Kerala, famously known as “Gods’ own Country” on the tip of India south of Goa was where I spent my 28th Birthday, Christmas Day and New Years in 2012. It was absolutely magical and although it has taken some time to get back to London routines, I thought today I would devote some time to reminiscing about our winter in the sun.
We Flew out on our Birthday on Christmas Eve, and we were lucky enough to be given free business class upgrade on our Emirates Flight at our stop over in Dubai to celebrate the occasion! I have never flown business class, it was the most amazing experience and one we will cherish forever! I pretty much was horizontal for the whole flight, and got steadily tipsy on complimentary champagne and my first Martini Cocktail (which is shocking as I’m an olive fanatic!)
India is foodie heaven, especially for vegans and vegetarians. “Pure Veg” eating spots are everywhere, and a substanial meal can cost less then a £1 / $1 ! freshly baked indian breads are sold for rupees, and even spiceophobics can handle tasty daals (lentils) for a satisfying feast. I cannot forget the delicious buriyanis (mixed rice specialities) and exotic fruits galore!
We stayed about an hours drive from Cochin, a bustling Coastal Town overlooking the Arabian Sea. It is famous for its old Fort which introduced the melting pot of Portugese, Arabic, Chinese and British cultures as a trading hotspot for spices and textiles.
Everyday I enjoyed freshly brewed masala Chai (frothy milky tea flavoured with spices such as cinnamon, cardamon, and cloves) and thirst quenching mango lassis and phenomenal ice tea – my favourite being at The Malabar house, an Old Colonial Mansion now Luxury Hotel in Fort Cochin.
We really enjoyed relaxing in our eco-friendly cabin overlooking the lakes, and divided our time chilling at the cabin, and out in Fort Cochin. in Fort, the “old city” whe did lots of sight seeing, explored the old cobblestone streets, had ayruvedic massages and shopped till we dropped ! Things I bought include spices, tea, ayruvedic products, candles, trinkets, jewellery and sarees (traditional asian dress). We also bought an amazing original painting on canvas from a local artist which was an incredible find at a hidden Art Gallery! The weather was hot but pleasant about 26degrees out of the sun, and we always made time for afternoon tea and cake! The Kashi Arts Cafe Chocolate cake was out of this world!
We had such a great time on our week off! On New years eve we went for a leisurely boat ride in a traditional boat where we got to take amazing shots of the lush wildlife and backwaters, unspoilt by the mass tourism in high season more south of the country. We saw plenty of the infamous chinese fishing nets on our boat ride, and I even got to drive the boat! after almost putting it in reverse, the driver decided to take the steer back from me! I don’t blame him! lol!
We spent much of the time lazing in a Hammock watching the sun set over the backwaters, contemplating life and our life goals together for the new year. I really appreciate the value of destressing and spending more time with loved ones now. I realised how much my life has changed, for the better, and it gave me the energy and boost i needed to tackle the year ahead full of optimism. The trip also reignited my love for photography and healthy eating, and I feel like I’m carving out my new true identity vowing to do more of what I love in 2013.