It was decided in early December that we, friends (lets name them B, C, L , A and myself) , will be going on a week long trip to Goa again in January during the Sankranti festival week. But then work happened and except for one, the rest couldn’t take 4 days leave. So we decided that we will make use of the three day holiday that was coming up for Republic day, i.e the 26th of January. Finally we decided on the place (after soooo much contemplation, voting and discussion) called Chikmagalur. To be honest, it was a tie between Mangalore and Chikmagalur and ‘B’ cast his vote for Chikmagalur and the idea was to do the Mulayangiri Trek (which I secretly was planning to skip at the last minute.. have you seen the photographs of the trek ? Looks so scary…and I really didn’t want to break my not-breaking-any-more-bones stride)
We booked the hotels, 2 rooms each, one for us women (A and myself) and one for the guys (B,C & L). This is L’s (who is known as the Sheldon of this group) first trip with the group. We also booked a ZoomCar from Bangalore so that we can drive comfortably and it was universally accepted by one and all that I should not be driving, at all. Its a hilly area and I didn’t mind not driving. The heights give me the creeps when I am driving. But then B found someone very special and things moved on so quickly for him that he considered ditching the trip (so rude of him!!!) with his friends, so as to spend time with his sweetheart. Since the meet-the-friends had already happened we suggested that his sweetheart should also join the trip and it will be fun, because not only will they have time to know each other, it will also be an opportunity for his sweetheart (here after referred to as S) to be part of B’s friends circle. S is a sweet person and we all got along very well quite fast. When S finally agreed and we wanted to add an additional room, the hotel was fully booked. So we cancelled the reservation and went ahead with booking three villas in Eagle Eye Resorts, which was a place I had suggested earlier too but was shot down because these guys weren’t sure of the place as such. Now since it was just three days before the trip and we still could get three villas booked, they were pretty sure that the place would be a dump. Not only that it was almost more than an hour’s drive from the actual city of Chikmagalur.
The night before the trip, we were celebrating one of our other friend’s, who is also our Zumba instructor, birthday and ended staying up very late. Not a very wise idea per-se. And that was the night A said that she won’t be able to make the trip because she was down with fever and cold and it wasn’t getting any better. Not something I wanted to hear. But then it was what it was and we decided to ahead, wishing her a speedy recovery. And since the car was booked in B’s name , S and B were supposed to come and pick everyone else from their homes by around 5.30 am. Not a very wise idea. Should have been in C’s or my name because those two love birds took their own sweet time. But then since we already knew that it was likely to happen given that we had a late night out and this was supposed to be a relaxing trip than anything else, it was all good. They finally arrived by around 7 or so at my place and we loaded all the drinks and snacks which was in my care into the car and started by around 7.30 am to pick up L and be on our way.
Looked like the whole city was travelling out. Too much traffic in the city and even in the toll area. We kept going on and on. Since the car did not have a DVD player, I got the passenger seat and I played the role of the RJ with my iPad. We stopped for a quick breakfast. C was the one who was driving. We played 20-questions and made fun of each other, and L is not called Sheldon for nothing. So you can imagine the kind of lines he would have spewed. It was supposed to be a 4-5 hours drive, but it took longer than that and once we crossed Chikmagalur, we had to resort to use the directions given to us by the resort to get to their place. It was inside the Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary area. The roads from the entrance of this sanctuary wasn’t very good, may be because it was a forest area of sorts. And it had its own curves, which made the drive a lot more slower. We were pretty hungry by that time and it was already 2.45 or so. Their lunch time would end by 3 pm, so we called up and told him that we were almost 20-30 mins away and they convinced us that the lunch ends by 3.30 pm or so. Finally , finally we arrived there by 3.10 pm and were asked to have lunch even before we could check in. It was kind of them to do that. The food was very good. Both veg and non-veg. The dining area was very lovely what with the backdrop of the mountains and all. We all liked the place instantly. And I was like ‘who suggested it huh?’ 😉
Then we did the checkin and they took us to the villa’s. We thought it would be like normal rooms, but it was indeed a villa. There were 4 beds in each villa (which we weren’t aware of) and it was a little away from the main reception area. They had no room service and coffee and tea were served in the main area or the dining area only. I loved the first villa, it was a standalone one, we entered and immediately told others that I was taking it. The other two were attached together even though it looked identical and it had a beautiful verandah between them where we can spend time looking at the beautiful mountains ahead. It was just AMAZING. But then the two love birds decided that it was indeed proper that they had the standalone villa to themselves and dumped my things into the other one, adjacent to that of C and L’s villa 😦 Too mean.
By the time they left to freshen up , we started on our beers and just put on some melodies of Illayaraja and started to chill in that lovely evening weather. We decided then and there that we are not driving anywhere for the rest of our stay and all plans of any trek was shot down unanimously. The resort had an early morning trek (a very easy one) and a plantation walk which we decided to do the next day. There was also a fishing and coracle ride from 3-5 pm but no one was least interested to do it. After the long drive all we wanted was to relax and enjoy the company.
I was already slightly buzzed what with only the beers and wine that had already gone into my system by 6 pm and decided to be the referee for the Taboo game. We played, we sang, they danced and I had my camera out already by then and was having my time taking photographs of the nature and friends, and the love birds 🙂 and they didn’t mind a bit , which is a good thing, because I love taking such casual portraits and given that these two are very photogenic I was happy. And the place made me feel so calm that all I wanted was to pull up a chair , rest my feet on the wall and just watch the sun go down those mountains. It became dark pretty early and the sound of the birds and the insects started (not to mention the mosquitoes too). The resort had a camp fire and so we decided to go and check it out. We had only two nights there so might as well enjoy it. The camp fire was in the main reception area, which had a huge empty space where they did the camp fire, badminton play area etc. Since the villas are located a little away from the main area you have to walk a bit (a few mins of walk is all) to reach there.
We reached there by around 7.30 pm when they had just started the fire. They were playing all Tamil, Kannada kuthu songs and some popular Pitbull numbers too. No one except for a few kids were dancing there. We ordered for a few snacks which came in very very late, and that was the only complaint we had with them. Around 8.30 pm we decided to have our dinner. Then joined the camp fire area again for some time and then by around 9.30 pm or so, went to crash. Since every one of us had an early start without much sleep the previous night we didn’t even think of playing anything after dinner. And that night, I hardly remember going to sleep.
Photos are here.