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Bangalore in Earnest

October 19.

Another great buffet breakfast, and sent out our first laundry in our new do-laundry-often plan.

Today we do a full day tour of Bangalore City. Bangalore was founded in the 16th century by a local chieftain, Kempe Gowda’ and derives its name from the local Kanada word bendakaluru.  The translation to the rather prosaic “boiled beans” stems from a story of an old woman who gave this to a Hoysala King in the 10th century when he turned up hungry at her home.  Today the city is the center of a thriving information technology industry and home to a growing population of young professionals. It’s often referred to as India’s Silicon Valley.  It’s modern, sorta, but not with many large buildings.  If one wanders into old Bangalore, you see remains of the city’s historic past.

We’re accompanied by two very engaging guides, Usha and VIdya. Usha, an engineer turned writer with a passion for travel and history, she juggles her time between walks, managing her organization’s content, freelance writing to magazines like The Alternative, Citizenmatters, Indiahikes, GoUnesco and raising her 12-year old son.

Vidya is an avid food blogger, with more than 65000 followers around the world. She is passionate about all things food, and has been featured in quite a number of Indian cookery shows – News9, Suvarna Kannada News, High Ultra Lounge to name a few. She is knowledgeable about the contents of every dish and points them out as we walk through markets, and skilled at getting into the back seat of our van. Vidya and Usha get along well and complement one another, which makes for a pleasant and fun experience for their clients.

We start at the Snake Temple, an active, functioning Hindu temple. It’s always interesting to observe people going through their daily rituals at a temple.

We stop to rest for a beverage at a local cafe before visiting the farmers market away with wholesale flowers, fruit, vegetables and spices.  The flowers are quite amazing and are brought and turn over fully each day.

Back in the car we take a historical drive through the city, stopping for a traditional Karnataka lunch, with small portions of over a dozen foods served on a large banana leaf and eaten with our hands.

Carol and I decide to pass on a visit to a fish and meat market, as we’ve seen too many of those around the city, and we’re getting tired and hot. We do go to visit the remaining portion of a fort, most of which was destroyed by the British and the summer palace of Sultan Tipu, an important historical ruler who we’ll hear more about when we visit Mysore and Hampi. Most of the Palace has been destroyed. Neither the fort nor the palace is likely to make our list of the ten highlights of our lifetime travel experience–or the top two hundred.

We’re taken to an art show featuring work of students from a local art school and a crafts market being held there, both of which are busts. Usha takes us to a store that features ancient board games, run by an engaging and passionate young woman, from whom we enjoy hearing about some of the games.

Back at our hotel, both Carol and I are exhausted and fall asleep, getting up for an okay, but not exceptional dinner at the hotel, before retiring for the night.

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