Saturday, March 01, 2014

Varkala, India | part I

Heyhey! Waking up every morning at 7 am, without being dead tired, is such a wonderful feeling! I'm enjoying my jet lag for as long as it lasts. I've been back home a week now, and boy, how I miss India already! The weather, the food, the people, the nature, the culture... 5 days in and around Varkala with my mom, sister and my camera. In total I took about 400 photos, so making a selection was really hard, and therefore I decided to split my India post in three parts, to still be able to share as many photos with you as I can, without making this post too long. So stay tuned for part two and three!



After a long flight of 10 hours with no sleep, we arrived in Thiruvananthapuram at 4 in the morning. Even though my mom and I were keen on taking the train to Varkala, we took a taxi, as it was really early and we were quite tired. The second you step out of the airport, you just already know you are in India. The smell of the air, the warmth and being greeted by the dozens of people standing outside, despite the fact that it was in the middle of the night, definitely India! When going to India (or any other Asian country for that matter) it is always quite stressful when driving on the road. I suppose you get used to the crazy driving after a while, but if you have just arrived from Luxembourg, it sure is a major difference and damn terrifying, haha. Indians seem fearless, when it comes down to driving. Driving like a madman honking about every 20 meters, overtaking every car or truck or tuctuc and nearly killing 5 people every 100 meters? I swear my heart stopped for a second when nearly hitting a dog... But, we arrived in one piece and no casualties had fallen *relieved*. 



Having slept a few hours and then waking up and realizing you're in India, ahhh what a great feeling! As we were in India for only a few days, we didn't travel around like last April, when my mom and I traveled through Kerala for two full weeks. We stayed in and around Varkala, and our days consisted mostly of drinking fresh fruit juices, walking up and down the North Cliff and the beach, and also a little sightseeing - as there isn't that much sightseeing to do in Varkala anyway. Our first day we started doing exactly this. Doing nothing. Letting the sun soak in. At noon we decided to go eat something in one of the many lovely restaurants. All the restaurants are really nice there, all with sea view and delicious food. When seated at a table, the waiter came and said "Were you here perhaps last year?", to my greatest surprise, he had recognized us. 10 months ago my mom and I were in Varkala as well, for 4 days. "When I saw you (pointing at me) walking towards the restaurant, I thought I recognized you!", he said. What a great memory he has, haha! In a place like Munnar it wouldn't have surprised me as much, but, many many tourists (and white people) come to visit Varkala, while in Munnar for example, it is more of a rare thing for the locals to meet or see white people. 

Lei Li deciding whether she likes India or not...
School trip? Afterwards they went fully clothed into the sea (Indian swimming lessons maybe?)
Varkala beach is not only famous for its beauty, but also for the daily rituals being held by the locals
Kingfisher

Eden Garden

Our second day in India we went to our next hotel. The first night we stayed in Eden Garden, where we had stayed last year as well. When you walk off the road and enter the hotel grounds, it seems like you are entering a different world. Such tranquility, calmness, serenity... (definitely recommend the place!). We were planning on staying in a different hotel each night, and so we went to Shiva Garden the following day (where we ended up staying the next 3 nights actually, as it does take some time to change hotel and we would rather spend our time doing other things than changing hotels). Eden Garden was more a place to, how shall I say... A place where you can find peace at mind and inner calm, haha. Whereas Shiva Garden is a 'backpackers paradise'.
Half of our day was gone as we had to wait 2 hours for our room, but when chilling in one of the hammocks with a refreshing juice in your hand, two hours fly by. The other half of the day we spent on the beach, enjoying life, to the max.
Besides the many restaurants on the North Cliff, there are also many small shops with a variety of things; from all different kinds of nice souvenirs to traditional clothing and much more. My mom and I have this obsession with these silk shawls, which are handmade in India. Also in Dubai last October, we came across many shops where they sold these shawls which were made in Kerala. Being unable to resist, we had to go inside one of the shops and see what treasures we could find, to add to our growing collection, haha. The owner of the shop also recognized us from last year, way to go! Having stayed in the shop half an hour, chatting to the man from Cashmere, we left with three shawls. Irresistible.

I found this photo more interesting upside down
Photographed this exact palm tree last year as well, hah


More to come soon

*** Link to the post of my visit to India, traveling through Kerala, last April ***


UPDATE

Check out this awesome website where you can see the backwaters of Kerala from the sky!
http://greatbackwaters.com/

Kerala Tourism



5 comments:

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  2. your blog is amazing! i’m impressed by your design & photos!
    and you outfits deserve separate attention!
    everything is magnificent! would you like to follow each other?

    will be happy to see you in my blog!
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    Diana Cloudlet

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  3. I couldn't resist reading the rest of your travel story after starting at part three...whoops! The pictures are great and the shawls look so pretty! The hospitality sounds exceptional and the cultural differences sound so cool! :-) A great read!

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