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Old 19th August 2018, 21:11   #1
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Default Four Friends, One Car and Godís Own Country - Kerala

Disclaimer: This trip is from last year. I had been really busy (and lazy) ever since to muster up the courage and compile this travelogue. But here it is, better late than never!

(Bangalore – Kannur – Thallassery – Mahe – Coorg - Bangalore)

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It was a lazy afternoon sometime in early June when S (Sumith) came up to my desk, pulled up a chair and retired with a sigh. I was expecting him to say – “Aaj to kuch bhi nahi hua, Status kya denge?” (Nothing accomplished today, what status shall we provide?). But instead, he exclaimed – “I’m going home this month-end: Id wale long weekend pe. Want to come? I hear monsoon has set in already in Kerela”. I was writing an email and the last few words from S made me lose context of that. Images of wet, windy roads; and that of rains pouring down on the windshield while the wiper blades frantically trying to clean it started rushing through my mind. Few moments later, having calmed myself down, I pinged L (Lakshmibabu) – “Important!! Bega ba!”


Now for nomadic bachelors like us, the approach is simple – Wait till the D-Day, pack your bags in 30 mins (forget a few important stuff), Grab the car keys and off you go! But, unfortunately for L & S, it isn’t that simple. They have to go through a rigorous routine to try and get approval of their better halves. The process generally involves Requests >> Demands >> Back to Requests >> Promises >> Bribery phases. While these two started focusing on their game plan to accomplish the above, I had the responsibility to plan the logistics. The plot was clear to me – Chase the rains, bathe in the sea and enjoy coastal cuisine, Basically – relive the Gokarna trip from 2016!


Four Friends, One Car and Godís Own Country - Kerala-gokarna_tb.jpg

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Old 19th August 2018, 21:29   #2
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Default re: Four Friends, One Car and Godís Own Country - Kerala

No trip is ever complete without a few blunders, right? Here’s our fair share..

Blunder-1: Who’s got the Camera?!

My camera was at my parents’ and I was pretty sure S would be carrying his. So, owing to a lot of assumption and no communication, we had no cameras with us during the trip!
“Bummer!” L exclaimed. “Combined, we have smartphones worth 1.5 lakhs+ with us. Let’s put their cameras to test”.
“It’s settled then!”

Blunder-2: The homestay booking!

Whenever someone asked S about his native, he used to say that it’s Kannur. So I was looking at homestays near Kannur, specifically on Payyabalam Beach. Why is this important? We’ll find out later.

Now, the plan was: S will travel on 22nd (Thu) with his family, L and I would drive down on 23rd (Fri) night after work and the three of us would reconvene in Kannur on 24th (Sat). Since I was working from home that week, I hadn’t had the chance to work out the logistics with S. He was thinking that we’ll be staying at his place while L and I booked this alleged beach-facing homestay at Payyabalam beach on Thursday. On Friday morning, I whatsapp’d S the location of the homestay and asked – “How far from your place?” Few minutes later he replied – “2 Hours!!”

“Are you friggin kiddin’ me? Where do you stay? Calicut?”

Then came the revelation. S is actually from Mahe, part of Puducherry’s territory on the west coast. Now, Mahe is about 30 KMs from Kannur and Payyambalam is another 5-10 KMs from Kannur. Given the narrow roads of Kerela and sparse public transport, it would easily take S 2 hours (or more) to reach our homestay. He was okay with that and asked us to take the call – whether to go to Payyambalam or directly to his place. I looked up all Kannur related threads on the forum and stumbled upon this thread. As per the members, the Irritty – Mattanur route wasn’t in great shape and to get to Mahe directly, we had to take this route. Hence we decided to take the Irritty – Irrikur route and reach Payyambalam instead. Whatsapp’d S intimating the same.


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In the meantime, S whatsapp'd this!


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Come Friday afternoon, we meet our friend SK (Santosh) at the smoking zone and brought up the Trip discussion. Knowing us and our impromptu trips, he signed up as well. And that’s how our group graduated from “The Three Musketeers” to “The Four Horsemen”. This was around 3 PM and SK left office soon after (3:30 PM) to get ready for the trip. Speaking of joblessness!

Which Car?

Between L’s Ritz and my Accent, we decided to go with the Accent – Thanks to the bigger boot! And hoo boy, did it help! Had we known earlier that SK would join, we’d definitely have had hijacked his Polo.


Come 8 PM, L and I wrapped up the status calls early and set off from our office in Whitefield towards Silk Board (where we pick SK up). Given that it was a Friday evening and a long weekend ahead, we’re pretty sure we’d be spending at-least 2 hours in traffic. But surprisingly, we reached Silk board before 9. Even SK hadn’t anticipated that we’d reach so fast and was near Koramanagala when we called him to let him know that his ride had arrived. He on the other hand, was stuck in terrible traffic and had to walk about a KM from Madivala to where I parked my car (Opp Sireesh Auto). It was about 10 when we started off from Silk board. We were on Mysore road by 10:30 (Thanks to NICE road) and since all of us were famished, we stopped at a Resto-bar called “Golden Green Palace” in Bidadi (Location). We ordered Tandoori Chicken, some Chicken Masala and butter tandoori rotis. The food was pretty good (more so since we were starving).

We hadn’t realized it was past midnight until our waiter asked us to leave (albeit politely) as he had to go home.

SK, L and I (R to L) at Golden Green Palace Resto-Bar, Bidadi.
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On the upside of this delay, Mysore road was almost empty. I took the wheel and SK reported as co-captain. L clambered into the back seat and was asleep before we hit 60!

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I drove up to Mysore ring road and stopped for a “sutta-break” where SK and I exchanged roles. Once we’re on Hunsur road, SK insisted I get some sleep. I reluctantly agreed and fixed the phone (GMaps) on the dashboard mount and nodded off. I was woken up at-least 10 times in the next 15 KMs by SK’s panic braking due to unmarked speed breakers. Yes, they’re that bad! Then on, I decided to stay awake! I wasn’t feeling sleepy anyway.

By 4 AM we were on the ghats of Bramhagiri forest near KA-KL border. We found a small tea-shop somewhere in the middle of the forest and stopped for another chai-sutta break. A good four hours sleep and 2 coffees later, L was ready to drive the remaining distance. SK reluctantly went to sleep in the rear seat pleading L to drive slowly.

It was about 5 AM when we reached Irritty Bridge and it had started pouring heavily. “Welcome to God’s own country” I said to myself.

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Old 19th August 2018, 21:59   #3
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Blunder-3: Seaside Homestay, Kannur

When we decided on this place, we ensured that itís a Beach facing property (even Googleís location showed that it was almost on the beach) and booked it through Make my trip for 2 Nights.

We reached Payyambalam beach at about 6:30 AM. L and I rushed to the beach like mad men while SK was to sleepy/lazy to get out of the car.

First view of Sea
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Selfie Ė L & I
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SK reluctant to get out of the car
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ďThe homestay is around the cornerĒ, I said. ďShould be there in a jiffyĒ. Boy was I wrong!

The homestay was nowhere near to where Google said it would be. Moreover, google being google, instead of navigating us through straight, open Payyambalam Beach road, directed us through really narrow by-lanes. Adding on to that, when we called the owner we realized that he understands ONLY Malayali. Woke up our very own ďchettaĒ S, to ask him to speak to the owner and get the directions.

A Good Samaritan was listening in on our conversation for a few minutes and realized what the confusion was. He came up to us and guided us to the correct location. Thank god!

Googleís location (Red pin); Actual location (Grey pin)
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On reaching the property, we realized things were not ďexactlyĒ as advertised.
  • Beach facing property - Nah! Not really.
  • Covered parking Ė Only for owner, not guests
  • LED TV Ė Ordered it, not yet delivered. Allegedly!
  • AC Ė On demand
  • No blankets or basic toiletries


All of us were too tired to complain or argue. Actually, we couldnít even if we wanted to (remember Ė ONLY Malayali). So we freshened up, changed and hit the bed.

S reached the place around 10 AM and woke us up. He was equally shocked at the abysmal condition of the homestay. But the deed was done, so no point lamenting over it. We freshened up and got ready to explore Kannur. But first, some breakfast Ė Mallu style! Parotta & Kadla curry!

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While we were waiting for breakfast to be served, S worked out a high-level plan for the day and it looked something like this:

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Customary selfie session at Payyambalam beach
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Goldie waiting patiently to explore the Malabar coast!
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We were passing through a cantonment area on the way to St. Angelo's Fort when we spotted this replica tank.

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Old 19th August 2018, 22:24   #4
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St. Angelo Fort, Kannur

Kannur Fort has an interesting history. It was built by the Portuguese, captured by the Dutch and sold to a local Raja years later, only to be seized by the British. So basically, all Malabar colonists had control of this fort for some period of time! History buffs might recall this fort from the Seize of Cannanore.

Even if youíre not a nerd, itís a good place to hang around

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Muzhappilangad Drive-in Beach

How can a petrol head visit Kannur and not go to the drive-in beach?

Few Bangalore BHPians might recall this venue, thanks to Ravi Sir's Team-BHP Meet!

On the way to Muzhappilangad beach
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Let the fun begin!
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This was the craziest!
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Bidding adieu to the wonderful beach and a fellow brother!
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On the way back to Kannur, I spotted a Car wash place and decided to give Goldie a well-deserved nice soapy bath!

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It was already 2 PM when we drove out of the car wash place and all of us were quite hungry. There were 2 options suggested by owner of the car wash place Ė a good family restaurant near Kannur OR a nearby shack serving fresh fried Fish and local delicacies. We decided to be adventurous and chose the latter. We weren't disappointed.

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Old 19th August 2018, 22:37   #5
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Back to Payyambalam beach

After a good two hours of “fine dining”, there was only one thing left on our TO-DO list for the day – bathe in the sea! So off we went to Payyabalam beach.

The next few pics would give you an idea of what happened next.

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We’d probably have had been there all night if it hadn’t started raining heavily.

After we freshened-up (for the 3rd time that day), S was in a dilemma. Should he go back to Mahe or stay back with us. Going back seemed to be a tough ask since it was already late and was raining heavily. But we had only 1 room booked where 3 itself was a squeeze. So we, well, we just stood there while S convinced the owner to change our booking from 1 Room-2 Nights to 2 Rooms-1 Night. He agreed reluctantly, thanks to our very own Chetta’s persuasive ability. That meant, we were free to use the dining space as well. The party venue was all set then!

We stepped out to get some food. Being Ramadan season, the restaurants nearby were open. We got Grilled chicken, Kebabs and other delicacies to celebrate the night. We retired for the day at around 3AM, not because we were tired but we had to get up early the next morning.

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Old 19th August 2018, 22:59   #6
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Day-2: Thallassery & Mahe

After a blockbuster day, weíre all in high spirits (no pun intended). The idea was to drive to Thalassery and Mahe, stay at Mahe for the night and return to Bangalore the following day.

Our plan for the day looked like this!

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Kannur Light House

We started around 10 AM and our first destination for the day was Kannur Light House. Being a Sunday, the light house was closed for tourists. Bummer! Nevertheless, we walked around inside the park.

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The Light House
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Happy faces
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Don't recall if we did actually spot something or were just posing for the camera!
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Pointer: If you are planning to visit Kannur, stay at the government guest house. Itís adjacent to the light house and actually sea facing. Itís quite economical as well. Below are the contact details (in-case anyone is interested)

Phone:
0471-2324433
0471-2518456

Email ID: spo (at) gad.kerela.gov.in

The KL Govt. guest house at Kannur
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Next, it was time for another authentic Kerela style breakfast!

Waiting in anticipation
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Puttu and Fried fish. We ordered Kadla curry as well which isn't visible here
Four Friends, One Car and Godís Own Country - Kerala-2017_06_25_10_38001.jpg
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Old 19th August 2018, 23:17   #7
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Tellicherry Fort:

Although we were planning to visiting the Dharmadam beach, due to heavy rains, cancelled the plan and headed to Tellicherry Fort. Even at the fort, we were sitting inside the car for almost 30 minutes waiting for the rain to recede.

Anyway, the fort itself is pretty small and located on the sea-side. It was the entry point to Mahe and was used chiefly for trade by the French traders. Later, as the rest of India, was under the control of British.

Fort entrance
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Rain, Rain, go away; Come again another day!
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L, being the curious kind
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View of Thallassery town from the fort
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Maintain the queue, please!
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Attempt at Macro shots.

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It was quarter past noon when we departed from Tellicherry fort and the next destination was Paris Presidency Ė famous for the awesome Thallassery Biriyani. But none of us were really hungry, so S suggested we visit the Downtown Mall. Itís the first and only shopping mall in Thalassery. After roaming around for some time, we came across this shop which had that fish-spa thingy and all those massage equipments. Why not pamper ourselves a little?

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Next, it was time for the awesome Thallasseri Biriyani.

The hungry lot
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Thallasseri Biriyani
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It was really good, but Hyderabadi Dum style is still my favorite!
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Old 19th August 2018, 23:41   #8
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Mahe

Post lunch, S navigated us to this park on Mahe (I donít really remember the name of the park, but itís marked as Mahe River side walkway on GMaps) next to the Mahe bridge. It has an amazing view of an estuary where Mahe River meets Arabian sea.

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Another lighthouse?
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Parting shot
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There is something about monsoon in Kerela that you should keep in mind. The weather may seem dry and your inner meteorologist assures you that itíll stay that way, donít listen to him! A dry weather gives way to a light drizzle and then to heavy downpour in a matter of seconds. Thatís exactly what happened to us.

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So always carry an umbrella!

Since we were drenched and it was already late evening, we decided not to visit Mahe boat house and head straight to Sís place in Azhiyur. After meeting his family and enjoying some authentic Kerela snacks, we bid adieu and hit the road. We were thinking about a place to stay when it occurred to us Ė Why not Paris?

On the way out, I tanked Goldie up. Gas was cheaper by almost Rs. 8-9 compared to Bangalore.

Since the hotel was underbooked, we got a good deal.
After we checked-in, we decided to go for shopping in the famous Thalasseri garment market. Now, Iím a through and through online shopper, so the next hour was quite boring for me as I accompanied L and SK in their quest to find the absolute offline ďdealĒ.

By 9:30pm, we were back in our room and ordered room service and retired for the night.

Woke up a bit late the next morning with a headache, not sure what caused it though! Quickly realizing that we were late for breakfast, we freshened up in a hurry and reached the restaurant. We were the last and only customers at the restaurant and had at least 4-5 waiters at our disposal, which meant the service we received was borderline ďroyalĒ.


To Virajpet!

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We checked out by 11ish and the target was to reach Coorg before lunch time to relish the famous ďpandi curryĒ. As per Google, it was about 100 KMís and we were planning on covering the distance in under 2.5 hours, which seemed doable. However, we had not anticipated the condition of roads in the Mattanur Ė Iritty stretch. Add to that unruly Kerela buses, it was a nightmare to drive on.

Thankfully, the road conditions improved drastically after we crossed into Karnataka and moreover SK had volunteered to drive through the ďnot-so-goodĒ roads mentioned above. Thanks SK!

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By the time we reached Virajpet, it was already 2PM and we decided to have Lunch there itself instead of proceeding to Coorg and leave for Bangalore soon after. We parked near a serviced apartment on the Virajpet main road (Location). Why? There was a security guard there to whom I gave my cell number and paid 20 bucks to keep an eye on the car.

After asking around on recommendations, L found out about a place called ďGreen RestobarĒ (Location) which was known for good food and booze. This was opposite to Virajpet clock tower. Although I wonít call the place shabby, families may not be too comfortable sharing a meal there.

Since this was supposed to be the last day of our trip, we wanted to just sit and chat and bond over the awesome food. So we did and completely lost track of time. It was 5PM when reality dawned upon us. We were in no mood to drive back to Bangalore than evening. The thought of weekend traffic on Mysore road sent shivers down our spines. So I suggested we stay back in Virajpet for the night and visit Coorg the next day before leaving for Bangalore. SK was fine with the idea but it wasnít that easy for L (family man you see!). But he was able to convince his wife somehow and we stayed back in the restobar for couple more hours before retiring for the night at same serviced apartment where we parked our car in the afternoon. Royal Serviced Apartments (Location)

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Old 19th August 2018, 23:56   #9
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To Coorg and eventually back to Bangalore!

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We woke up early next morning (surprisingly) and started driving towards Coorg, had breakfast in Madikeri and visited Abbi Falls, Rajaís seat and Madikeri Fort before proceeding towards Kushalnagar. We picked up some homemade wine on the way too. In Kushal nagar, we initially planned to visit the Golden Temple (Namdroling Monastry) but later decided to visit Harangi Dam instead.

Abbi Falls

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Madikeri Fort

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Harangi Dam

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Four Friends, One Car and Godís Own Country - Kerala-2018_08_19_00_55.jpg

Four Friends, One Car and Godís Own Country - Kerala-2017_06_27_13_22.jpg

We started from Harangi at around 1PM and stopped for Lunch at a restaurant near Hunsur on the Mysore Highway.

Four Friends, One Car and Godís Own Country - Kerala-2017_06_27_14_08.jpg

Four Friends, One Car and Godís Own Country - Kerala-2017_06_27_15_12.jpg

Spotted this lady on the Mysore road riding her scooter with a kid. Why would someone do this!?

Four Friends, One Car and Godís Own Country - Kerala-2017_06_27_16_35.jpg


Anyway, Our next stop was a chai-sutta break near Ramnagara on Mysore Road and thereafter finally reached VV Puram around 6PM where we dropped SK. While we were there, we had some awesome Honey cakes and Jam Buns at VB Bakery. L and I bid adieu to SK and pushed towards KR Puram through Bangalore's peak hour traffic. We were already missing the vacation!

I reached home around 9PM after dropping L off and 30 minutes later, there was a familiar question from SK in our Whatsapp group that read:

D, Whenís the next one?
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Old 20th August 2018, 07:16   #10
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Default re: Four Friends, One Car and Godís Own Country - Kerala

Mod note: Thread moved to Travelogues. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 20th August 2018, 08:54   #11
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Default re: Four Friends, One Car and Godís Own Country - Kerala

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Spotted this lady on the Mysore road riding her scooter with a kid. Why would someone do this!?
Probably protecting the kid from unexpected rains or from muddy water spray from vehicles ahead of them.
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Old 20th August 2018, 12:40   #12
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Default Re: Four Friends, One Car and Godís Own Country - Kerala

Trips planned at short notice/instantly and good times spent with friends and good food is always a perfect recipe for a memorable trip, and to top it all in monsoons adds to the fun quotient. Thanks for sharing and yes better late than never.
You now have a future reference to relive some great memories via this travelogue
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Old 20th August 2018, 20:46   #13
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Default Re: Four Friends, One Car and Godís Own Country - Kerala

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Probably protecting the kid from unexpected rains or from muddy water spray from vehicles ahead of them.
Probably, but it's just too unsafe to travel like this, especially on a highway!

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Originally Posted by NPV View Post
Trips planned at short notice/instantly and good times spent with friends and good food is always a perfect recipe for a memorable trip, and to top it all in monsoons adds to the fun quotient. Thanks for sharing and yes better late than never.
You now have a future reference to relive some great memories via this travelogue
Very true! This was probably the "most planned" trip the the guys and I had over the years (hence the opportunity to pen this down). For us it has always been someone's sudden urge to blow off steam on a Friday night at office and before we know it, we're on the road. There had been times when we've even started driving down the Pune highway without even knowing where we're headed to or had to sleep in the car because hotels were full!

But if I were given the chance to go back in time and change any of that, I wouldn't. It's feels good to not have a plan sometimes!

Last edited by moralfibre : 21st August 2018 at 08:43. Reason: Quoted post deleted.
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