2008 Ferrari 612 Scaglietti Magic India Drive 2


(from Ferrari Press Release)  First Day From Mysore

In the morning, before the start of today�s leg, we have to say good- bye to some of our journalists: Pedro Madera, Antonio Car�lucci, Carlo di Giusto and Yuin Tuin are leaving. Thomas Lam, the Korean Chris Kim from Strada and the Indian Shapor Kotwal from Autocar India take over their positions. First the road leads us throu�gh the green and fertile landscape of the Mysore valley, but later it becomes more and more arid and also the road conditions worsen, which forces the journalists behind the wheels of the 612 Scaglietti to pay lots of attention and avoiding bumps and holes. At the frontier to Tamil we reach the Pandipur National Park with eucalyptus trees and gorgeous flowers. Now the road leads up to the mountain pass with an altitude of more than 2,000 metres, right in front of the Ooty valley. After all the bumps and holes in the road, now the two cars from Ferrari can unleash their horses and take the 36 turns up to the mountain pass. After a short descent we reach Ooty, which looks like a village in the Alps, on an altitude of 2,250 metres. The village of Ooty has been built around 1800 by the Madras and smartened up by the Brits, to escape the hot summers down in the valley. The village is sur�rounded by woods and tea plantations (some of them are owned by Tata) and with its numerous hotels it will soon be a tourist location.

Second Day

We�re leaving Ooty and drive through woods and tea plantations. The plantations are quite small and they all look exactly the same. The houses are built on terraces in the middle of the plantations. The roads are bendy and very nar�row and at a certain point we reach the descent leading the plateau. The roads are now slightly better but there is more and more traffic so our average speed drops. By the side of the road we can now spot banana plantations and coconut trees. Fresh coconut milk is sold right next to the road. We have a short stop at Coimbatore at the Tata dealer, who, thanks to a commercial agreement between the two companies, also sells Fiat. Later we�re on our way to the frontier at Kerala, another state of the Federal Republic of India. At the frontier there is a roadblock, because this is also the entry to a Natural Resort. We�re crossing the wonderful park and on the other side we find more tea plantations on the hillsides. The villages around here do not only have Hindu temples but also Christian churches, which is a sign for the Portuguese and Dutch influence in this area. The roads are still very narrow and bendy, which makes overtaking and passing other vehicles really difficult. With a very low average speed we arrive at Munnar when it is already dark. Tomorrow we will visit the tea plantations and learn about tea production.

Third Day

Today is completely dedicated to the world of tea. The valleys around Munnar are all covered in tea plantations. India is the world�s biggest tea producer and its production provides work for thousands of people. The tea plants are all of the same height - at shoulderheight - so the shoots can be taken off easily. The whole valley is cultivated and paths - some measured out and some quite irregular - lead through the plantations. The journalists are delighted by what they see, but they also don�t stop taking photos and filming the two 612 Scaglietti with the valley and the plantations as a backdrop. We are having lunch at the Tata Tea Club, which is exactly as it was at the beginning of the 20th century, with its really magic atmosphere.

Afterwards we are allowed to visit one of the tea producing factories, where the tealeaves are prepared for processing..

Fourth Day

We are leaving the valleys with their vast tea plantations and drive in the direction of the coast. The roads are steeply sloping and there is almost some sort of tropical vegetation by the side of the road. It�s not dry and arid anymore now at all. The road conditions change quite frequently and sometimes it is difficult to pass vehicles we meet along the way. Slowly the temperature is rising, as we get closer to the sea. The mild climate of Munnar and Ooty are now just a memory. The houses in the villages we are passing are lined up right next to the road and social life happens right here on the streets. People are dressed in a traditional way: Sarees for the women, shirt and Westi for the men. Before we arrive at Kochi we�re passing a village of carpenters, selling drawers, chairs and settees. Now we can even spot small supermarkets and the cows in the middle of the road are less and less frequently. Obviously this area is somehow richer than the ones we�ve passed before. We stop at the local Tata Fiat dealer RF Motors to say hello and leave in the direc�tion of Kochi. This city is quite modern, with industry and shops, which are not the general stores we�ve seen until now. The temperature is now at 39 degrees, but inside the two 612 Scaglietti the temperature is very nice, thanks to the air condition on board. We�re off for some sightseeing and stop at the �Chinese web� and visit the former Jewish ghetto..

Fifth Day

Today we spend at Kochi and the journalists are off to explore the life of the city. There is an industrial harbour and Ko�chi�s part for its tourist can be found on three interconnected islands. The ferries are the most comfortable and fastest way of transport here. We�re going to see the Dutch Palace, the residence of the Portuguese governor, the church of the Holy Francis, the tomb of Vasco de Gama, the bazaar with its typical stands and in the afternoon we watch a play at the Cochin Culture Centre, a classic Indian dance.

Sixth Day

We drive along the coast in Southern direction to the furthest point in the South. The road conditions are excellent. It�s Sunday and there is hardly any traffic. Our first stop is at Allepy and we visit the canals and the dikes. There are many houseboats covered with palm leafs. It looks like the Netherlands with all the canals around. Later we�re dri�ving in Southern direction and the road leads us through a wonder�ful palm garden. There are houses along the road and one village blends into the other. We can spot many craftsmen but also some industry, mainly connected to marble.
Also here most of the people are wearing the traditional Indian dresses: Sarees and Westis. We stop at the Tata Consultancy Ser�vices College, which is one of the best think tanks in India. The students, in touch with the world�s most sophisticated technolo�gies, are enthusiastic about the cars from Ferrari. Tomorrow new journalists will join up with us.

Seventh Day

Today we are driving from Kovalam to the furthest point in the South of India, Cape Comorin, where the Arabian Sea meets the Indian Ocean and the Bay of Bengal. This is the holy place of the goddess Kumari, where religious men dive into the waters and pray in the direction of the rising sun.
At Kovalam we find an impressive market selling spices, fish and souvenirs and we stop to have a closer look. Just off the coast there is a small island with the memorial of the philosopher Vivekananda and an effigy of the poet Tiruvalluvar; later on we visit the Gandhi Memorial, where the ashes of the founder of modern India are kept, and the Temple of goddess Kumari. Outside the village there is one of the most prestigious schools of India: the engineering college Holy Francis Xavier, founded in the year 1540. Kovalam just like Goa, is crowded with tourists, thanks to its wonderful beaches with palm trees. There are many hotels, restaurants, souvenir vendors and very nice shops to see. Tomorrow we will go back up North, driving along the Eastern coast up to Calcutta.

The remainder of the day-by-day journal available at www.ferrari-indiantour.com

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