The majority of nomads will tell you that traveling over Christmas and New Year’s is challenging and expensive. Destinations are flooded with holiday tourists, prices are jacked, selection is slim, you have to book far in advance, and what you end up with is usually overpriced and subpar. Josh and I were not surprised when we turned up in the town of Pondicherry and checked into our hotel the night before New Year’s and it was a dump. The pictures online looked pleasant but it was everything but that. The crisp white linen sheets advertised online were stained with who knows what. The bathroom – well, if you can even call it that, was about 2 feet in width and 6 feet in length. For some reason, they decided to situate the toilet sideways so there was no more than 3 inches in front of the toilet to actually sit. Cringe worthy! I would post a photo of the bathroom but I’ll save your stomach from the torture.
We were lucky to have different accommodation booked for New Year’s down the street at an art gallery that had a guest house connected to it. When we arrived, we instantly knew this place was special. You could just feel it. I don’t know how else to describe it. Eclectic art on every surface of the walls. Sculptures situated in each corner and on all window ledges. Grand wood antique furniture filled the rooms. It felt like a home. Not a hotel. Not a hostel. Not a guesthouse. Home.
The art gallery is owned by a lovely couple who has a son. They have four properties in the area. All very beautiful but all unique in their own way. The staff that work at the properties have been with the family for decades. They too are a part of the family now.
Pondicherry was a chosen destination because of its rich history and food. It used to be colonized by the French. The buildings and streets in heritage town felt like France and then when you walk two blocks over, there’s no mistaking it for the chaos of India. It is the perfect fusion of France and India. The food is a testament to this blending as well. The best meals I’ve had in India were in Pondicherry. Flavourful vegetarian curries and the most perfectly balanced crispy and soft croissants you’ve ever tried. Your appetizer could be French. Your main, Indian. And your desert – a fusion of both cuisines.
After two days in the town I knew that I was meant to stay longer. For what reason, I would only discover a week later, but for now I knew I couldn’t leave just yet.
Josh headed off to Sri Lanka and I booked three weeks at the art gallery and started to settle into my new home.