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Old 28th June 2020, 17:35   #1
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Default Weekend Getaway - Chikmagalur in the monsoon with an Audi A3

Travelogue for a weekend getaway? Weird times indeed! Normally I wouldn't have thought of penning down my experience for a weekend getaway but due to Covid 19 there are some things to be considered.
Out of the blue I got a call from the Taj group of hotels stating all their hotels and resorts in Karnataka were operational and they were following all possible measures to ensure the "New Social Etiquette" was followed. I have spent almost every weekend on the road as far as I can remember. So I kid you not when I say, that call came when I was most vulnerable. I had a few membership points and they were giving an all inclusive package (food+stay).
The strongest itch I needed to scratch was a decent highway drive/ride but I did not want to cross any state borders ,so finalized on the Gateway-Chikmagalur property (250kms away). Prior to the lockdown I had a default alarm at 3:30 or 4:00 am on Saturday. So needless to say after 4 months of waking up on Saturday morning with no where to go I was really excited to set an alarm for my favourite time on a Saturday morning. Considering I was going to be using the same highway where not too long ago a bunch of bikers wearing gear where stopped and illegally detained for more than 3 hours it was a no brainer for me, I was going to drive and not ride this time.

Weekend Getaway - Chikmagalur in the monsoon with an Audi A3-screenshot_20200626165827942_com.google.android.apps.maps.jpg

In spite of an early morning (5:30 am) start there was some heavy traffic in the first few tolls but then it mysteriously thinned out. The weather was sublime and the scenery was lush and green.

Weekend Getaway - Chikmagalur in the monsoon with an Audi A3-20200627_080505.jpg

Weekend Getaway - Chikmagalur in the monsoon with an Audi A3-20200627_080846.jpg

Courtesy of not stopping anywhere on the way we reached the resort really early. At the entrance our bags were sprayed with some solution from a fancy dispenser
Weekend Getaway - Chikmagalur in the monsoon with an Audi A3-20200628_110049.jpg

I had gone with grand illusions of being the only occupant and having a free reign over the property but holy moly! The place was sold out. They did state as per govt ruling they had to function only at 50% occupancy and they were completely booked so could not give me an early check-in. Though the staff were very kind to provide us with a map of things to do and with a strong recommendation to visit a café a good hours drive away. Somehow I think they preferred me out of their sight rather than sitting and moping around the lobby

Weekend Getaway - Chikmagalur in the monsoon with an Audi A3-img_20200628_050733.jpg

Under normal circumstances I would have been content to find a nice spot poolside and have a few refreshing beverages till my room was ready. But being starved of visiting places I jumped at the recommendation and took off on a nice long winding drive.

Nothing much to rave about "The Estate Café" but it was nice clean corner with an amazing vista of the forest. Only the next day I noticed Muthodi Forest was further down the same road. By virtue of being early we had the entire place to ourselves, so spent some time relaxing over a cup of coffee.

Weekend Getaway - Chikmagalur in the monsoon with an Audi A3-dsc_0236.jpg

Yes, this was meant to be a travelogue but somehow I prefer taking pictures of vehicles and not landscapes

Weekend Getaway - Chikmagalur in the monsoon with an Audi A3-dsc_0190.jpg

Weekend Getaway - Chikmagalur in the monsoon with an Audi A3-dsc_0193.jpg

Weekend Getaway - Chikmagalur in the monsoon with an Audi A3-dsc_0200.jpg

Weekend Getaway - Chikmagalur in the monsoon with an Audi A3-dsc_0226.jpg

Inadvertently I ended up colour co ordinating the latest fashion accessory with my shirt

Weekend Getaway - Chikmagalur in the monsoon with an Audi A3-img_20200627_122618.jpg

When we arrived at the resort we didn't have to wait long before our room was ready. The Gateway is a spartan but cosy place to just unwind and relax. Again courtesy of the current situation the very few facilities they have were closed (Spa, Swimming Pool,Bar)

Weekend Getaway - Chikmagalur in the monsoon with an Audi A3-20200627_114057.jpg

But that didn't deter this chap from having the pool all to himself

Weekend Getaway - Chikmagalur in the monsoon with an Audi A3-20200627_114842.jpg

The rooms are spacious but spartan , almost to the point of being barebones though the staff make up for it with their courteous service.

Weekend Getaway - Chikmagalur in the monsoon with an Audi A3-20200627_121648.jpg

Weekend Getaway - Chikmagalur in the monsoon with an Audi A3-20200627_121707.jpg

Weekend Getaway - Chikmagalur in the monsoon with an Audi A3-20200627_121717.jpg

The meal plan as part of the package was very simple, Order anything from the in room menu. Or if you were really brave you could have the same meal at the dinning area, poolside or in the garden with enough social distance. Since our room came with a nice sit out we decided to partake all meals within the confines of our room. I was not told of any limit but I guess if you start ordering beyond reason they would let you know. I didn't want to find out, word of caution though, the beverages listed are chargeable. I was not informed of this but they were kind enough to waive it off. Tea and Coffee on the other hand had no limit and were not chargeable.

Weekend Getaway - Chikmagalur in the monsoon with an Audi A3-img_20200627_130059.jpg

Weekend Getaway - Chikmagalur in the monsoon with an Audi A3-20200627_134533.jpg


The next day decided to visit Mullayanagiri Peak and I was warned by the hotel staff to go as early as possible as it would get very crowded on a Sunday.
Checking google maps this routed looked too good to resist so headed out at 6:00am from the resort, in hindsight should have started a bit earlier

Weekend Getaway - Chikmagalur in the monsoon with an Audi A3-screenshot_20200628152813567_com.google.android.apps.maps.jpg

There was no traffic going up but it was already crowded on top with a lot of cars jostling for space at 7:00am in the morning. The drive though was thrilling with very low visibility, narrow roads with what seemed like steep drop offs on one side. I could see where the road ended on the left shoulder but nothing beyond that and nothing to stop you from going over if you were careless. Since visibility was very low there was nothing else to do but take a few more pictures

Weekend Getaway - Chikmagalur in the monsoon with an Audi A3-dsc_0242.jpg

Weekend Getaway - Chikmagalur in the monsoon with an Audi A3-dsc_0253.jpg

Weekend Getaway - Chikmagalur in the monsoon with an Audi A3-dsc_0261.jpg

Weekend Getaway - Chikmagalur in the monsoon with an Audi A3-dsc_0265.jpg

Weekend Getaway - Chikmagalur in the monsoon with an Audi A3-dsc_0272.jpg

The less said about the drive down the better, a whole lot of unruly uphill traffic.

We decided to check out after breakfast and head back home. This time we were accompanied by some heavy rain for most of the return leg.

Weekend Getaway - Chikmagalur in the monsoon with an Audi A3-20200628_125507_007.jpg

Now that I am back home, in retrospect, did I really need to go for a weekend getaway? I did think long and hard, at the end of the day mental wellness is also critical. After having been cooped up at home for 4 months this came a breath of fresh air. Though there are some things to remind you that these are still not normal circumstances. I never imagined that I would not be able to cross state borders freely nor that my choice of ride/drive would be at the mercy of some Cops high handed attitude (There is another post on the forum where a group of bikers were turned back on another highway on the same day with no reason given). There are a ton of precautions one has to take and be socially responsible, wearing a face mask is the least of them but shocking to see blatant disregard for this everywhere and crowds jostling for space.
The hotel staff assured me of all safety measures taken before I made the booking but the same cannot be said of the guests. Apart from the hotel staff and us I didn't see anyone else wearing a mask, kids were running amok, people coughing freely in public, elderly folk walking around and holding on to places and objects for support. Don't get me wrong , I am not judging but its a conscious decision one has to make. If you are a stickler for hygiene and expect everyone else to be socially conscious and mindful of the gravity of the situation, stay at home! The resort staff and management can only do so much. On the other hand the economy also needs a boost. People have to put food on the table for themselves and their families. It was disheartening to see the number of eateries and businesses shut on the way and a stark reminder that all is not well. Having scratched that itch and seen the ground reality at a "tourist" place I don't think I will venture out anywhere anytime too soon, unless this is the new normal.
Weird times indeed!

Last edited by deepfreak15 : 28th June 2020 at 18:33.
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Old 29th June 2020, 06:32   #2
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Default re: Weekend Getaway - Chikmagalur in the monsoon with an Audi A3

Thread moved out from the Assembly Line. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 29th June 2020, 10:04   #3
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Default Re: Weekend Getaway - Chikmagalur in the monsoon with an Audi A3

Indeed a brave decision to head out during these times. Pics look wonderful and remind us of all that we took for granted earlier.

Were you stopped anywhere by police/local authorities? I had read somewhere that locals(maybe from Goa) were also objecting tourism considering gravity of situation?

Thanks for sharing.

Last edited by amods : 29th June 2020 at 10:05.
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Old 29th June 2020, 10:15   #4
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Default Re: Weekend Getaway - Chikmagalur in the monsoon with an Audi A3

Awesome travelogue Deepak! It was a breath of fresh air for me just to see these pictures. I can imagine how much fun it must have been for you to be out there in that fresh air.

And the pictures of your Audi A3 in those lush green landscapes are simply wow! Really beautiful photos! How I wish there was a red car next it to add some color contrast. :-)

Thank you for giving a detailed update on the situation there and how the "new normal" looks like in reality. We have been contemplating on going to the same property for one of these weekends, and your tips and information will certainly be very valuable to plan this trip, if we do plan one at all.

P.S. Seeing such a nice travelogue on Monday morning has spoiled my week now. I can't wait for the weekend, although I am sure I will still have nowhere to go.

Last edited by Dr.AD : 29th June 2020 at 10:20.
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Old 29th June 2020, 10:40   #5
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Default Re: Weekend Getaway - Chikmagalur in the monsoon with an Audi A3

Awesome pics deepfreak15.
Thanks for sharing. This travelog actually reminds of my own drive a last year and we had also used the same tourist map attached above. On a lazy day without the weekend rush, its really an enjoyable experiance to roam around these points. Very nice pictures.
Enjoy
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Old 29th June 2020, 11:02   #6
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Default Re: Weekend Getaway - Chikmagalur in the monsoon with an Audi A3

Nice little travelogue from amidst these troubled times. Thanks for sharing Deepak.

Quote:
Originally Posted by deepfreak15 View Post
The hotel staff assured me of all safety measures taken before I made the booking but the same cannot be said of the guests. Apart from the hotel staff and us I didn't see anyone else wearing a mask, kids were running amok, people coughing freely in public, elderly folk walking around and holding on to places and objects for support.
I guess I would prefer a homestay with less number of rooms and guests - and travel with another couple and just block out the entire homestay to ourselves. Didn't have to make that call though - as I'm yet to take that vacation.

Most of these homestay resorts don't get any visitors during the weekdays, even during proper vacation season - hence it also guarantees some sort of isolating from the previous guests - even if their sanitizing standards are not up to the levels followed by 5-star hotels.

The families in such homestays usually keep to themselves, and also not employ more than 1-2 staff for running this operation. Will be a financial help to those families as well.
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Old 29th June 2020, 13:26   #7
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Default Re: Weekend Getaway - Chikmagalur in the monsoon with an Audi A3

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Originally Posted by amods View Post
...... that we took for granted earlier.
I couldn't have said it better. I had literally taken weekend getaways for granted.


Quote:
Originally Posted by amods View Post
Were you stopped anywhere by police/local authorities?
There were no checkpoints or check-posts along the way and no one seemed concerned where anyone was going.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr.AD View Post
It was a breath of fresh air for me just to see these pictures.

How I wish there was a red car next it to add some color contrast.
Thanks Doc, based on your response looks like two of my goals with updating this mini travelogue were met. It definitely would have been a fun drive with some great photo ops.


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Originally Posted by swarnava.ch View Post
Awesome pics deepfreak15.
Thanks for sharing.
Thank you for your kind words.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr.AD View Post
Thank you for giving a detailed update on the situation there and how the "new normal" looks like in reality. We have been contemplating on going to the same property for one of these weekends, and your tips and information will certainly be very valuable to plan this trip, if we do plan one at all.
Quote:
Originally Posted by CrAzY dRiVeR View Post
I guess I would prefer a homestay with less number of rooms and guests - and travel with another couple and just block out the entire homestay to ourselves.
Most of these homestay resorts don't get any visitors during the weekdays, even during proper vacation season - hence it also guarantees some sort of isolating from the previous guests - even if their sanitizing standards are not up to the levels followed by 5-star hotels.

The families in such homestays usually keep to themselves, and also not employ more than 1-2 staff for running this operation. Will be a financial help to those families as well.
Had I known then what I know now I would have definitely planned my trip differently. Going to a reputed home-stay somewhere towards the end of the week makes more sense. Also would be great if the home-stay has very limited accommodation (may be for two couples at the most). But you never know how many people out there are already thinking along these lines right now . So yeah it still is a gamble.
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Old 29th June 2020, 13:41   #8
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Default Re: Weekend Getaway - Chikmagalur in the monsoon with an Audi A3

Quote:
Were you stopped anywhere by police/local authorities? I had read somewhere that locals(maybe from Goa) were also objecting tourism considering gravity of situation?

Thanks for sharing.
I have the same question.

Brighter side - So refreshing to see the western ghats at its best during monsoon!

Yummy food by the way
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Old 29th June 2020, 14:16   #9
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Default Re: Weekend Getaway - Chikmagalur in the monsoon with an Audi A3

Nice crisp travelogue ! Loved the pic of the car with headlights on.. very good composition !

Indeed it is a nice time to experience monsoon magic in the western ghat region. Even I was getting tempted by frequent messages from a resort chain in Coorg inviting people to visit them, but your travelogue is a reality check.. it is baffling to know that the resort was full even in these times and more worried about so called well-to-do people not caring about COVID-19 safety norms. So far we have been doing just joyrides on highways without visiting any destination, but looks like we will stick to do this to satisfy the 'itch' and be safe at the same time.
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Old 29th June 2020, 14:46   #10
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Default Re: Weekend Getaway - Chikmagalur in the monsoon with an Audi A3

Great Travelogue DeekFreak,

Do let us know how the drive up and down was regarding Police/Checkposts etc. I needed to do a trip up for some work and was hoping I could do a drive up and down the same day, just pack my meals and avoid any stops.
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Old 29th June 2020, 14:56   #11
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Default Re: Weekend Getaway - Chikmagalur in the monsoon with an Audi A3

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Great Travelogue DeekFreak,

Do let us know how the drive up and down was regarding Police/Checkposts etc. I needed to do a trip up for some work and was hoping I could do a drive up and down the same day, just pack my meals and avoid any stops.
I drove exactly 2 weeks before to my home in Chikmagalur. No checking anywhere.

I left at 1530 on Friday and reached at 1900. Return was on Sunday with a departure at 0900 and we reached home at 1230.

On return, there was a checkpost soon after Nelamangala toll (NBTPL) where cars mostly from MH were flagged but they did flag a yellow board Etios too.

Usual crowds at all restaurants en route that we anyway avoided.
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Old 29th June 2020, 15:19   #12
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Default Re: Weekend Getaway - Chikmagalur in the monsoon with an Audi A3

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Originally Posted by paragsachania View Post
I drove exactly 2 weeks before to my home in Chikmagalur. No checking anywhere.

I left at 1530 on Friday and reached at 1900. Return was on Sunday with a departure at 0900 and we reached home at 1230.

On return, there was a checkpost soon after Nelamangala toll (NBTPL) where cars mostly from MH were flagged but they did flag a yellow board Etios too.

Usual crowds at all restaurants en route that we anyway avoided.
Thanks Parag. Thats good time. I have to goto the north horseshoe side. Hopefully can do it in 4 hrs
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Old 30th June 2020, 15:00   #13
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Default Re: Weekend Getaway - Chikmagalur in the monsoon with an Audi A3

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Originally Posted by deepfreak15 View Post
...so finalized on the Gateway-Chikmagalur property (250kms away).
By any chance, did you check the fuel efficiency of the trip, either going there or coming back? Just was curious to know the real-life FE of a 1.4lit.|150hp|250Nm turbo Petrol vehicle. (Kindly correct, if the specs are wrong.) The ARAI FE is mentioned as 19.2kmpl.

The A3 is a well-proportionately designed, seriously handsome car. After seeing the pics of your A3, I am beginning to like it even more than the A4. I like the subtle rear hunch on the boot of the A3 more than the relatively upright boot of the A4.

I know I might be considered nitpicking, but if I had a choice, I would have had the headlamps like how I have done below, on the left headlamp, removing the cut to make it more conventionally 'rectanglish', similar to the previous-gen A4. (Please don't mind my sloppy mod work.)

Weekend Getaway - Chikmagalur in the monsoon with an Audi A3-img_20200627_122618_1.jpg

Weekend Getaway - Chikmagalur in the monsoon with an Audi A3-dsc_0265_1.jpg

I regret I modified your car without your permission.
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Old 30th June 2020, 16:03   #14
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Default Re: Weekend Getaway - Chikmagalur in the monsoon with an Audi A3

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Originally Posted by mankuthimma View Post
Nice crisp travelogue ! Loved the pic of the car with headlights on.. very good composition !
So far we have been doing just joyrides on highways without visiting any destination, but looks like we will stick to do this to satisfy the 'itch' and be safe at the same time.
Thank you for the kind words and yes that actually makes sense.

Quote:
Originally Posted by showboat View Post
I needed to do a trip up for some work and was hoping I could do a drive up and down the same day, just pack my meals and avoid any stops.
When we went, there were no such checks or blocks but off late I am hearing some disturbing news of locals objecting to outsiders visiting. Though that should not come as a surprise considering social distancing is an unknown concept to most folk.

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Originally Posted by zaheermk View Post
By any chance, did you check the fuel efficiency of the trip, either going there or coming back?
Funny you ask. Yes I did and it was averaging around 15-16. I actually checked because a fellow bhpian said he felt he was getting lesser mileage on BSVI petrol. Though after I checked I realized I had nothing to compare it with because this was the first time I ever checked fuel efficiency on a trip.
ARAI figures are far removed from reality so take it with a pinch of salt.

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Originally Posted by zaheermk View Post
The A3 is a well-proportionately designed, seriously handsome car.....
I know I might be considered nitpicking, but if I had a choice, I would have had the headlamps like how I have done below, on the left headlamp, removing the cut to make it more conventionally 'rectanglish', similar to the previous-gen A4.
Thank you! Audi got their plot completely wrong in India by bringing the silliest engine configurations but at least they do know how to make good looking cars. That headlight kink looks more prominent on the new A3.

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Originally Posted by zaheermk View Post
I regret I modified your car without your permission.
Not cool! Only mod you are permitted is adding another 50hp Just kidding, all good!
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Old 30th June 2020, 18:03   #15
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Default Re: Weekend Getaway - Chikmagalur in the monsoon with an Audi A3

Nice and crisp report, would have liked more pics of the car

Are you thinking of giving it a remap? I’ve seen A3’s with crazy power outputs on social media, making it a very mod friendly sub compact car!
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