We flew down to Cochin, Kerala a couple of days ago and it’s as if we have landed into a different country! The tropical plants, lush green palm trees, the vibrant colours and the very VERY slow pace of life, I think its just what we needed after crazy Delhi!
We arrived late in the afternoon just as the warm sun was setting in the sky and the sunflowers along the airport roadside were beginning to close. Straight away we could see a huge difference from smoggy streets of Delhi, pretty pavements, huge brightly coloured billboards, shops with large glass windows displaying fabrics, sparkling car show rooms and even the people walking along the streets seemed different, all draped in pretty saris in every colours.
Due to the terrible floods here last summer the main road to our hotel in Kochi was still very much under construction so the traffic was bad and it took over an hour and a half to reach! I soon realised that we were going to have to amend our fast paced travel plans of a couple of days in Fort Kochi and a night in Munnar. The road up to the tea plantations was just going to take far too long to get too for an overnight stay, so we sadly decided (and thankfully our hotel could accommodate us!) to cancel the hotel and stay in Fort Kochi for the rest of the week.
On our first day here I think we all slept in till 9:30am! So we quickly got up and ran down to breakfast before it finished, before spending some much needed hours relaxing by the lovely hotel pool!
In the afternoon we decided to head over to Fort Kochi, so picked up a tuk tuk driver outside the hotel who was more than happy to drive us over to the neighbouring island and to stick with us for the next couple of hours taking us from place to place so we could jump in and out to see the sights, plentiful street art and not have to march the girls along the hot streets.
Fort Kochi is essentially a fishing village that now has a multicultural blend of Portuguese, Dutch and British influences gained through the different eras of occupation. Today it’s a big trading area with ships bringing in and out trades from around the world. It’s also a popular spot for cruise liners to stop and drop off passengers to take in the laid back vibe and enjoy the plentiful antiques shops and fabric and spice markets looking for trinkets to ship home.
We stoped at all the ‘must see’ places of worship, but I must admit seeing the old ‘Dutch uniform’ wash rooms was one of the spots that was particularly interesting! (Perhaps we are templed out!) Today all the laundry from surrounding hotels and homestays are washed here by hand and there are large bundles of washing lined up on the floor, waiting to be scrubbed before being dried in the hot sun on twisted handmade coir washing lines. Finally everything is then finally perfectly ironed with 8kg hand Irons each with little fires inside to heat them up! Now there’s a hard days work for you!
We then carried on to a small beach mainly to have a quick ice cream and a walk around an art instillation of wooden elephants that had been set up there. Before finally visiting the famous Chinese fishing nets! These old nets are hardly used nowadays and have become a bit of a tourist attraction. However they are still in working order and we had a go pulling down the counterweights to raise the huge nets into the air!
In the evenings here the fishing boats bring in the fresh catches and they are lined up on shore to be sold to the local restaurants, but you can, if you fancy it, pick a fish and have it cooked right there on the beach while you wait… now you don’t get fresher than that!