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Alleppey to Kochi, 53 km

Tuesday 10th April

sunny 36 °C
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The night before we were told that the drive today should be much easier as it’s only 53k and once we reached to Kochi we had the rest of the day to chill out. After breakfast and dropping our bags at the Tour hotel we hit the road around 8.30am.

We agreed that due to the travel time we would use the quieter coastal road stopping off at a beach if we felt like it. The start of this road was very winding, which would be fine if it wasn’t for the large buses coming towards, at the same time you were being overtaken by a bike. Eventually though the traffic eased and the sea started to appear on our left as we drove.

It wasn’t long till we came to the beach and could have a little paddle. This beach was much nicer than the day before with less rubbish and whiter sand, which was extremely hot.

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After our stop Nick decided he wanted to take over driving and drove the last 2hrs to Kochi and the tour hotel.

This time we were the first team to arrive at 1pm. Again we were in a different hotel so once we grabbed our bags, we filled all three rickshaws and drove 5 minutes around the corner to the Tea Bungalow. This hotel was a lovely Heritage building dating back to 1912 and used to be head offices for a spice company. The rooms were spacious and staff so helpful. Gemma and Dan's room had the best shower which was made to look like an out door shower with a conservatory type roof, we were all jealous.

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While everyone took the chance to shower or sit by the pool, Gemma and I asked about boat tours (Gemma loves a boat). We were in luck, there was a boat tour to a local island at 4pm. The tour included a few demonstrations on old trades; fishing, sorting clams, making ropes and baskets, plus an hour trip on the river and then dinner with the sunset. This was more like it and what we thought we could do everyday (this was the first and last trip unfortunately).

As the tour wasn't until 4pm we all did our things, Gemma doing washing, Dan sleeping, Nicole chilling by the pool before all 3 went to a local spa for full body massages. (much to Nicole and Gemma's surprise it was a FULL body massage boobs and all) Tim decided he would have downtime by the pool while Tom, Nick and I went for a walk to see the small village and answer some of the challenges.

The town was tiny and very Continental with small streets full of restaurants and spice shops and a small port of fisher men, using Chinese fishing nets and fish market. Our challenge called for us to find our what the local spices were and while asking in a little spice shop we got to discover some lovely smelling spices and I picked purchased some local loose leaf tea. (strangely enough the Tetley Tea factory is in Kochi).

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We even pasted a few of our fellow teams in town

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At 4pm and all chilled out we were picked up from our hotel to start our tour. The drive was a good 45 mins as we were visiting one of the islands and to drive south to get a bridge which would cross over to the island. Once we arrived we were show a few of the old local trades by our tour guides.

The first was for cooking and sorting clams, the fisher men caught them in large nets, which the women cleaned and then cooked in a large pot with just sea water, these were then scooped out into a hand made basket with small holes. This basket was then shaken and the cooked clams fell from their shells leaving the cooked fish in the bowl and the shells in the basket. The speed the lady worked at was amazing.

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Next on our tour was the basket weaver, using banana leafs cut in to think strips which had been left in the sun to dry, we weaved little baskets for all purposes with amazing skilled accuracy.

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Last up of the trades was the rope making which was amazing, using husk of the coconut they took the this (which looked like sheep wool) and weaved it into a small thin rope. These thin ropes were then weaved into 3 to make them stronger leaving you with a very strong rope. The girls were invited to try this. My lady helped me a lot to come first. And then the boys test the strength which proofed to be extremely strong. They even let us have the rope which we are sporting lovingly below as hats. These were placed on our heads.

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It was now time for our sunset boat ride which Gemma was very excited about. Sat in our wedding chairs we were taken smoothly along the backwaters and all of us instantly felt at peace.
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We got to see the local children playing the water, who waved and practiced their English. All around us were Chinese fishing nets and the little shacks the fisher men used to sleep or chill between catches.
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After taking lots of photos the sun finally started to set and we took lots of pics before heading back to shore for dinner.

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Dinner was amazing and did not disappoint. The food was served traditionally on banana leafs with a small pile of everything; spiced pineapple, chopped tomatoes with cucumbers, a chickpea salad, vegetable curry and bread. We were then invited to eat it traditionally with our hands, after we washed them of course. Luckily for me none of it wasn't too spicy and I could get eat it all. Which I'm glad I could as it was the best food of the whole trip! When were finished eating we simple pushed our left overs to the top of the leafs ready for dessert to be served and when all done we folded the leaf ready for disposal. No washing up and the most eco-friendly way you could possible eat, thumbs up from Tim and I.

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This really was a brilliant end to the day, eating great food, watching the river and having a laugh with friends.
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Posted by Nick-n-Charlie 05:18 Archived in India Tagged kochi rickshaw tea_bungalow

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