Working from home can be a boon or a bane. It’s a boon when we can avoid the daily commute. But it soon becomes a bane when the kids are having holidays and are at home. My quite home fills up with the boys’ activities with watching TV, board games, throw balls and the endless shouts from the playground calling out the boys. To top it all, I was at a remote location in Kerala and the data card was P-A-I-N-F-U-L-L-Y S-L-O-W. After the initial few days and some quick pre-monsoon showers, it was practically nil.
All that energy and nowhere to let it go made the noise louder and louder and left me cranky. I finally decided to take them out over the weekend for a short trip. As luck would have it, I was not sure where to go as I wasn’t familiar with places there. I wanted a short trip, nothing more than 2 hours of travel one way as my elderly parents would also accompany me.
Every evening used to be full of heavy showers. Those who have experienced rains in Kerala will know that when it rains there, it pours. We looked for places in and around my hometown Varkala. It is already a popular tourist destination with its famous beach being just 15 minutes away for us. My home is also near one of its backwaters, just a minute away and we can view it from the terrace. So, no novelty in backwaters or the beach.
We started searching on google for places to visit in and around Varkala. Also, places to visit around Thiruvananthpuram as we are just an hour away from the capital. We found out the KTDC contact (http://www.ktdc.com/tours.php) numbers and called them up. They had a couple of trips for Thiruvananthpuram in a Tempo traveler. We had to also join at Thampanoor railway station. Again, it is not suitable for my parents and a day before, the whole railway station had been submerged due to rains.
The boys were getting restless now. Finally, we decided on a trip by hiring a private vehicle. Unlike in cities, Varkala is quite remote. We don’t have the typical ‘Rent-a-cars’. So, checked with my cousin for a contact.
He called up his friend and the friend called up another friend. Finally, we found a Qualis with A/c. Yeah, in these parts, we have to specify that too.
And so, finally on a beautiful, dewy, freshly rained, Saturday morning, we packed our breakfasts, snacks, juice and drinking water and embarked on one of our most beautiful holidays. It had three generations. We had planned to go to a place called as Ponmudi in Varkala and then visit Neyyar Dam on the way back.
As is typical, we lost our way after an hour. The driver, then asked us to check with the KTDC Hotel at Ponmudi if they are open today. Smartphone to the rescue. I googled it and called the restaurant. This restaurant is on top of the Ponmudi mountain. They said that due to rains, the Forrest Office had closed the road the previous day and they were not sure of today. They also explained the road directions to the driver. He informed us that we have missed a turning about 5 km back. We then turned back. There was no hurry to get anywhere. The journey itself was full of beautiful landscapes.
On the way, we could use the restrooms at petrol pumps as the journey was close to 2 hours. I was surprised to see that the toilets were spic and span and totally clean. It may be because of the large number of tourists visiting the state. It is still a huge relief for us women folk as we do not have to worry about holding in our bladders in long trips.
On the way to Ponmudi, we also visited another waterfall – Meenmutty waterfalls. No, it is not on the internet. The place is beautiful and untouched. There were many local people though. From here, we went to Ponmudi. My parents took some rest at the bottom of one of the hills while we proceeded to climb a small hill. I was out of my breath when I reached the top. But, the 360 degree view was spectacular with clouds floating below.
On the way back, we did not go to Neyyar dam. That is for another day, another trip.