Wednesday, April 30, 2008


Nestled high int he Nilgrils mountains of Northern Kerala is a quaint and relaxing place called Fringeford. The place has 5 guestrooms and a kitchen that knocks out some of the best Dal in all of India. Maamotty and the boys provided us a great time and their hospitality was tremendous.

We set out from Bangalore early on Saturday morning and after 7 hours of basically not stop driving by Ajay, we finally reached. (Including 2 stops for kids puke clean up, a Coffee Day run and numerous potty breaks....)We had a relaxing lunch and spent the afternoon resting up from the drive. We took an easy 2 km hike down to the "small" waterfall and had a fabulous Kerala dinner of fish curry, dal, chappitti, puri and rice. Every night they stoke up a bonfire worthy of the northwoods and the fireflies come out in hoards. Its pretty magical to sit by a fire, overlooking a valley of tea bushes knowing there is a huge waterfall somewhere up the mountain behind you and just watch the fireflies twinkle.

We turned in early to rest up for our 8 km hike the next day (to the big waterfall).

Breakfast, biscuts, coffee and tea was waiting for us in the morning and after fortifying ourselves we headed off on our hike to the waterfall. We had to put on these knee high slipper/socks kinda things to fend off the leaches and we were off. The trail was somewhat easy to follow and the views were awesome. The waterfall was extremely cold and only Jimmy and Daddy were brave enough to get wet, Jimmy more so. The kids had a great time throwing rocks into the small pool and the adults had a snack of hard boiled eggs, swiss cheese and carrots. All very British, I do say.

Jimmy was a trooper, he completed his 1st official hike without a complaint. Tracy was pretty impressed. I think all that badmitton and swimming have paid off in a fit little kid. Kay and Billy made fast friends with Saji and Anil, our guides, hosts, cooks, waiters, etc for the weekend. They were carried the whole way there and back by said guides. All they needed was someone to hold an umbrella over their heads to protect them from the sun and you would have thought they were royalty.
(The log is not as big as it looks, Kay really is still tiny)

EVERYONE napped. YEAH! I think that's always the best part of vacation.

We spent the rest of the day exploring the twig bugs, ducks, magic bushes and playing Power Rangers with some very large sticks. The bonfire the 2nd night was equally awesome and I think we managed to retire even earlier than the 1st day.

We ended the trip with a final 6km hike into the valley and up through the tea plantation. We saw tons of elephant "sign" and places where they had stripped trees of their fruit & branches as high as they could reach. Sort of cool stuff. Jimmy did ok on this hike but you have to figure 10km over 3 days for a 6 yr old is pretty good. Billy and Kay even got a bit of a hike in this day as the path home was an old rock bed road. Billy's new best "prend" Anil spent the whole day with him hiking, exploring, digging under rocks, etc. It was pretty cute

The car ride home was reminiscent of the way there; puke, potty breaks, coffee breaks and naps. You know, a typical LoudAmericans roadtrip.