Matheran, first stop on my bucket list, hill station of horses and rust dust.

It’s funny how when you travel, some places begin to look the same-images, terrains interspersed in my memory. Maharashtra and the Philippines have stark similarities, and Matheran reminded me of Baguio and Sagada–two hill stations and tourist attractions in Luzon, the main northern island of the archipelago which I grew up in.

Matheran was originally a summer getaway for British expatriates because of its cool weather. Baguio was declared the summer capital of the Philippines by American government officials who wanted to escape Manila’s summer heat. Matheran is now an eco-sensitive zone, which means that no cars are allowed so inhabitants and visitors can breathe fresh mountain air while hiking. For years, Sagada preserved its ecology by ensuring that visitors respected the place by keeping it clean and imposing a curfew.

There are many more parallels between India and the Philippines, mainly that we are two young countries, trying to find its identity and place in a global world. But I don’t want to bore you with my observations right now. Instead I’ll share photos from our hikes and explorations. Happy viewing!

We took a three kilometer train track hike to our hotel. I loved skipping from one metal track to another!

The famous toy train, which brings passengers from the bottom of the hill to Matheran's market place.

On our way to the hotel.

Nisha! She was like a mom during the trip, always looking out for our safety. She reminds me of my Tita Dolly. She was such a darling and I can't wait to see her again 🙂

Teams of horses galloped beside us.

Mukesh, the hotel owner! He is C's friend and he completely took care of us! He got me a birthday cake and set up a bonfire during the evening. I love Indian hospitality!

Ruins on the way to Sunset Point

Sunset Point

Breakfast was the yummiest parathas I've ever tasted! It was soft, not oily, fresh and flavorful.

A friend, J, recommended we stay in this hotel. We didn't get to stay overnight but from the brief visit, it looked very pretty.

Forest in the Verandah hotel

Echo Point!

A rickshaw driver taking a much deserved break.

Guavas for sale!

K bought souvenirs from the market. Methinks the Hindi word is "chikki". The Filipino word is "pasalubong". I ate one pasalubong that tasted exactly like a Filipino peanut pastry sweet. Bye, Matheran! I'm happy I was able to visit and savor your beauty for a weekend!