After four days in Mcleod Ganj, we flew to the southern state of Kerela, where we visited multiple destinations. Our first stop was Cochin, where it was amazing to see the huge Christian presence; there were churches everywhere and pharmacies and banks were often included something Christian sounding in the name.
At the oldest European church in India, St. Francis.
Portuguese explorer Vasco Da Gama used to be buried here.
The Chinese fishing nets
Men handling the rocks that counterbalance the nets
At the fish market
Pigeons looking for a snack
On the way to the old synagogue
Outside the Cochin Jewish Synagogue. Unfortunately we couldn’t go in, as it is closed on Fridays.
The next stop on the Kerala tour was Kumarakom, where we stayed at the most amazing hotel of the whole trip: the eco-resort Coconut Lagoon (http://www.cghearth.com/coconut_lagoon/index.htm). Accessible only by boat, focused on sustainability, local tradition, serenity and quality, this place was just amazing!
Upon arrival, we were all handed coconuts with straws in them. After drinking the refreshing water, we could have them cracked open at the coconut hut so we could eat the meat inside.
There is a butterfly garden on the grounds, which was full of the beautiful, fluttering things. This one was the largest – nearly as big as my hand, but it refused to stay still to have its picture taken. 🙂
Kingfisher (the bird, not the beer 😉 ) hanging out by the butterfly garden.
The food on offer was just great. My lunch: vegetable thali.
As cool as everything about this place was, my personal favorite thing was the outdoor bathroom. 🙂 Too cool!
We were sad to leave Coconut Lagoon the next day already, but soon forgot our dismay when we saw our next form of accommodation: an incredible houseboat that would take us along the Kerala backwaters in Allepy! Incredible ambiance, service and food, this was possibly the most relaxing part of the whole group trip for me, as mostly I just lounged, ate and enjoyed the great scenery and company. 🙂
View from our dining room at the front of the boat.
View from the upstairs lounge.
Lunch included local fish – delicious
Along the backwaters
Docked for the night
Our final stop in Kerala was Kovalam. We stayed at a massive hotel on a hill overlooking the Indian ocean. The beach was beautiful but the waves were massive and wild – nothing for a weak swimmer like me. Happily, the place had a beautiful pool, an ayurvedic spa, a fantastic restaurant, and my longed for Pina Coladas – I was a happy camper (and too busy lounging to take too many pictures ;-))!
View of the Indian Ocean from the hotel grounds
Statue of Ganesh in the lobby.
After the beautiful stay in Kovalam, it was time for the group to head to Delhi and then head on to our next destinations. I was so excited to meet Roman in Delhi, but was also sad that the group trip was coming to an end. For me then, it was a wonderful bonus that there was a mix up in the flights, and most of the group ended up spending an extra night and day in Delhi. It was such a gift to have some bonus time with them and with Roman that next day! 🙂 Thank you again everyone who was on the group trip with me for making those first three weeks in India so amazing. 🙂