but this was such an insolence, we just had to say something. We explained to the waiters that we could eat it, because we don’t eat cheese by choice, but that there are people out there who are allergic to dairy and just hiding the cheese underneath the pasta is something absolutely disgusting to do. Would they also hide peanuts underneath the food if a guest told them they’re allergic?
In the end, we all had our food and Nici’s cheese-less pizza contained one small little piece of feta, probably a gift from the cooks. It made us laugh. Maybe they had spat on it as well, you never know ;-)
That night we had another sleepless night, but it was worse than before. The guys in the room next to us were again having an extremely loud movie-night and at around 1am, we decided to ask them to turn the volume down. René went to say it and nothing happened. Then Nici went as well and one of the drunk men told her to come into the room, but the volume wasn’t changed.
At the third time, we had lost patience and went out together to ask them again, but still nothing happened. Instead, they started to linger in the corridor in front of our room, smoking and talking about us and at around 5 in the morning, we asked them for the fourth time to please be quiet. The opposite happened. They started to knock on our door and call us to come out. It was a bit scary. They were four or five men, all drunk. We wanted to go and get the manager, but with those people lingering in front of the door, we thought it was best to stay in our room.
The next morning, when we got up, they were still around and asked us to take a selfie with them. Unbelievable.
We then told the manager about it and it turned out that one of the guys actually belonged to the guesthouse and he had invited his friends to party.
The mood got better though, when René and Manan got the surf-lesson which they had signed up for. Nici remained sitting in the hot sand, boiled by the sun and took pictures.
Afterwards, we drove to Auroville and enjoyed delicious food in a vegan restaurant, before strolling through Auroville and visiting the Matrimandir.
Auroville is an autonomous town/state, founded by people who want to live a peaceful and immaterial life. We don’t really understand why they had to build an immense golden sculpture and are asking for donations, to maintain it, but well…
That evening, we had to say our goodbyes to Manan again and took a rickshaw to our waiting night-bus. This one even offered soft pillows and blankets, so even Nici slept well without having nightmares of car crashes.
Because no bus was going from Pondicherry to where we wanted to go, we had decided to go back to Bangalore instead, where we needed to get a doctor’s appointment and were ready to enjoy some more great food, before heading north.
We didn’t plan anything for the four days in Bangalore, since after the eventful time in Pondicherry, we needed some time to relax.
That’s what we did, write, read and sleep and occasionally, we went out to eat delicious South Indian food. Our favorite is the Masala Dosa- especially for breakfast.
This time we also tried out another vegan restaurant called Paradigm Shift, where we enjoyed an absolutely delicious and satisfying tofu-burger and for dessert a Choco-bomb and a heavenly mango-cake.
Our last night in Bangalore, however, held a very ugly surprise for us…
We tried going to sleep at 3am, but suddenly we heard street dogs savagely barking in front of our door. The weird thing about this is, that our hostel lies on the rooftop of a 4-story building, so we didn’t quite understand, how the dogs got up here.
We thought about going out and chasing them away, but they were right in front of our door and we didn’t know if they would attack us.
Suddenly, though, the screams of a cat mixed with the barking of the dogs and Nici decided to go outside nevertheless. What she then saw was worse than anything she’d anticipated.
Five or six dogs seemed to be ripping a cat apart and it was hard to tell whether it was still twitching or not.
Nici watched, speechless, trying to decide if it was better to chase them away and leave a possibly deadly injured cat to suffer, or if she should just let the dogs finish what they had started.
She then decided to shout at the dogs and they immediately darted off, but the cat was already dead.
Our host found it lying in the staircase the next morning…
An experience like this is definitely not something you get every day- and on top of it all- it was full moon… Creepy…
We will most definitely never forget these images of last night…