When I got to India, I knew that I had to see the road that made a great impression on my friend, Peter. When we got to Kerala, JC and I took a couple of Royal Enfield motorbikes and we went off to chase the adventure.
The structure of Road 19
We got up early in the morning. After we had some excellent Masala Dosa for breakfast, we hopped onto our motorbikes. Within a moment, we found our destination: Road 19, going south from Munnar.
Road 19 is formed as a great story would be. Its structure is perfect, as it has a beginning, middle and end. It features its very own climax. It captures your full attention as soon as you enter it and lures you with incomparable beauty throughout the whole ride.
The road starts with idyllic scenery: as soon as you enter, you are greeted by a river, which has small houses built next to the slow-flowing water while river banks are covered with high grass, colourful flowers and trees.
As we continued, hills covered with forests and shrubs gave way to tea plantations. By then, we already reached our “wow” moment as to our left and right we had beautiful, cultivated shrubs, all juicy green, all growing at the same height.
Riding these hills was an otherworldly experience and while we enjoyed it fully, at some point, we got to a place that surpassed our dreams…
Just when I thought the road was so beautiful that it could not get any better, it did exactly that: it got better.
In the fairy tale of Kerala
By the time we got to the heart of tea plantations, we have already climbed high but because the road was so absorbing, I didn’t even realise it.
Once we reached that point, the hills revealed their full majesty. We stopped and got off our motorbikes.
Standing in the middle of a green patchwork, we looked at hectares upon hectares of tea shrubs that were spreading far below us and above us, all the way to the end of the horizon.
Tea shrubs to our left and right, in front and behind. We were swimming in the ocean of fresh, growing tea!
The valley was covered with shrubs. The hills were covered with them as well. In the middle of this, there were the two of us, standing silent, awed by the incomprehensible beauty of the place.
Human cultivation and nature created the perfect work of art.
Back to Fort Kochi
We sat down on a small wall, lost in a reverie. Tea shrubs right at our toes. I lost the track of time. JC took his camera and started into the plantations, taking portraits of the working women.
Finally, we realised that we couldn’t spend the whole day hanging around the plantations as we still had a long way to go. So, we mounted our Beasts and continued riding. We did it very slowly, though, unwilling to leave this place too soon.
Once the tea plantations finished, we entered highlands with incredible vistas. Mountains and trees were rolling past the horizon. Everything was covered in a soft mist, giving a mystic dimension to the beauty that was becoming a part of us.
Although getting back to Kochi was our priority, we didn’t deny ourselves small pleasures of life like drinking fresh coconuts at the top of the world or savouring local cuisine in the family-run restaurants along the way.
By then, I was barely changing gears. My hand was hurting so much that I actually rode the motorbike doing everything I could to use the gear lever as little as possible.
Should I also mention my buttocks? I’m sure you know what I mean…
I looked at the map and thought that going to Idukki Reservoir would be a great idea as there was a wild life sanctuary in the middle of the place.
When I shared this with dead-tired but still ready JC, the man looked at the map for the first time since we left Kochi. He looked at me, question marks in his eyes, “You can’t be serious?”
I was relieved to hear this. Someone else was tired as well!
With this in mind, I chose the shortest route to get us back to Kochi. The thought of good food and soft bed sent a surge of energy though my body.
There and back again
Riding roads number 40 and 43, we ended up on the road number 49 yet again.
The sun was nearly setting and being surrounded by the big trucks with crazy drivers didn’t seem like a lot of fun. We pushed ourselves really hard to make it to Kochi before the nightfall.
We entered the city at dusk and went straight to Oceanos, a restaurant that we discovered a few days ago. Their food was so delicious and addictive that we didn’t have a need to look for something else. We just wanted to have the same food again.
I feel similar about the road number 19 in Kerala.
I know I tried something unique and I am looking forward to experiencing a road trip with that level of beauty again. Dream on?
I would love to find our what is the Number One Most Amazing Road that you’ve ridden! Which roads can you recommend as a life altering experience?