Almost halfway through our journey, and we reach to our next destination- Kochi, Kerala. Kochi is one of the southern ports of India and Kerala and is famous for its backwaters. As we were slowly approaching the docks of Kochi, the friendly people waved at us and I thought it is nice to be in a country that I am somewhat familiar with. As we had six days in India, some of the students took off to northern India to pay their visit to the Tajmahal or Varanasi or other bigger cities of India such as New Delhi or Mumbai. I decided to stay in Kerala and explore the vast greenery and backwaters.
At first, I took my time to roam around the city of Kochi. This part of Kerala is very rich in history as various European powers had built their base here and left their footprints. There are churches, mosques, synagogues and temples. A local told me that there are people of different religions and backgrounds in Kochi, and they live very peacefully. The Jewish area was the most interesting one. It was colourful and the Jewish market offered antiques and crafts for tourists. As I walked around the Jewish Town, I saw more tourists than locals. I also took a long walk down the Fort Kochi. When I got to Fort Kochi, I repeatedly asked my friend, where is the fort? Unfortunately, with time, and lack of care and restoration, nothing of the fort is left standing. However, the Fort Kochi area offered a nice beach-side walk. Not the cleanest beach, but it is a nice spot to sit and watch all the ships and boats passing by in a rush.
After Kochi, I made my way to Alleppey. Alleppey is famous for its backwaters and traditional Kerala houseboats. Riding on a traditional Kerala houseboat was one of the things that I have always wanted to do and this was my chance! Me and my friend hired a nice little houseboat and took off on it for couple of hours. The greenery was so calming and refreshing that both of us fell asleep during our houseboat ride.
My next stop was Munnar. Munnar is full of tea-gardens and spice plantations. It is a relaxing little town. There are resorts and spas everywhere. Families and couples visit here for a nice, quiet getaway. The first day I was there, it was raining for the entire time and I had no option but to stay in my hotel and enjoy the spa facility. The next day, I made my way to a spice garden, where I had a private tour through the garden and learned about different spices. The highlight of this spice-garden tour was the home-made chocolates I got to buy! They not only have a garden, but they make medicines, oils, toiletries and even chocolates from their spice plants!
I made my way back to Kochi again. My friend arranged a midnight birthday dinner for me and it was amazing! Dinner by the sea-side, with chocolate fudge cake- it does not get any better. The next day, I made my way to the recently opened India’s largest shopping mall in Kochi. It is massive and was packed with people. I did a bit of birthday shopping, some Indian snacks and then it was time for me to head back to the ship. And… off to the next destination- Mauritius!