I’m back from 8 days in India, my favourite country to explore. This time I was travelling from Hyderabad down to Goa, stopping off to visit incredible cave temples and ancient mosques as well as the huge boulder strewn landscape at Hampi. An unexpected bonus of travelling in this region was that most places didn’t serve alcohol… not that my travelling buddies felt the same as me on this matter.
For me one of the best things about India is the food. Each region offers something different, it’s always cooked fresh and can vary from delicately spiced curries to blow your head off chilli dishes. Usually I opt for the spiciest and knock it back with a couple of cold kingfishers. This time I still enjoyed spicy food but washed it down with fresh lime sodas, fruit juices and even a pink flamingo mocktail one evening.
I am as surprised as anyone to find that I didn’t miss the beer at all. I felt great every morning and even managed a couple of seriously early wake up calls to fit in some running. Plus, there was no sign of dehydration which I am very prone to.
There was also an unexpected bonus. Travelling in India is cheap, another reason I love it so much. But remove booze from your day and it suddenly becomes even better value. I never paid more than 90 rupees for a drink – around £1 – and often paid only 30 rupees. I’m starting to think I should put the money aside that I would normally spend in the pub and see how much I save over the next 12 months.
However, there was one moment where I really wanted a drink. It didn’t come from a craving for alcohol, instead a need to steady my nerves after an enormous spider decided to try and befriend our dinner table. I am terrified of spiders (yeah, I know, they are more scared of us blah blah blah..) and this one was bigger than my hand with really chunky legs. Someone kindly removed it from the restaurant but for ages afterwards I was jumpy and a cheeky beer or glass of wine probably would have relaxed me a bit. But If I can get through that I’m pretty sure the rest of the year will be easy!