On the way out of Mangalore, there was a lot of construction on the roads and traffic was rather heavy as well. We had to navigate through all kinds of city traffic and around numerous diversions. It was tiring and cumbersome; something we were pretty bummed about, considering it was nearly a 420km drive to Kochi. Unfortunately, the shoddy roads didn’t improve much after we exited the city either. Thankfully, the Mini proved a sturdy little car over these broken bits, and though shaken, we weren’t entirely stirred. What also did provide some relief was the fact that no matter what the road conditions, the landscape around was very scenic. We passed lush green hills, groves, idyllic water bodies, gentle rivers and the like. While we did stop at some of the places to take photographs, there were plenty of spots where we wished we could’ve had more time.
Once past Kasargod in Kerala, the tarmac finally improved, though sadly, the traffic didn’t. The national highway passes through small towns, villages and cities nearly all over Kerala. As a result, most people use the highway to make their way even from one part of a small town to another. And because of this, there were lots of private cars, auto rickshaws and even bicycles along with trucks and buses, on the highway all the way to Kochi.
So we made our way slowly and steadily on smoothly laid-out but crowded streets. Once past Thallesseri, the road cut back towards the coast. The scenery had started changing, and while it was still very green, there were more water bodies now.
As we’d been struggling with traffic and terrible roads (at least for more than half the way), we’d made rather bad time and darkness started to set in while we were still over a 100km from Kochi. Driving in the dark wasn’t much of a problem, except for the high beams of the oncoming traffics’ lights.
Finally, at around midnight, we crossed into the city limits. We couldn’t see much in the dark, but the architecture we saw entering the city and the sheer number of bridges we had to cross to get to Fort Kochi, the area where we were staying, had us thoroughly impressed. We went to bed exhausted, some of us passing out in the same clothes we’d been in all day, without even taking off our shoes. But then, the promise of next morning had us all excited. There would be plenty of sights before we set off for Bangalore.