Rockie Mountain national park


I drove from Boulder up to Estes Park. It was very packed due to it being Sunday before Labor Day. I couldn’t find a room, so I drove through RMNP to Grand Lake, a village where I did manage to find a place to stay.
I went back to the park the next day, and did a nice hike from Milner Pass to the visitor’s center – finishing at around 12,000 feet. I’m now at Glenwood Springs – the way here was really nice, driving through a deep canyon. I’m staying at Hotel Colorado which has been here since 1893 – I can’t decide whether the furniture is old or old-styled, but the ceilings are very high 🙂
In the picture is a bellowing elk from RMNP.. I saw a large group of elks the first night I was there.

Dinosaur Ridge


I spent my first day traveling by driving to Red Rocks and Dinosaur Ridge.
Red Rocks has amazing hugh red rocks, with an open-air music amphitheater.
Dinosaur Ridge is where many dinosaur bones were discovered. Among other things, there are dinosaur tracks which got preserved in the rocks – these are really quite amazing, seeing the footprints made hundreds of millions of years ago by an extinct species.

Boulder, Colorado

I spent the next two nights in Boulder. This is a nice little town – I was lucky to arrive in time for the Farmer’s Market, which is a pretty big event, especially as it was on a long weekend because of Labor Day.
I spent the 2nd night at Rena’s place – first time I was hosted through CouchSurfing. It was really nice, we had a great evening and wondered around the campus the next day. In the picture are me, Rena (on right) and her roommate, Andy (on left), on Boulder university campus.

Colorado Springs – winter


It’s been a long time ago, and this is my second time in Colorado since… But I decided to put up a picture of Colorado in winter, since it’s now summer and I’m here again 🙂
This is the Garden of the Gods, in Colorado Springs.

Verkala beach

My next-to-last stop in Kerela (and India): Verkala beach is a really nice place to relax.
It’s not the right season and I’ve had 12-hour rain showers, but when it’s sunny the beach is nice.
At night there are lots of fresh fish fished during the day; I’ve had a good Tuna steak and some other good fish.. Too bad I don’t like seafood, because there’s lots of it here.
Nevertheless, I have to leave today.. Starting to make my way back home. I’ll leave to Trivandrum today, taking a flight tomorrow to Mombai, and try to find a way to spend 8 hours there until my 23:00 flight back to Israel.
It’s not easy thinking about going back, especially in a nice place like Verkala…

Kalaripayattu in Kochi

As I said, the state of Kerela has a lot of culture of its own.
Kalaripayattu is believed to be the oldest martial art, from which spawned both Chinese (Kong-fu) and Japanese martial arts. Its origins are from Kerela, and it’s almost the only place in the world where it is taught and practiced.
I went to see a show in the local Kalaripayattu school. I was the only audience member but they still put it on. Bare-hand fighting, sword and shield, two-edged sword and belt-sword techniques were demonstrated, as well and single and double long-stick, and short-stick techniques.
I asked to join one lesson and the teacher, which looks around 55 but turned out to be 76 years old, accepted…
The next day I joined the class and trained with the local students. They train every day, usually from an early age (they say 7 years old is the best age to start). They say the total training, if one trains hard, should take 12 years. I first had to present the teacher with a coconut and leaf for a short ceremony to be accepted as student…
We first did a ceremonious ‘kata’ which was hard on the legs, since in Kalaripayattu one stays very low, almost horizontal to the ground, to keep the vital parts safe. Then some kicking exercises which improve flexibility.
We mainly worked on bare-hands techniques. They have many interesting (and complicated) locks, I hope to remember at least a few of them. Much of the art also uses vital-point striking, of which there are around 108 along the body.
After a while they asked me, and I showed them some Aikido and Kong-fu techniques which they tried… It was really fun. I was invited to return today, but my legs really hurt and I didn’t feel I was up to it. Still, it was really nice; it’s too bad this is not taught much outside India, as it appears to be a very diverse and complete martial art, as well as healing and massage system.

Kochi

I arrived in Kochi (in Kerela) by night bus from Mysore. Took a boat to the Fort, which is an island.
Kochi is a really nice place, people are really nice. It seems like kerela is a really interesting state with a lot of culture – they have Kalapathi, which is their native theatre – shows take 6-9 hours each and characters communicate with hand movements. The makeup and music are really nice.
There’s also a small jewish community and a synagoge (which I saw only from the outside since I arrived there at night). The majority of people here are christian (portougise influence I think), and most of the rest are muslim (Ramadan just finished yesterday and they had some celebrations). It’s interesting to see the christian churches here – a few days ago there was some holy christian day, they had covered the church in colored lights, had a parade with drums and music, and even a laser-show on the church’s front…
The picture is of Chinese-style finishing nets along the short; a crew of around 6 men lower and raise the nets to try and catch fish, though this time of year the pickings are slim…

Mysore

From Hampi (Hospet) I took a night bus to Bangalor. Not wanting to stay there, I searched for a morning bus to Kochi without luck; so I took a bus to Mysore.
Many people said it’s a nice place, but I can’t say I agree. The palace is quite nice, and the zoo is ok, and probably the best thing to do in town is see the flower market, where they sell loads of flowers, which the local girls wear in their hair daily.
The local merchendize is oil, produced from different trees and flowers, and incense. Not being able to resist the pressure, I had to buy a couple of oil bottles…
There is actually a festival in Mysore now, which should end on the 21st with elephant and horse parades, but I will miss it since my flight is the next day.

Hampi


I finally made it to Hampi.
It’s a small town set in really out-of-this-world surroundings, with hugh rock clusters as far as the eye can see.
This used to be a 15th-century town made of stone, with beautiful halls, palaces and houses. The muslim forces destroyed the town in the 16th century, but the area is full of abandoned palaces, temples and houses with nice statues and carvings.

The whole place is relaxing after the long rides I’ve been taking, and it’s a nice place to take walks or just take is easy. I’m staying right by the river and there are coconut and banana fields all around…

Here’s a sunrise for you (it’s about time…)

Bijaipur


I spent a night in Bijaipur before continuing to Hampi. It’s a mixed Hindu-muslim town, but most interesting sights were left there by the muslims.
The nicest thing I saw in town was the whisper gallery; it’s the top part of a high structure, whose dome is the 2nd largest in the world. People in opposite sides of the gallery can hear each other so perfectly that even a page being turned is heard clearly…