There are many people I have to thank for making this a great trip: My cousin who himself was planning to spend the Christmas holidays there and suggested we join in as well; Our hosts for making us at home and treating us to a sumptuous fare even on days when the food was supposedly ‘simple’; the staff of the Kliffview Homestay where the caretakers looked after us well; The driver who took us up nine hair pin bends and stopped at all the right places when we were hungry, and once when we wanted to pick up a few memorabilia.
On the morning of 28th we were packed and ready to quit Trichur where we had spent time with my folks for about eight days. My husband, two kids aged 16 and 12 opted to take a train to Calicut instead of driving down. It’s been ages since I’ve traveled by any train. Time was when trains were the preferred mode of travelling. But with airfares coming down a few decades ago, I think more people opt to fly instead of taking a train. When I was younger, we traveled to Kochi a lot taking a train in the morning and landing up at my aunt’s house at Wellingdon Island by lunch time during a long weekend. On Sunday, we would take another one home post lunch and an early tea, boarding at the starting point and arriving at Trichur before sundown. Vendors would ply the platforms and sometimes they’d get into the train selling tea, coffee, vadas, bhajjis and bananas.
The Satapthi we were taking from Trichur to Calicut was late by almost half an hour. Once the train began chugging along, passing by junctions, homes, smaller stations and wide paddy fields, the vendors arrived as well offering more sanitised versions of all the good old delights and so much more that included soft drinks and packaged chips. Obviously, although we had breakfast before we left, there were many hungry stomachs around. The train halts for a very long time at Shornur junction, in our case it took an hour. Once we left the station, the train gathered speed making up for lost time. We kept Googlemap on and traced our path on it as we either stopped at a few major stations or whizzed by smaller ones.
We arrived at Calicut and our hired cab was waiting for us. Our driver, asked us if we were hungry and what kind of food we preferred. Ironically, my husband opted for vegetarian in a district that’s famed for it’s mutton and chicken biriyani (I’m vegetarian…but just saying)
We ate at a joint called Pure South that was serving at that time only ‘thali’ meals (this means that you’ll be given a large steel plate with many steel bowls in which they serve various different curries and dry vegetables. This is to be wolfed down with chapatis or rice. You savour all of them and can ask for a refill if you like anything in particular.Usually one or two of those bowls will also contain some sweets). The food served here though was not authentic Keralite and was more like the Udipi fare. It was delicious nevertheless.
Our drive to Wynaad started from here. Just before the climb up, we pulled over at a tea stall and had the local ‘thattukada’ tea from glass tumblers. After that very short halt, we set off on our journey once again. On the way the driver told us how he believed Coorg was over-rated as a holiday destination. Coorg is just a state border and maybe a few small towns away from thereabouts. And we’ve driven past Wynaad twice on our way from Coorg into Kerala. The roads are scenic especially the climb downhill. He told us that the weather at Wynaad had been particularly warmer that year and I learn something new. If it rains during winter, the temperatures remain higher than normal. Wynaad apparently had unseasonal rains throughout 2014.
We went straight to our cousin’s home. We chatted for a while and had tea after which we were shown to the home-stay. We had just about enough time to have another cup of coffee this time, sort our luggage, freshen up, put our feet up a teeny bit and change so that we could go to the house as another cousin had arrived there with his family. But a quick look around and we knew we were in for a comfortable stay.