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On a Shoestring to Coorg


This is the first travel book that tested the idea that a five-year-old daughter makes for a useful international travelling companion. Together Dervla Murphy and her daughter Rachel with little money, no taste for luxury and few concrete plans meander their way slowly south from Bombay to the southernmost point of India, Cape Comorin. Interested in everything they see, but only truly enchanted by people, they stay in fisherman’s huts and no-star hotels, travelling in packed-out buses, on foot and by local boats.

Instead of pressing ever onwards, like so many travellers, they double back to the place they liked most, the hill province of Coorg and settle down to live there for two months. Anchored by her daughter’s delight in the company of her Indian neighbours, Dervla Murphy creates an extraordinarily affectionate portrait of these cardamon-scented, spiritually and agriculturally self- sufficient Highlands. If travel is underwritten by an unwitting search for a lost paradise, this is a quest that was achieved – made possible with the right sort of travelling companion.

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