Now in India for the last 8 weeks and getting excited about coming back to Bolton .We recently revisited places in Kerala that were near enough for a short break. Anita's friend from her previous job came out to visit us and so we arranged a package including a train ride north, sailing on the Backwaters, a one night stopover on the boat and 3 nights in Cochin. This a relaxing 4 day break which is not to expensive.
The boats are very comfortable with air conditioning. This is essential as it gets very warm and the mosquitoes are quite hungry round the backwaters
Basically you sleep and eat on the boat and sail across the vast fresh water lagoons. It is a very relaxing 24 hours
There are two ways of seeing the back waters. The most popular is as above. Another is staying in one of the many hotels. Some of the boats are new and luxurious and some are a bit older and more basic. It’s hard for a casual visitor to be lucky, that depends on who you book through in India.
The other way is to book an overnight stay in a hotel, there some basic and luxurious places to stay and then visit the back waters during the day. We fancy doing this the next time we visit. You can have a mixture of sailing up the canals through the villages and seeing more of the local life style than just sailing across the large lakes.
You get what you pay for and prices vary depending on season time. The monsoon season is not suitable for this trip, the boats won’t go on the lake in heavy winds. We had to return due to a sudden heavy downpour.
Allapuza is about 2 hours train journey north from Trivandrum. Further 1.5 hrs north from here is the major sea port of Cochin (same train)
Cochin was ruled by the Portuguese from 1503 then Colonised by the Dutch in the 1600s There is a wealth of restored old colonial buildings to state
The Delight home stay is the latest to be painstakingly restored into a very nice hotel
We stayed at the Fort Heritage Hotel. Very near here.
This was built by the Dutch East India Company in 1668. The British took possession in 1796. Many British influences can be seen in the Fort Cohin area.
The Chinese Fishing Nets, perhaps being the most photographed of them all
The fishing nets and the hotels are all very near the main Square which is surrounded by trees planted by the Brits many years ago for shade around what was once a parade ground. A special treat is to select you own fish at the Chinese nets and have them cooked in a local café. Special Tea (Beer) can be purchased from these unlicensed premises
And is served in teapots or jugs
Then on to the train to Cochin . In Cochin the best place to stay is the Old Fort area. Although there is nothing left of the fort there is a wealth of colonial architecture, mostly in the form of renovated grand houses.
Some have been converted into small B&B hotels. A train ride from Trivandrum to Cochin is about 5 hrs and cost about 150 RS (£2) single. The hotel will be about £20 for the room. The best place to eat is the Dall Rotie which is also near the best home stays.
The elections for Central government (Lock Sabar) were in full swing when we were there with candidated canvassing on a grand scale. This is the biggest democratic election in the world. We arrived in Cochine and what would have been a 20
minutes ride from the train station took far longer as all the roads passing the army camp were closed for 30 mins while the prime minister made his exit. Security is taken seriously in India. Prime ministers are very vulnerable out here. Manmohan Singh was re-elected as the Congress party prime minister,
Terry June 2009