Ah the sun, the pure white sand; the glistening blue water. All traits that Puri unfortunately doesn’t have. What it does have though is a great traveller hotel (Z hotel) with a mixture of long time repeat Indian travellers and a few younger first timers. We’re (Joe and I) not actually staying at said hotel as its room was a bit pricey for us and they only do a dorm for females, but with its ultra cheap menu and fresh seafood it’s where we spend our morning and evenings!

We pulled into Puri whilst it was still dark and made our way past the multiple touts to the beach. We dropped our bags and were paddling knee deep in the fantastically warm Indian ocean at 5:50am. The sun rose behind a dense mass of clouds and then the drizzle swept over the beach giving it a very English feel! That was when we went in search of a place to stay and found the Hotel Lotus offering a great value room opposite Z hotel. We have enjoyed learning from the repeat visitors to the country (mostly English) and their tips and hints for onward travel. One welsh lady who is spending the whole winter here (“It’s cheaper than paying the gas bill!”) taught us some helpful Hindi phrases, including ‘chal’ (Go away).

Our explorations around Puri led to us discovering that if you walk the wrong way down the beach, it becomes the toilet section for local Indians. A very grim sight and one that has prevented trips into the sea go any further than a paddle! I have unfortunately been a bit ill whilst here, but I can’t complain too much as I’ve been comparatively healthy around India to date. A combination of our miracle drugs (Ciprafloxacin), probiotics and rehydration sachets has pretty much reset my body in the past 24 hours and so I’m feeling fairly ok now. So much so that I went for a stroll the nice way down the beach this evening, which was lovely and the least-hassled by Indians I think I’ve been which was a welcome change.

Last night during our hangout at the Z hotel a film got put on. After Hitchcock’s ‘Jamaica Inn’ was found to have inaudible sound quality, Django Unchained was suggested. Once put on though it turned out not to be the Tarintino film expected but the original spaghetti western ‘Django’ which is what the Tarintino film is loosely based on, including the use of part of the original’s sound track. So there’s a random piece of information for you!

Tomorrow we take on our longest train journey to date, 25hrs, with our first train leaving at 6am and not pulling in to our destination until 7.30 the following day. So whilst this blog may sometimes give you travelling envy as we write about the sun and adventures whilst England (and the US/Canada) gets colder and darker, you can take solace in the fact that whilst you are enjoying your weekends we will be spending almost the entirety of our time couped up on a train!