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Ferried to Fort Kochi

Relaxation, Good Food & Sore Bums!

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Our arrival time in Cochin was about 4:45am, which was a little bit inconvenient when it came to finding a hotel and ideally somewhere to get a bit more rest because sleeping on a train never leaves you feeling very refreshed. Cochin is divided into three main areas, two of which are small islands just off the coast and everything to see is really on the second of the two islands, Fort Kochi. We arrived into Ernakulam which is the mainland area of Cochin, and the most busy and where Indian's get on with real life.

Although there are bridges connecting the islands we decided that it would be more interesting to take a ferry over to Fort Kochi. Thankfully they start early and we left the mainland at 5:35am, arriving at our destination about 20 minutes later.
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Things generally seem to work out and instead of having to search for a room at that time in the morning, one found us. As we were walking along with our packs a man came up to us and asked if we needed a room. You can't help but be a little suspicious in these situations, just going on past experience but we decided to go take a look. It turned out he was fairly old and walked very slowly, but when we finally made it to the room which was in a homestay, he and his family lived downstairs, we were pleasantly surprised. The room was clean, airy and quiet.

So we decided this was the place for us in Fort Kochi and settled down for a little bit more shut eye. Feeling a bit more awake, and having got directions from the little man (who was in fact incredibly sweet) we went out to have a look round.
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Like Panjim, the architecture of Fort Kochi and therefore the general feel of the place is a result of a couple of European occupations. There is the Santa Cruz Cathedral and St Francis Church, both of which were built by the Portuguese, although Santa Cruz Cathedral was rebuilt some years later.
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Down along the sea front there are the Chinese fishing nets which were first erected in the 14th Century, and are still used today.
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Little stalls selling the catch of the day are set up in front of them, and you can buy the fish and then take it to be cooked in a restaurant if you like.

Adam especially was hoping to see a snake charmer while we were in India and was beginning to think it wasn't going to happen but thankfully Fort Kochi provided one. It didn't last very long but the cobra came up and the man played his little tune and even lunged at him a couple of times.
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We seemed to have escaped the heat a little bit in Bangalore but now it had returned with avengence. So we were back to sweating our socks off and headed inside for some relief. In the evening when it had cooled down we thought we'd treat ourselves to a nice meal and found some really good food at the Abad Hotel. We found the irony in the name a little funny and also discovered that they have a hotel in another place we're planning to visit so thought we might treat ourselves to a night there, budget allowing. I had a steak, which is the first proper bit of red meat I've had since we left home and it really hit the spot. In fact Adam said he'd never seen me eat so much! Adam decided to sample the seafood and had squid with rice pancakes, which he also enjoyed.

The next day after a bit of lie in, we went out to get some breakfast and then a had a mooch around the stalls. We bought three paintings on old government documents, or so we were told, either way we thought they were interesting and liked them. Hopefully Adam's sister will too as she's getting one for her birthday! Afterwards we decided to rent some bikes, and once we'd got the feel for for it, it began to be really enjoyable. You have to get used to ringing your bell as it helps with manoeuvring around people. Mainly because they tend to move out of the middle of the road which they are casually wandering down.

Unfortunately the bike riding became a little less enjoyable when we made it to the mainland. We thought it might be a good idea to ride to the bus station to check times for the next day, but in the end it was just too busy and too hot in the midday sun. So after 20kms we headed to the boat jetty and caught the ferry back to Fort Kochi.
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Also by this point I could hardly sit on the saddle because my bum was in so much pain! Clearly padding had not been considered when it was being designed.

Feeling pretty hot and sticky we went back for a rest. Once the main heat of the day had passed we went out on the bikes again to a part of Fort Kochi that we had ridden through earlier. Although there are still a number of shops geared towards the tourist, it is a little more authentically Indian. My rear end protested the whole way, but it was worth it because we found some good gifts for family birthdays which are coming up and a couple of things for ourselves.

We returned the bikes and went to get some dinner, we'd been good with our money so that we could treat ourselves to another Abad meal. Adam was now the one in need of a good steak, which in Fort Kochi will only set you back £3.50! Once again we were not disappointed, and would recommend the place to anyone.

The next day we got up with all the intentions of leaving. We needed to post some things back home, including Adam's suit and the various items we'd purchased but when we got to the post office we were told the tailors were not open today. Now you may well ask why does it matter if the tailors are open or not, and it would be a good question. It matters because you need a tailor to make the parcel that you send your items in, which is what we did in Panjim, which was fine but when it actually prevents you sending anything at all it seems a little ridiculous. Especially when Adam asked if we could just have a box, or buy a box somewhere and the girl just looked at him blankly.

We returned back to the homestay to pick up the rest of our stuff, resigned to the fact that we would have to carry the extra items with us. However the man and his family informed us that there was a strike today and therefore no buses, so once again we made to spend one more day in a place. Luckily there are worse places to be stuck, and I still wasn't completely recovered from the little bug I'd picked up in Bangalore so I was happy to take it easy.

Which is exactly what we did, we lazed around and avoided the heat of the day and just headed out in the evening to take a few sunset snaps and grab an iced tea which we have become addicted to!
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Adam also bought the little recorder the snake charmers use, which can now join my Nepalese drum in our musical instrument collection.

For dinner we decided to try somewhere new but it was not as good as the two previous nights and much to my annoyance more expensive. Sticking to a strict budget does make you much more careful and watchful of your money, if you can believe that Dad!

The next day the buses were running again and we caught one to Munnar which is in the Western Ghats and surrounded by Tea Plantations. Very beautiful. Will update again soon.

Posted by LauHot10 08:28 Archived in India Tagged round_the_world

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