Slept for as long as humanly possible until the street noise woke me up at around 7.30am. Stayed in bed reading my book whilst Jayne got a few extra minutes sleep before she too was woken up by passing traffic (pedestrian, vehicle and bovine!). Got up and dressed before headed out for a extended breakfast at the Mango Tree – supping on coffee milkshakes, watermelon juice that nearly rivalled Narae’s and ate a wonderfully weird mixture of fried eggs, chips, baked beans (with added onions and spices) and hummus with pita bread. Used the time needed to digest our breakfast by using the restaurants wifi to sort out rebooking our accommodation in Goa (after our original hotel kindly cancelled our booking without telling us!) and working out how we were going to get to our next destination. When we were all sorted we headed to the main temple complex in Hampi, the Virupaksha Temple, one of the city’s oldest structures. The main gopuram, almost 50m high, was built in 1442, with a smaller one added in 1510. The main shrine is dedicated to Virupaksha, a form of Shiva. As it is a temple, we had to remove our shoes which was not a problem except the floor was quite wet and had a distinct smell of urine and faeces… As we entered the temple courtyard we could see why – there was the elephant from the river yesterday ‘blessing’ people with his trunk in exchange for money (for his keeper) or for coconuts (which he ate!). Joined the queue to get inside the temple and got chatting to an American family who live in Mumbai. Their 6-year old daughter had a scarf covering her face and a hat. It was only when she took it off to scratch her head and we saw the locals reactions that we understood why – she had bright blond ringlets which the locals started touching and grabbing at her which really frightened her. Felt really sorry for them as they clearly have to deal with it constantly and, as they live here, they can’t get much respite from it! Used ourselves as a shield to get them through the temple – much to the gratitude of the family and the annoyance of the locals. Once outside the main temple, we headed to a section that had an inverted image of Shiva (although we saw nothing…) and then left the main temple to go back to the river. Paid to catch the ferry across the river to visit the other section of town. Much more hippy and laid back, the other side was mainly cafes and bike rentals. Walked up the rocks to the only temple that side of the river which had an amazing view of the town opposite.Decided to take the much needed rest that we should have had yesterday by plonking ourselves down at a river side cafe with ‘bed’ seating. Drank fresh fruit juices and ate some momo’s whilst playing Connect 4 and chess. Went back over the river before sun set and headed to the Internet cafe to sort out our visas for Sri Lanka and book our bus tickets from Badami to Goa for New Years Eve. Was tempted to go back to the Mango Tree for dinner but it was so crowded we went back to the Tibetan Kitchen instead. Packed our bags back at the hotel ready for our early start in the morning.
Monday 28th December 2015