Alleppey (Alappuza) and Fort Kochi (Cochin)
This is now from memory as I am now playing catch up with the blog posts. We have had very little access, if any, to wifi so although I am writing this now I don’t know when it will be published.
On arrival we sought out a rickshaw which there were fewer of than we expected to find at the station. We soon discovered that was because there was a strike on in the whole town and many of the drivers were joining in. We were subsequently charged about double for the couple of kilometres into town. The driver knew we wanted somewhere to stay so took us to a place he had a leaflet for (and probably got commission for) We looked around and it was OK but we did not want to settle for the first one whiteout making it all the way into town so we left and were dropped off in what was supposed to be town but there was nothing open, not even somewhere to buy a bottle of water. We looked at a few options but none were anywhere near as nice as the first one so after eventually getting some water at a hotel we went back to the first option.
We could have wifi or air con so we chose air con as it was about 37 degrees that day and waited in the garden with a beer for the room to be cleaned. The garden of the hotel was in the centre of the building, surrounded by rooms. The building was at least 300 years old and there were beams, massive old doors and low ceilings everywhere. The garden of the hotel was probably the best place in Alleppey.
We had a couple of quiet nights there and decided to move on. We boarded a train and headed for Fort Cochin (Kochi) famed for the Portugese and Dutch influences and found it a pleasant change from Alleppey. We had our first ‘homestay’ experience there which was OK and good for the price although the wifi was unreliable and the air con rubbish. We met some other travellers there as the common area for the place was about 2ft away from our door. I was still suffering from a dodgy digestive system (which I think I can trace back to the salad in Varkala) and Henry was still covered in bites which were scabbing over and making him a little miserable. So, we were not out and about as much as usual.
The town of Fort Kochi was lovely. There were very different buildings to the usual Kerala style we had seen up until then and we found our first bins! Now, this may not seem like a big deal but until then and since we have not seen any at all. You have to either carry your rubbish around with you for the day or add it to one of the numerous piles by the side of the road. It really goes against everything you’ve ever been taught about litter. The drinks and food you buy all have the little man putting his litter in the bin sign on them but in reality most litter is just that, littering the streets for ladies to sweep early in the morning (in a city) or just sit there forever.
One of the ‘must see’ things in Fort Cochin is the Chinese fishing nets in the harbour. They are still in use and I went down to take some photos at sunset. They are not quite what you see in the guide books but I had a good time experimenting with different settings and watching the sun go down. There were more tourists here than we’ve seen since Varkala and most of them also seemed to want to take the ultimate sunset picture.
Mostly because we had had enough of the close quarters of the homestay and we had seen most of what thee was to see in Fort Cochin (including this fetching Mother Theresa figure who was watching over a roundabout) we decided to move on and headed inland a little towards the large town of Thrissur.