Kerala, India 2011

For the third year in a row I chose India as the highlight of my trips.
After visiting the north and the east on the past seasons, this time I decided to go to Kerala...a pretty much turistic place, but only if you stick to the usual path (the one suggested by Lonely Planet for instance).
Landed in New Dheli,Spicejet was once again the airline I picked up to take me down to Cochi. On time and reliable as usual!
The Cochi airport is actually far from the "city", and it takes about an hour and a half by bus to reach the real heart of the town. Fort Kochin was my choice, because I had a friend waiting for me there...the mighty Dheeraj.
He will be the dude helping me for the rent of my loyal Royal Enfield. A nice but quite old Thunderbird 350 cc, that will take me for over a thousand Km in idilliac places, but letting me down just at the end of the tour.

First stop: Malakkaparra (Tamil Nadu).
You can't miss Athrapally watefalls on the way to this small tea workers village. They're considered the Niagara falls of India, and if you see them during the dry season, you can understand why! They're massive and powerful. I met three unforgettable guys there, that took in some hidden places where we could only go and spent having fun and laughing a lot!!!
Once passed the waterfalls you enter a wild tiger and elephants reserve after a check point, and here you start getting an idea of where you're gonna end up. The landscapes are just breath taking and the bad road you find from this point on doesn't matter at all.
From here to the next check point telling you you're definatly in Tamil Nadu there's about 100 kms of pure nature and wild jungle, with some lakes here and there, and always the feeling you're in the middle of a dream.
I was supposed to get to Valparai and rest for the night there, but Malakkapparra is just the perfect place to stop and start to deep yourself in the real atmosphere of the tea plantations.
Mojhil e Kiran happend to be in the same spot of the world...and like two old friends working hard in the tea plantations, we met at the only "restaurant" of the village. Sanji, the room renter, was part of the walls as he was running a sweet and clean hostel across the street. As you can immagine he kwnew everyone there, and suddenly he introduces us (me, Mojhil and Kiran) to the pink guy. A skinny dark man wearing this shocking shirt you couldn't defenatly miss in the middle of the fields.
One big bottle of water will do it for an hour walk I thought.

But the more we were going down, the more the valley down there was becoming true.
Let's get to the tribal village then...will take a rest and the will go back up (the village is about a 45 minutes walk super downhill).
I couldn't resist from the sight I could catch from the point of the mountain and as soon as Pinky asked us if we wanted to get down to the river...we all replied YESSSSS!!!
One more hr downhill and we're finally there. An endles valley with a huge river and quite all around! Massive rocks, cracked dried land, butterflies gently baskin in the sun on their piece of grass.
To make a long story short, we filled our bodies with nature and then we ate fresh fish just cought by the guys from the village in the river.
The tigers cold be anywhere, but we know the scarry elephants will come to the river at sun set (a month earlier an elephant killed 39 persons!!!).
Before it gets too dark we start climbing back, but with no water left and a whole day under the sun, I'm dehydrated and in the middle of the jungle I start feeling bad cramps on my legs...and the forest dept is waiting for us up there to kick our asses for being such idiots risking our lives with the wild animals!!!
From Valparai till I get back in Kerala to reach Munnar is just crazy roads to ride on my faithful Royal and wild reserves for tigers and elephants. The sun burns like hell so I decide to stop in an unknow village in the middle of no where, where a dude climbs a coconut tree just to get me two nuts...sooo refreshing!
Once in Kerala I finally start to climb back and get to Marayur, probably one of the most enchanting places I've ever seen in my life. Crews of tea pickers worked like little ants on this soft and smoth mountains, and the sandal wood trees make everything even more special if possible.
I'm tired like shit after riding almost the whole day, stopping here and there to take pictures, but at dark I finally reach Munnar and The Maria cottage where I'll spend the next unexpected 4 days.
It's gonna be all rides and hikes in the quiet and pieceful up and downs, and every corner is gonna be an emotion and a shock for the beauty of the West Gath (that's how the mountains between Kerala and Tamil Nadu are called). It happened I found myself crying sometimes, facing lands blessed by some god and people living in such a laid back lifestyle.

First of all thanx to my sweet Ele, always next to me wherever I've been through the entertaining book she gave me just befeore leaving (Amori, case, universi written by Fosco Maraini...a perfect book while you're traveling).
Thanx Jhon for the amazing two days trek we had in the plantations and for introducing me to your family in Top Station.
Thanx Mojhil and Kiran for being such great mates during our trip to the eden valley.
And thanx to all the people I met on my made my experience special and were the most important part of it. I will nevere forget you.