I’m looking at doing another train trip across India. The last train I took across Southern India (The Southern Splendor) was pretty fun. The train itself was a bit long-in-the-tooth, but still had a certain charm. It wasn’t an inexpensive trip, and I would have expected a higher quality train, but it wasn’t the end of the world… I’m happy anywhere, really. But I’m looking into another train line that looks incredible. No tickets have been booked or anything, but I’ve been thinking about it a lot!
Daily Photo – Scarlett in India
It's great to take the kids with me on these trips because I always have at least one willing photo-subject in Scarlett. The funniest thing is after I take the photos, she's VERY demanding and wanting to look at them all in the back of the camera. If she's not satisfied, she just won't stand for it and makes further demands that I take more photos.
Here’s the highlights from that beautiful morning. I almost flew the quadcopter too, but it was just too windy… I may have never seen it again. Then again, I did crash it a few days later when a propeller fell off and the whole thing went down dramatically in a river in Kerala.
Daily Photo – A beautiful sunrise on the southern tip of India
I look like I may be alone here, but I assure you I was not. There were literally thousands of Indians that were there with me watching the sunrise. It was crazy! This is a famous pilgrimage location for all Indians, to come here and watch the sunrise. I was amazed how many people there were when the sun finally came up. We had all gotten there in the dark of night so it was hard to tell how many people were around us.
There was one scary point when we lost Scarlett in a crowd of Indians… then her little white body magically appeared about a minute later! I was not worried… Tina was MORE than a bit worried! 🙂
And here’s our video from when we visited Thanjavur. I got in trouble for flying a drone here, but you didn’t hear that from me.
Daily Photo – Resting under a tree in India
Thanjavur, India, is another new place I had never been before. We went there via train, and I think it's probably one of the best ways to get around the country if you want to see a lot of things. Dealing with airports is a huge pain, always, but especially so in India. Just getting to the airport, security, travel, waiting, more car transport, checking in, unpacking… that's a whole day right there! If you stay on a train, you can leave all your stuff there and just take quick car rides around to see locations.
If you’re into astronomy, this is pretty basic stuff, but it’s a fun thing to share with your kids. I don’t think a lot of schools show this aspect of our solar system.
Daily Photo – Bottles in India
While I was in Bangalore, I began a little personal challenge to take 500 photos a day, little “studies” of objects in their space. I didn't plan on publishing any, and I won't publish most, but here is one of those little studies. I have so many photos that I still don't know what to do with… I was thinking about starting another blog called “Trey's Rejected Photos.” Maybe it would be interesting? I don't know…
Here’s one of the recap videos from our recent family trip to India! 🙂
Daily Photo – Magical India
Wow, what a place! I've forgotten the exact name (will look it up), but this place is very close to Thiruvananthapuram. It was amazing during the day, and even more amazing at night! I was not here long enough, but I vow to go back one day and spend more time! 🙂 Now, if I can just remember the name…
Now this isn’t something anyone really NEEDS, but they are pretty cool! Here’s a link!
Daily Photo – A pretty sunset on the edge of India
I was really happy to explore many remote coastlines along southern India. I suppose I intuitively knew that there were beaches galore, but you never really think of India as a beach destination… but one of our train stops included a sunset visit to this beautiful resort by the sea.
This was true paralysis by analysis. We were going to buy some of these garments and fabrics, but we just couldn’t choose which one… there were so many. And right next door there were even more. And next door to that, even more! So you always think you’re gonna see something better, and then at some point, you forget you’re even shopping and you just kinda glaze over!
Daily Photo – Deep in the Garment Market of Pondicherry
It was nice to get way off the tourist track in India from time to time. This city, Pondicherry, actually has had a name-change like so many cities in India. Now it's called Puducherry, although I find that most Indians I talked to still call in Pondicherry, so I'm calling it that too. Other names seem to stick better. Like, for example, Bombay is now called Mumbai, and most Indians call it Mumbai. It all comes from those tricky Englishmen who came in, could not say the regular name, and the Englishified it!
This was my second time to India but my first time to come with my family. We chose Bangalore as our home-base for a few reasons. First, there was yet another amazing Ritz-Carlton there which was great and relaxing for the whole family. This is where my son learned to fall in love with Indian food! This is saying a lot because hitherto we had only seen him eat hamburgers and pizza! We even got an extended cooking class at Riwaz that the kids loved. And to my surprise, after the cooking class, we got to eat everything and more. I ate SO MUCH FOOD in India it was absolutely ridiculous. And they kept bringing more and more. I’ve heard you’re not supposed to eat to make yourself happy, but I don’t believe that at all!
The second reason was this is where our train trip on the Southern Splendor started and ended! It was my first long train ride like this where you live on a train for a whole week. It was an incredible way to see the country and the whole family had fun. So Much Indian Food and I think we all learned to love it even more as the week went on! You can see a lot more in the videos below 🙂
India Videos Recap
And here’s all the videos from India!
India Photos Recap
Here is a view of Bangalore at sunset. I took this from the rooftop bar on top of the Ritz-Carlton. I have another photo of this funky bar down below!
Here are my two beautiful daughters. We went out almost immediately in Bangalore to get them a few traditional Indian dresses.
Not far from the hotel was this amazing old fortress-palace that we spent a bit of time inside.
Well this is obviously not Bangalore, but I wanted to throw it in as one of my favorite photos I took while in India. This is on the very southern tip, where three seas smash together in a Game-of-Thrones scene!
And here is the amazing rooftop bar I mentioned earlier. I had a major geek-out moment here when I was all alone editing photos and there was a huge bridal party blowing up all around me.
Here’s the entrance to the Ritz-Carlton… we had so many long and adventurous days, and this was always a welcome site to see at the end of the day!
Daily Photo – The Ritz-Carlton, Bangalore, India
Here is the entrance to one of my favorite restaurants in Bangalore. This is Lantern, and it's one of the many great places to eat inside the Ritz-Carlton. Look, it's lined with wine on the way in! So much wine, so little time! 🙂
Day 16 – Quadcopter Crashing in Kerala and Farewell India
A lot of Quadcopter drama as we leave India! But I’ll get to that. BTW, check out my DJI Phantom 3 Review here on the site to see more about what I fly.
We started out in Kerala, a beautiful area of India that has thousands of little canals. We stayed on a houseboat for a while, drifting around like houseboat people. This is where Quada, which Scarlet calls the Quadacopter, had its last journey. We had countless successful flights with it… and you can see how Ethan launches it from the front of the boat… no problems there. But one time, a rotor would not turn. We got a “Rotor Obstructed” error message. Strange, because I couldn’t see anything. I did notice one rotor would make strange noises at startup, but when it started spinning, it was fine. Then it asked me to do the old 10-minute IMU calibration, which I did and was successful. We had 2 great flights, launching from the front of the boat and Ethan catching it on landing… no problems and we were smooth as silk. Then, on the next flight, It got up to about 40 meters and was only 20 meters from us and I saw the rotor lock up in the air! It tumbled down into the water for a major splashdown right by the boat. Everyone screamed and it was very dramatic! There was no recovery… it sank to the bitter depths… and all that awesome footage is lost foreva! It’s okay… the universe decided it was time for Quada to move on… So that meant I had to go to the camera store to buy another one… I just hope they let me take it to Oman next!
Okay, well, what else happened towards the end of our India trip. You can see more in the video here of course, but here’s a few things. We ended our train trip and went into the India Asha Niketan foundation, a special place here built for people with intellectual disabilities. The whole family spent some time here with the team helping out. It was especially great for the kids! Ethan played the guitar and we spent some time there together.
After that, we went back to Rivas at The Ritz-Carlton in Bangalore for an Indian cooking class from a Michelin star chef. Amazing! And not only that, but then we ate everything that we cooked… we are eating so much it is crazy… but Ethan and Isabella have really gotten into Indian food, which is great. Scarlett, not so much.
And then it was time to cap off our India experience by going full Bollywood! I actually love Bollywood movies from the first one I saw in Mumbai about 8 years ago when I saw Om Shanti Om! I had a small crush on the gal that was in that movie, and it turns out she’s in the hot new movie everyone demanded that we go see, Bajiao Mastani — so we headed off to the shopping mall in Bangalore to see if we could find it… we did and it was great, even though the whole thing was in Hindi. Scarlett and Isabella loved it. Ethan, not so much.
Anyway, a fantastic trip to India… the whole family is now boarding the plane to spend time in Oman and Qatar!
A strange sight to see these two symbols side by side.
A Final dinner on the coast of India.
Beautiful colors in Cochin.
A woman washes herself in a canal in Karela.
Five Indian Dudes that may have been a boy band.
Communist Propoganda can still be seen all over Kerala India.
Indian Beach from Above.
Houseboats in Kerala.
Last day to be on the Golden Chariot.
The awesome bar on top of the Ritz-Carlton in Bangalore called Bang.
Pulling into the Ritz-Carlton in Bangalore.
Visiting the West End hote.
Daily Photo – One of the last nights on our moving hotel
Day 14 – Sunrise at the Southern Tip of India where three seas meet and Madurai with the Meenakshi Amman Temple
It started with a 4 AM Wake-up in our train car, now parked in Kerala, then loading up for a trip down to the beach. But this wasn’t just any beach, this was at the Kanyakumari, the meeting place of three seas: The Bay of Bengal, the Indian Ocean, and the Arabian Sea. I thought I might be the only one there at 5 AM, but boy, was I wrong! See more on the video! 🙂
And another amazing set of temples at Madurai, one of the oldest cities in the world. These temples at Meenakshi Amman are INSANE. I was not allowed to bring my regular cameras or Osmo (see Osmo Review), so I only had my Android Nexus 6P for photos and videos, which is mega-fine. I loved these temples so much… I’ve never seen anything quite like them. There are 14 colorful goporums (gateway towers), all brightly colored with Dravidian-style Hindu gods.
Then you can join me on a little train tour before ending up at a confusing night-show at Tamil Nadu. I was sitting by a woman who is an oral surgeon in Detroit. Halfway through the show, I asked her if she had any nitrous oxide.
The Sea Smashing Before the Game of Thornes scene.
A Pilgramage of Red.
An Eerie Light Show that still confuses me.
Our Train Pulls into the Station.
Assembling at the Temple.
Painted Ladies Walking.
This train had all kinds of people on it from all walks of life. Here’s me with the Greek Ambassador Tassos Kriekoukis exploring a Hundu temple..
Daily Photo – Sunrise on the southern tip of India where the three seas meet