Here she goes, the gal inaugurates the 450-yard zipline across the valley below Vivanta by Taj, Madikeri – Coorg, that luxury mountain hotel that is always thinking of something new to do. On top of hiking, rafting, mountain biking, throwing pots and learning history, and spa-ing and gym-ing and swimming and more, now add in ziplining, high over productive farm fields and the occasional water buffalo. First time one zips it can be quite scary, and often the uninitiated close their eyes, but with practice, oh wow, one feels like a bird, or a drone.
I whizzed across, for some inexplicable reason turning through 180 degrees halfway across. At the far end I was caught, helped down to the ground. We trekked back through a paddy field, but apparently they are just about to open a second, lower, line to take you back to where you started. You will now end up in the strawberry patch, where anyone staying at the hotel is invited to go and nibble, any time (their strawberries are delicious, by the way). You eat a lot at this place, because of the exercise you take – last night I met new chef, Deepak Shirur, and adored his marinated chicken kebabs covered in egg white fluff, rather like a savoury floating island dish.
One more day and I would have been back on one of the mountain bikes, marvellously maintained by the expedition company Muddy Boots that handles, and escorts, all activities here. Take a Giant, just like I have at home, and explore local villages, and smile at some of the farmers who seem to take the size of what is called a ‘small holding’ to the extreme. The kids, on their way to or back from school are, as seems universal in India, immaculate, in day-glo white shirts, and neat haircuts.
Cycle here at this luxury hotel and you will invariably go through coffee plantations, and have arabica and robusta explained. And, by the way, I finally found a really useful souvenir to take home, namely two packs of coffee, which I will later drink and remember, yet again, how magical Vivanta by Taj, Madikeri – Coorg is.