It gets better once you leave Castelia, but yeah. I chalk it up to the early game in general being condensed. I mean, you get three badges in the first four towns/cities you pass through, compared to five (Kanto, Johto), six (original Unova), or seven (Hoenn, Sinnoh).
Yeah, and unlike Kanto, or Johto, it's pretty much route, city, route, city.
On another note, Audino grinding, how I've missed you.