Day 4 Vandanmedu to Periyar 45kms

What a peaceful start to the day after our evening of ghoulish halloween evening and Christmas cake making!

Breakfast is at 6.30 am this morning so we had a lie in. We enjoyed the peace and tranquillity of this special place while we tucked into our large bowls of porridge, omelettes and tea and coffee to replenish our burnt calories from our tough few days. A fitting peaceful yoga warm up from Bill followed. I wonder what the locals made of all our Lycra clad rears all in the 'downward dog' position at 7am.

We were all tired from yesterday which was gruelling to say the least but we were cheered by the promise of an easier and shorter day.  

10 km to the first stop we were told. "Yeah right" - we've  heard that before - so with trepidation we set off, straight into the first hill of the day. A few twists and turns through the local town soon got those saddle sore behinds back into the groove and suddenly we were in the most beautiful countryside and all pain was forgotten.

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Yes, there were hills but we barely noticed them and suddenly after 10 km there was our first stop. We had the chance to top up water and enjoy snacks amongst beautiful countryside (it was after all at least 2 hours since breakfast) and curious children came out to investigate these strange people on bicycles. Their curiosity was rewarded by Marc Harrison when he gave them 3 Bolton Wanderers football shirts. Their smiling faces and excitement lifted our spirits. What humble people they are.

Waving goodbye we were off again winding through country lanes filled with amazing flowers and vegetables, beautiful houses and smiling people and then we stopped to join the end of a typical traffic jam where a bus and truck were trying to pass on a road barely wide enough to get one of them through let alone 2 side by side!

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Whilst waiting Ramon Puig attempted to get a lift in a tuk tuk much to the consternation of the occupants who did not quite know what to make of a sweaty middle aged man in lycra climbing in with them clutching a bicycle.

Today's hills were like bumps in the road after the last couple of days and were accompanied by slightly off key renditions of old well known songs led by Peter Wilson. Then we turned the corner and there we started our final leg of today’s journey - kilometre after kilometre of downhill with no uphills at the bottom!

It made us all realise just how far we had climbed but when we arrived at our stop for the night, we still felt like we were perched on top of the world with time to recuperate and get our strength back for our final day.

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It was a day of beautiful scenery and the chance to slow down a little and enjoy this beautiful place. Today is Kerala Piravi which marks 61 years since the birth of the state of Kerala so it was fitting that we showed it due respect by taking the time to savour and enjoy this very special place. Happy birthday Kerala!

Diane Wilson

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