A variety of factors led us to look nearby for the first of this (financial) year’s vacations – a relatively unambitious trip to Coorg. But it was our first trip to the area, so we decided to make it special by resorting to luxuries that we otherwise stay away from during our travels. The trip began on a Friday morning, and our Celcabs driver was only about 15 minutes late. At 7.30 we got out of Koramangala on to tolled NICE and un-tolled other roads, and parts of Bangalore that we’d seen only on Google Maps.

Though we’d have liked to try out breakfast at Maddur Tiffany’s, hunger and a persuasive driver led us to Kamat Lokaruchi, just after Ramanagara, at about 9.15 AM. We decided that the ‘buffet’ option would be the least taxing mentally. At Rs.120 per head, it wasn’t the stuff legends are made of, but pretty filling and reasonably tasty – pongal, dosas, (masala and standard) Kotte Kadubu, vada, jalebi, kesari bath and so on! The pit stop was short and we then passed more Kamat outlets, a few CCD, McDonald ones, and even a KFC and Empire, all much more spacious and luxurious than the ones in Bangalore.

On to Channapatna, Maddur, and a Mandya quite different from the muddy little town that I had somehow visualised. Ambareesh (whom we have something bordering on affection for – thanks to Sumalatha’s mallu movie connection :) ) was everywhere, and thanks to ‘Bulbul’, so was Darshan! Shaded roads, a smattering of brand outlets and large parks, Mandya made a pretty picture. Neither of us knew that we’d meet again in a more elaborate way during the trip, but that’s for later.

Srirangapatna, Hunsur (which has a few highway eateries) Periyapatna later, we passed Bylakuppe, where ocher and saffron robed monks swarmed, and a couple of them managed to scandalise D when she spotted them in a non-veg restaurant which heavily advertised chicken as a specialty. I told her about the Dalai Lama being a non-vegetarian and she refused to believe me! After Kushalnagar, we were at Madikere just before 12.30. Given that our destination was only about 40 km away, we decided to wait till we got there, for lunch. But 40 km actually took almost a couple of hours, and past Napoklu and Kabbinakad lay the end of our journey – The Tamara, where we had reserved a weekend break package.

The billing happened first, heh, as did a welcome garland a vanilla drink that was oh-so-refreshing! Since we were reasonably famished, and there was some confusion regarding the room, we went straight to the restaurant. A buffet awaited us, and we weren’t really discerning of what we ate – I remember it as a large blur! Our luggage saw our room before us. A buggy (on-demand and a call away) is the most common form of transport, unless you want to walk, which is a splendid option. We’d specifically asked for Room 111 (or its adjacent 112) because they offered the best view in the property. And so it was.

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Since even a few thousand words aren’t really enough, here’s a video that D shot.

As with every other trip, my headache decided to pay a visit in the evening! Thankfully, there was an option to lounge around on the balcony, or to watch the landscape change colour right from the bed! Easy to guess what I chose. :)

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The buffet dinner had a couple of Coorg dishes but not what we had come seeking – pork! But we pigged out anyway. By then, it had begun raining. That meant that our trek planned for 6.30 AM had to be canceled, since the paths would be slippery. I pretended disappointment, but apparently not enough of an act to convince D! Haha. Day 2 would therefore begin a little later. At least one of us was not complaining!

To be continued…