Arriving at Mumbai train station after the nine hour trip from Margao brought with it a touch of sadness as well as excitement, sadness that our five month trip was nearing the end and excitement that we would soon be seeing our family and friends, it also meant that we were one step closer to our second trip through Africa !!
We stepped of the train and joined the hundreds of other people on the platform, turned left and headed for the concourse, we found a safe place to stand and while I looked after the bags Naomi went in search of our bikes, an hour passed and finally she came back…..no bikes !!!
Apparently after numerous conversations with the porters, luggage office and train guards it turned out that our bikes were not on the same train as us, Naomi had been told they would be on a later train so in the meantime we put our bags in left luggage and went in search of breakfast, a short walk from the station we found exactly what we needed, strong tea and curry…..not everyone’s idea of the perfect breakfast but we were more than happy. We arrived back at the station only to be told that our bikes still hadn’t arrived, we were starting to get a little worried, thinking about contacting the police and putting in a formal complaint to the station master, notifying our insurance company and possibly looking for new bikes for Africa !!
Just as we were trying to decide what to do a porter who’d heard our conversation told us that there were bikes on platform 17, we almost ran the whole length of the platform and there they were, the Captain and Kylie just waiting for us as if there had never been a problem 😉
Finally reunited and very relieved we set of through Mumbai in search of our hotel, we’d booked into the Sea Green Hotel on Atlantic Drive, it was a fairly simple route, straight south for about 1.5k them turn right towards the sea, onto Atlantic Drive, turn right and our hotel would be on the right, simple in theory and as it turned out it was just as simple in practice 😉
Our hotel, our room, some of the wonderful staff and the sea view 😉
We got really lucky with our hotel, the staff were so friendly and helpful and although it was in a very nice part of Mumbai it was still a fair price. We relied quite heavily on the staff and there local knowledge, putting us onto a local bike shop called Bharats Cycles, we needed boxes to pack the bikes again ready for the airport, local restaurants, barbers, ATM machines, taxis and of course the office for the courier company that were looking after the rest of our kit……we’d sent it from Jaipur almost six weeks earlier. We arrived at there office, a short walk from the hotel and within ten minutes we were reunited with our kit, no extra charges…..excellent service !!!
After successfully dismantling and packing our bikes and storing them in the hotel we were now just ordinary tourists and shoppers and we set about both with gusto 😉
Now you might not know this but Mumbai has some fabulous architecture so we went to find it…..
We had a great time walking round Mumbai, don’t ask me what these buildings are all I know is its great architecture !!
Now like anyone else walking around a city like Mumbai we couldn’t resist a bit of shopping while we were there, or to be honest, Naomi couldn’t resist !! I couldn’t blame her what with Christmas just a few weeks away, finally with arms full of beautiful things we headed back to the hotel to work out what to do next.
We checked the guide book and it recommended a trip to The India Gate and Elephanta Island, fortunately the ferry for the island leaves from the India Gate, two birds, one stone and all that….
We took about two hours to have a good look round, there were about seven fairly large caves carved out of the rock, some were very impressive, some not so but it was an enjoyable walk and we’d fully deserved our lunch !!
Walking back down to the train past all the tacky gift shops Naomi couldn’t resist buying more presents !
We had a quick look around after lunch but to be honest there wasn’t much else to see so we jumped on the little train for the return journey……
Check out the rubbish, absolutely disgusting, I can’t believe they recommend seeing this in the guide book, it could and should be a beautiful place but we took one look and got back in a taxi, next stop was a mosque, it’s situated at the end of a causeway which makes it inaccessible at high tide, we were fortunate to arrive at low tide….
Despite the rubbish the mosque was worth the visit !!
On the way back along the causeway there are lots of beggars and some that obviously need help, we made a point of never giving to kids as they are used to beg and never see the money anyway !
We walked along and picked out a few people that we wanted to help, we’d seen a restaurant that offered tokens for food so we bought some and distributed them to some of the beggars, just as we were leaving we watched as one of them tried to redeem his token and to our horror the restaurant just pushed him away and kept his token, bad move, really bad move !!
Naomi and I rushed into the restaurant and demanded food for him and said that if necessary we would stay until they’d all been fed, soon enough the food was delivered, we were still unsure that the others would be treated right and found a policeman, we explained what had happened and the policeman promised to keep and eye on the restaurant, job done, with that we headed back to the hotel.
Our last night in Mumbai was in the Khyber restaurant, it just so happened that one of Naomi’s friends was in Mumbai visiting one of her friends, in the end there were four of us at the table….
Naomi with her friend, far right. And our hosts for the evening in the middle.
We had a fantastic time, great wine, good company and delicious food but when the bill came our hosts refused to let us help out, they then got there driver to take us back to the hotel, what lovely people 😉
So that’s about it, we left the following day and arrived home at 6.00pm, it was cold but we were glad to be home, we’d enjoyed our five months away, we’d met some fantastic people, we’d seen things that I’d only ever dreamed about, done things that tested us to the limits, we’d taken literally thousands of photos, eaten all sorts of food, stayed in all sorts of places, been the recipients of incredible generosity and occasionally been taken for mugs !!
We’d covered about 4000 miles on our bikes plus thousands more by plane, train, coach, rickshaw , taxi, truck etc and the best bit we still have plans to keep going, Africa next, Cairo to Capetown…8000 miles….there will be more blogs, more photos and loads of people to meet so if you’ve followed me this far I hope you’ll keep reading by blogs, in the meantime I wish you all a Happy New Year, may it be as good as I know mine will be !!
All the best