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In the long independence day weekend we decided to give ourselves a little freedom from the city hussle bussle … the intial idea was to just get out of the city somewhere and then the wish to see Kerala backwaters in monsoon clubbed with our close friends daughter’s baptism in Cochin we headed towards God’s own Country…

The group this time was myself, hubby, ojas my 9-month old son, my sister Aparna and a couple friend Manish and Shivani, owing to the fact that we both had new cars (ours cedia and their city) and our craze for driving it was not a surprise that we decided to drive … We left Bangalore on Thursday i.e 14th August evening around 6:30 pm in the evening… It was one of those Bangalore monsoon days when there was a sudden crazy downpour and if u have been to Bangalore in the recent past you will now what becomes of it roads when it rains…. We got terribly stuck in city traffic and could step out the city only by 9:00 or so and that when we took some internal routes and came out on Hosur Road after Electronic City… and then all of us were hungry and hence began the search for a good place to eat, fortunately due to our previous travels on this road towards Yelagiri, towards Yercaud, Chennai etc we knew of quite some places to eat in Hosur…. We decided to stop at Hotel Renaissance and had a good dinner or Dal tadka, aalo jeera and some good tandoori rotis…. Ojas also had his milk there and then slept off….

Other important thing we did there was book a hotel in Salem for the night halt… and then we started the journey towards it… It was still pouring cats and dogs and the roads looked lovely, both me and hubby love rains and were enjoying the drive but Manish was not really happy with the night drive…. Nonetheless we reached Salem at about 01:00 in night and started searching for the hotel that we had booked and on the way we saw this very nice and huge hotel called Salem Castle and we decided that rather than going further and finding the other hotel to be not good lets checkin here if they have rooms…. Fortunately they had……. And we were all off to bed at 1:45…. Me and hubby took turns sleeping as the bed was small and Ojas was getting up and starting to crawl as soon as his eyes opened a little…… but still it was a nice rest

We started from there the next morning after breakfast around 9:00 am or so i.e after we had our breakfast and we attempted to giving Ojas his breakfast which he refused to eat… it was my birthday that day and hence I was in a happy happy mood you now…. I was also at the wheel and thought I am going to freak out today…. Little did I know what laid ahead… the roads from Salem to Coimbatore were in a really bad shape… there was construction going on to make it a four-lane highway and there were so many criss cross, so many diversions, so many pot holes that you could hardly pick up any speed… after 2 hours we had barely gone for about 80kms and we were all getting exteremly frustrated and thus decided to take a tea break… we had a tea somewhere and attempted to give Ojas something to eat again which is refused again and thus I gave him milk… and from here Naren took back the wheel and started the frustrating journey again… The journey went on , Ojas was either sleeping or playing in his car seat happily in between eating his biscuits and playing with massi… The road became good after the Coimbatore bypass and we were finally able to pick up speed… We stopped for lunch somewhere at about 15:30 and there was hardly anything available there till then… we somehow managed to stuff something in us… the sambhar and the brown rice were edible so bas kaam chal gaya, this time to I tried to feed Ojas his lunch but he refused to eat anything at all… not even one bite to taste whether he likes it or not, I was sure if he has a bite he will eat as it was his favorite Oats but he simply refused and had milk again after sometime in the car… This was getting me worried because he had eaten only 1.5 biscuits since morning and was wondering if he will behave this way in the whole trip….

We started from there and the road became much better but my son decided to play havoc…. He started screaming at the top of his voice and just wouldn’t stop specially in hi car seat…. We had to stop 5 times in the next 1 hour to pacify him and then he finally fell asleep in my arms and then I put him back in his car seat…

Post that we soon reached the by pass to cochin rather Alwa just before alwa and we took a left from there and headed through the mild slopes towards the backwaters in Kumarakom … the road up there kept getting curvier and thinner as we approached ahead… it was a lovely stretch but because of the frustrating first half the journey felt like never ending to us… And finally we saw the first backwater canal… it was an amazing feeling actually… there was a sudden gush of happiness and then started the search for our resort The Backwater Resort at about 20:00 in the night… the first look at it we were happy and satisfied…. They were nice cottages and the resort was on the Vembanad Lake…….. nice small swimming pool too………

We then decided to get fresh and put Ojas to sleep and meet outside our cottage in about an hour’s time… Ojas went to sleep without any difficult, I guess he was as tired as us … we put him in his sleeping back to be tension free… afterall he cant crawl and fall down the bed in his sleeping bed… I give credit of this idea to my hubby which saved us fro 3 sleepless nights
And when I came back I was pretty surprised to see a nice cake kept on the chair with a knife and all… I cut the cake etc and then we chilled out with some drinks and food… actually all of us desperately wanted some chilled beer specially Manish…. He went to the extent of saying that his motivation for the drive was the chilled beer in the end… but 15th August being a dry day we had to do with some Absolut vodka that we had got along with us… All in all it was a very different birthday for me this time, birthday on the road… not to mention that I enjoyed it the amount I love travel and driving…….

In parallel we called multiple people and try to figure out a alternate route to go back as I was so sure I am not driving 16hrs back at a stretch having Ojas with me and we figured out a route too through which it takes about 10-12 hrs to reach Bangalore… and we cursed ourselves to have done this research before starting normally me and Naren make sure we talk to people, get enough info on the best route to take before we head out this time owing to Ojas we hadn’t got into it at all…

The next morning was our houseboat day…. We had booked a morning to evening houseboat as we were not sure how will Ojas behave on it and hence didn’t take it for the night… so after a leisurely and nice breakfast we went on the houseboat… Manish had in the meanwhile gone for the traditional Kerala massage in the resort and had a Ok Ok feedback regarding the same… even I wanted to go but decided for the evening as Ojas had to be made ready etc…

The house boat was the highlight of the trip and was truly amazing…. I had never imagined that the houseboat will be so modern… it had all the comforts and was fun to be in….. the backwaters view was amazing and we all loved every minute of it….. including Ojas who was in a happiness spell seeing so much water around him… I thin
k he belonged there…

And then suddenly we saw lots of small small boats coming near our houseboat and we started the guess work, they would be coming to sell fish etc etc and then we suddenly saw them all getting tied to our baot and then we realized what it is… they are all fishermen going back to the villages after fishing and saving their rowing energy, truly working in tandem, in a team isn’t it…. These people know it so well and we have to teach this so much back in office……. I guess great lesson here

And then there was a brilliant truly kerala style lunch served on the boat….. and we had a truly amazing chilled out day on the boat……….

After we came back from the houseboat I went for a massage…. And it was a a mixed kind of experience……. Read abt it here and then night again was a chilled out chat cum booze session, today we actually decided to try the Gujrati and the marathi cuisine that was listed in the menu… we had seen it the first day but were not in the mood to experiment so much but today the mood was upbeat and also we had come to know that the head chef is from Maharashtra…. And the food was a pleasant surprise… we had ordered dal methi, khichdi and some other items and all were good…

The next morning was the day to start back and head towards Cochin for our friends daughters baptism and we started from the resort at about 9:30 in the morning and the route we took this time was really neat and fast we made it to Cochin in exactly 2 hours as compared to 3.5 hrs we had taken on the way up…. The baptism was in a nice hotel and ojas enjoyed himself crawling all over in the lobby of the hotel and we also had a chilled out time but it the weather was really bad there… from there we headed towards the place our friend had arranged for us to stay and it was a nice home and then we had what is called a long afternoon siesta ruining all our plans to go see Cochin fort…. By the time we left home it was about 4:30 pm already and then by the time we reached the port road it was about 5:30pm and then there was a whole lot of commotion as there was some festival going on and hence we decided to ditch the fort plan and went towards the Bolgaty Palace and from there we took an hour’s boat ride around the Indian navy boats and then came back chilled out the palace with some chilled beer finally and nice buffet dinner….

Next day morning we went for breakfast at our friends house and had nice aappams an curry and the kerala banana… we started from there around 9:00 am in the morning and started driving on the new discovered route unfortunately I have lost the log that kept on what exactly is the route we took but I remember we took a diversion somewhere from NH57 on to SH17 and then got on to another SH (me is trying to search for the log, if I get it then I will update the same)… In between we stopped at naren and manish’s common friends house for lunch at Pallghat… these guys were meeting each other after some 8-9 years and it was nice to watch the reunion and watching them getting into comfort zone in a instant even after so long… that’s what friends are isn’t it

By taking the modified route we reached Hosur at about 20:00 and that was really good as compared to what we had done in the updward journey though post that the law of averages caught up and we got stuck in a jam and reached home only by about 21:45 but nonetheless it was brilliant….

And all through the trip the darling was my dear Cheetah… the Cedia…. It would just rip the minute u press the pedal… be so steady even on very high speeds… I actually did my frist 170kmph in the trip… my highest speed ever… it was really thrilling and the car was rock steady at that time…….. but still after all this I would say the comforts of a SUV are brilliant for a long drive, I did miss my elephant the safari………

PS: as usual check out the snaps at Kerala Pics

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