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Read and rate Travel Journal Entries for Kerala, India

Mar 24, 2005 - Cochin

Cochin 3/24 Took the water shuttle from our hotel in Kumarakom this morning. It was interesting to see the families who live along the canal busy at their daily activities - washing clothes and dishes, fishing with a simple pole and string, and bathing children. We set out on a 2-hour drive to Cochin, though we were delayed somewhat by a flat tire. Two young boys - off of school for Easter break - came over to watch and supervise and, eventually, pitch in. We were on the road again in about 15 minutes. The area around Cochin was one of the...

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Mar 22, 2005 - Munnar, first hill station!

Considering I had to be in Chennai/Madras by 24 March for my flight, my days in Kerala were numbered. I had to make a decision between an animal sanctuary, an old fort harbour and a hill station, which promised cooler temperatures and scenic tea plantations. I knew where I was meant to be... Because of a late departure from Kottayam and a general, inexplicable fear of bus rides on mountainous terrain, I took a taxi up to Munnar, which proved lovely because we had several stops en route and watched the sunset from a lookout point, cardamom...

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Mar 21, 2005 - Periyar and Alleppey

We left Madurai on Saturday morning after just 1 night, driving several hours to the town of Periyar. The drive took us mostly thru farm country. The terrain was very flat, but before long, we saw mountains in the distance on both sides. A wide variety of crops are grown here, We stopped to watch a farmer work a team of cows to level a rice paddy. It's the season for harvesting the 2nd wheat crop, and we saw many workers "separating the wheat from the chafe" usually by hand but sometimes using modern machinery. Farm cooperatives are pretty...

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Mar 18, 2005 - Backwaters of Kerala

Ahh the slow life... Even though I was there in March, Sublime's "Summertime, oh the livin's easy" kept running through my mind. Wednesday the 16th I took a 'tourist cruise' from Kollam/Quilon to Alleppey/Allappuzha (main cities in Kerala have two names, just to make it fun) which included 8 hours on a long, double decker bus and a very quick lunch stop. While waiting for everyone to board, I was vacantly staring out the side when a girl, stepping onto the boat, shrieked, "OMG you're the girl from Varanasi!" I honestly didn't recognize her,...

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Mar 12, 2005 - Kumily

After an absolutely terrifying journey in a local bus with no suspension, up steep hair-pin bends, in the torrential rain, it was with great relief that we finally arrived in Kumily, only 2 hours late! We found a lovely little guest house which Claire skillfully negociated down to half it's usual rate and all got ourselves settled in in record time with a view to finding somewhere to go for a drink before everything closed down. The fact that it was 8.30 was irrelevant as eveything in the area starts to close around 9pm - cosmopolitan it is...

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Mar 12, 2005 - Back to my Southern roots

Ahh to be back in the South... Granted, it ain't the Heart of Dixie, but probably as close as I'll get here in Hindustan. I stepped off my train in Trivandrum, blurry-eyed and shaky-legged after 50 hours on a hard seat alongside an obnoxious berth-mate with a wicked laugh, to gorgeous coconut trees and lots of smiling faces. Of course, the 95 degree weather and 95 percent humidity was just like stepping off a plane in Birmingham in August: Welcome home! This is the capital of Kerala (which means coconut-place in Malayalam, the local...

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Mar 11, 2005 - Houseboat

Having spoken at such length about doing a tour of the Keralan back waters in a House Boat it came as a great suprise to us that we actually managed to get round to it. In all there were 6 of us going: the 2 of us, Sarah, Claire and Richard (who we had met previously in Jodphur) and Liz (who was staying in Varkala on holiday, and fancied a change of scene!) Armed with Uno, 2 bottles of rum and various mixers we set off for Alleppy from where the tour would depart, and 23 fun filled hours later arrive back again. On first glance we saw...

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Mar 5, 2005 - India - Kerala - Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum)

Namaste!!! It was hard to leave Varkala behind, but we had to make it to Trivandrum in time for our next flight to Sri Lanka. Trivandrum (the city of the sacred snake) is quite a city. One cannot say it's beautiful, but there is something to it. It's bustling with activity and seems to have a higher cultural level than the rest of India (could it be due to its communist gobernment?). We were surprised to come across book fairs and handicrafts fairs. We only had one afternoon in Trivandrum, so we took the opportunity to visit Sri...

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RTW 2005

Mar 4, 2005 - India - Kerala - Varkala

Namaste!!!! So we are in paradise again!!! This beach is simply amazing! We are staying at a little yellow hut by a huge cliff overlooking a gorgeous beach. Can we ask for more? We have decided to spend two days here, so that we can rest a little bit after all we've done in these two months and before we take off to Sri Lanka. Besides, these are our last days with our deat travel-mate Toni and we have to enjoy them in a place that deserves that. Yesterday we started the celebration with a huge Red Snaper for dinner. Not bad, uh? Our next...

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RTW 2005

Mar 3, 2005 - Varkala - Heaven on Earth?

After increasingly frantic e-mails from Sarah we decided that we had better move on from Cochin and continue our journey futher south to Varkala. Varkala is a relatively small town dominated by cliff tops at the bottom of which lies a sacred beach. As with Goa, Varkala is pretty geared towards tourists, but as yet it has not become quite so developed - probably helped by the fact that the cliffs effectively restrict where hotels and restaurants can be built. At Sarah's suggestion we checked into the Taj Mahal, which came complete with...

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Mar 2, 2005 - India - Kerala - Alappuzha (Alleppey)

Namaste!!! The backwaters of Alappuzha are amazing!!! It was so beautiful to go along the canals and rivers that connect the 14 villages of Alappuzha. Besides, the people were so nice that it was hard to believe it was real. The rowers explained all sorts of things, pointed out birds we came across on the way (e.g. the gorgeous Kingfisher), cotton trees, cashewnut trees, coconut palmtrees and we stopped at a village house to try the local coconut liquor, 'tori'. There we met a boy that had the hugest collection of coins and notes ever! It...

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RTW 2005

Mar 1, 2005 - To Cochin and beyond

Having recieved an SOS from our friend Sarah we hopped on another train, destination Kerala. The idea of Kerala fascinated us. It is the only democratically elected communist state in India, and apparently has a 95% literacy rate, did this mean that everyone we met would have their noses in the local paper, and be sat round discussing the latest happenings in the world? It is also apparently very beautiful, however this was not bourne out by our first introduction to the area. We arrived in Ernakulem, Cochin in the early hours of the...

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