Sunday, April 14, 2013

Kerala, India

My mom and I spent two whole weeks in the south of India, in a provence called Kerala. We landed early morning in Thiruvananthapuram and immediately took a taxi to Varkala. We had nothing planned yet, only booked our flights and a hotel for the first two nights. We got around Kerala with a little guide book (without it we would be nowhere...). In Varkala we just relaxed near the beach, visited a temple, did yoga, got an ayurvedic massage, went to an elephant sanctuary (but all the elephants were gone to a festival...), saw a show and a festival. We had planned to stay only two nights, but it turned into 4, since we wanted to see the Kathakali show and the festival.
After 4 days in Varkala we went to our next destination, which was Kollam. We didn't really wanted to see a lot there, it was just a stop on our way to Alleppey. We had to stay one night in Kollam, and so we visited Munroe island. It was sooo beautiful there, I have no words to describe it... It was just gorgeous! We took a small boat trip through canals and underneath small bridges and it was just incredible how beautiful the place was, so peaceful and quite as well. Our boat 'driver' invited us into his home, and offered us a cup of tea. Everyone in India is so incredibly kind! 
The next day we arrived in Alleppey, after a few hour bus ride. The second we stepped out of the bus a man walked up to us and asked us whether we needed a hotel. He showed us his card, everything looked very decent and we went with him. The hotel was situated near the water and was so peaceful there - see photo of my feeth in the hammock. The next day we took an early morning boat trip on the famous Alleppey backwaters. 
We only stayed one night in Alleppey, in the afternoon, after the boattrip, we took a bus to Munnar. A short bus trip of only 6.5 hours... Munnar is not at the coast, but in the mountains, so it was a lot cooler there as well. It was weird to wear jeans again! On the bus we met 4 Indian men, who were asking these typical questions again - where are you from? where are you going? do you like India? do you study? what's your job? is she your daughter? etc. They also helped us with finding a hotel, just unbelievable how kind everyone is! We arrived late in the evening and so we went to sleep immediately. The next morning we had to wake up early again. The tuctuc driver from the previous day had asked us whether we wanted to do a tour through Munnar, the surrounding tea plantations and visit viewpoints, and so we did that. First we went to a few dams, with amazing views over lakes. Afterwards we went to Top Station, where - when you have luck - you have a beautiful view, but it was pretty foggy, like always there, so there wasn't much of a view. We also bumped into the guys we met in the bus the previous day, which was quite funny. Loads of people there were also taking photos of us, in a very subtle way... (or not). Others were asking for photos with them as well on it, for example there was this group of 10 guys who wanted a picture with me, about 10 photos taken with everyone's mobile phone, was quite funny haha!
On our way back to Munnar town we stopped at an elephant parc for a 15 minute elephant ride! It wasn't the first time I sat on an elephant, but it was still so much fun :)!
In the evening we went to a martial arts show, which was so impressive! They were all so flexible and it was so scary to watch them fight...!
The next day, Tuesday, we went to Kochi. This was also a place where we just stopped, since we were heading back south again. In Kochi we went to another elephant parc, where you could watch the mahouts bath elephants. It was so cute, you could see how much they enjoyed being bathed! Also we went to Fort Kochin, where we took a tuctuc tour over the island. He showed us temples, chinese fishing nets, a place where they made candles, another place where they made ginger and a lot more.
Wednesday we went back to Varkala with the train, where we only stayed one night, since the next day, our last day in India, we wanted to go to Peppara Wildlife sanctuary. In our guide book it said it was  very beautiful there, with lots of elephants, leopards and what not, and so we thought, yeah why not? When we arrived there with the bus which comes twice a day, there is absolutely nothing but a dam and a canteen. We had to get permission to enter the parc in Thiruvananthapuram, even though I didn't even see the entry of the parc. We were stuck in the middle of nowhere for 4 hours. So we sat in the canteen playing cards, for 4 hours long. Perfect last day...
In the evening we went back to Thiruvananthapuram, where we had to catch our plane back at 3am.

All in all it was a really great and unforgettable holiday in India. It's a place you should definitely visit once in your life, Kerala is just so beautiful! I enjoyed my holiday so much, despite some inconveniences... :) I probably to write lots of things which were worth mentioning, but so much happened these two weeks that it's pretty hard to recall everything! 

Sunset in Varkala

In a tuctuc

Lemon juice

Typical keralan show called Kathakali


Munroe island

@hotel in Alleppey

Tea plantations in Munnar


Temple in Fort Kochi

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