Two happy feet

Traveling solo in Kochi : Two happy feet

As the name of our blog suggests, we always travel as a couple “Four Blissful Feet”. Since our marriage in May 2011, we have always traveled and discovered places together, unless one of us has to go on a work-related trip. My only exception to exploring a place alone has been Kochi.

Siddhartha was supposed to go on a business trip in Kochi and I decided to tag along. He had explicitly told me that he would be too busy with meetings and so I would have to explore the city on my own. So I decided to book a cab for a day and made a list of places I wished to cover.

The trip began with a bit of skepticism and I did not know what to expect while traveling alone in a city where (I believed) language is a bit of a barrier. But by the end of that single day, I was a happy lady!

I spoke to a local photographer at the airport and he told me it was recommended for a solo woman traveler to be back to her hotel by 9 pm because Kochi sleeps early and there is not much of a night life in Kochi. Though he did not mention any safety concerns for women, he very slightly hinted that it was accepted custom here for families not to stay out too late. I made a mental note to myself not to stay out too late.

On reaching out hotel ‘Holiday Inn’, I called the reception to book a vehicle for the whole of next day. “Madam, there is a taxi and bus strike in Kochi city tomorrow. Our hotel will only provide drop-off and pick-up to and from the airport.” said the receptionist. I just could not believe what had just happened. I had just this one day to explore Kochi. We were supposed to return back the next day! I still asked the receptionist for some taxi operator contact details and thought of trying my luck. I just could not give up so easily.

The hotel receptionist gave me details of three taxi operators. After calling up and getting turned down by two operators, the third gave me a positive response. To my surprise, they did not quote any increased rates although they knew that other taxis were not operating! I was completely prepared to pay extra because I did not have much of a choice. Alhough I knew that taking the buses and ferries would have been a better experience, I had only one day and I was skeptical of the language barrier. Hence I was wary of taking the buses and ferries.

Next day, the cab arrived on time and the driver was very nice. I told him which places I wanted to see and he took care of planning the most optimum route.

Mattancherry Palace

Mattancherry Palace
Mattancherry Palace

This is a Dutch Palace built by the Portuguese and gifted to Raja Kerala Verma. The palace houses some great paintings, murals, wood carvings and furnitures. Photography is not permitted inside the palace.

Paradesi Synagogue

I was excited to see the oldest active synagogue in the Commonwealth Nations, but unfortunately it was closed in lieu of a Jewish holiday.

Paradesi Synangogue
Paradesi Synangogue

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But I did get to witness people of the Jewish town dressed in their Jewish finery, having meals in their home. Unfortunately I could not take any pictures as I did not want to intrude in their private moment.

Jew Town

The town was pretty empty as people were inside with their families, celebrating their holiday. But the shops were open. Most shops have “Hassle free” written beside their names. And yes, the shop owners are very sweet and do not pester you much.

Shops in Jew Town
Shops in Jew Town

St Francis Church

From outside this looks like any other local church, but inside lies the first tomb of Vasco da Gama. He was first buried here in 1524 and lay here for the next 14 years until he was shifted to Portugal in 1539.

St Francis Church
St Francis Church

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Fort Kochi Chinese Fishing Net

Fishing with Chinese net
Fishing with Chinese net

For the complete fishing experience do visit my photo blog.

Cherai Beach

We took the ferry to Cherrai Beach. The first time I saw cars not trying to overtake each other for that first spot 😛

People waiting for the ferry to arrive
People waiting for the ferry to arrive
Ferry just like ours on its return trip
Ferry just like ours on its return trip

It was a very long drive from the ferry stop to the beach, and we drove through a road with no other car on it. I grew vigilant and kept my phone in my hand just in case I needed to make an emergency call. But this path was much more green than any other part of Kochi, and we passed through several backwaters, and I really enjoyed the whole drive.

To save on car parking charges my driver dropped me off on one end of the beach, which was a bit remote. All I could see was two fishermen tending to their boats and net.

It took me some time to reach the crowded section of the beach.

Cherai Beach
Cherai Beach
Two happy feet
Two happy feet

As I sat on the beach, I went through all the moments throughout the day when I had felt a bit scared or apprehensive, and yet here I was completely happy, recounting some sweet memories and making a mental note of things I wanted to share with my husband once I was back at the hotel.

The day ended with any pre-conceived notions of language and safety issues all wiped out from my mind. I cannot wait for a second trip to Kochi again, this time being a guide to my husband!

Take a photo journey through Kochi with me.

To experience my Chinese fishing experience, visit my photo blog.



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Photojourney : Kochi in pictures

Fascination with the UK Royal family

I could not find out why Kochi people are so fascinated by the UK Royal family! If someone has any explanations, please do let me know.

Happy Birthday Prince Charles!
Happy Birthday Prince Charles @ Jew Town!
Bob Marley Cafe welcoming the Queen!
Bob Marley Cafe says “Hello the Queen”!

Mattancherry Palace

Mattancherry Palace
Mattancherry Palace
Market beside Mattancherry Palace
Market close to Mattancherry Palace

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Paradesi Synagogue

Paradesi Synangogue
Paradesi Synangogue

Jew Town

Jew Town
Jew Town
Remnant of an old structure in Jew Town
Remnant of an old structure in Jew Town
Shops in Jew Town
Shops in Jew Town

St Francis Church

St Francis Church
St Francis Church
Vasco Da Gama's first burial site
Vasco Da Gama’s first burial site

Vasco tomb

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Tombs of other sailors
Tombs of other sailors

Fort Kochi – Chinese Fishing Net

Chinese Fishing Net
Chinese Fishing Net

I had an amazing time using the Chinese fishing net!

Fishing with Chinese net
Fishing with Chinese net

For the complete fishing experience do visit my photo blog post.

Kochi Local Buses

Local buses have no glasses on windows! Instead pieces of cloth are seen rolled up on the inside of the windows, which might act as curtains. This might be due to the heat and humidity in the region.

Kochi Local Bus
Kochi Local Bus

Cemeteries

I like looking at old cemeteries, because they tell you who roamed the streets that you are walking today. Unfortunately I could not get a closer look at the tombs as gates to both cemeteries I visited were closed.

Dutch Cemetery
Dutch Cemetery
Inside Dutch Cemetery
Inside the Dutch Cemetery
A Private Cemetery
A Private Cemetery
Inside the cemetery
Inside the cemetery

Cherai Beach

Boat

A fisherman with his fishing net
A fisherman with his fishing net
Cherai Beach
Cherai Beach

A well-spent day!

For my Chinese fishing experience, visit my photo blog post.

For my solo travel experience in Kochi, visit my blog post.



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Me Fishing

When I went fishing with Chinese net fishermen of Kochi

Taking a stroll in the Fort Kochi area, revealed around a dozen chinese fishing net lined on the banks of the sea. It was off-season so none of the fishermen were getting much of a catch in their nets.

Chinese Fishing Net - First Glimpse
Chinese Fishing Net – First Glimpse

The pictures that one generally sees of Chinese fishing net is something like this.

Chinese Fishing Net
Chinese Fishing Net

I decided to stroll on to the deck of one of the fishing nets and started clicking a group of fishermen tugging at their net.

Fishermen hard at work
Fishermen hard at work
Chinese fishing mechanism
Chinese fishing mechanism

They were a group of 6 men, and in any other place I would not probably have strayed into a shed with 6 men. But these guys were really pleasant and happy to be pictured through my lens. So they asked me to join as well! And I said yes!

Me Fishing
Tugging at the net!
Lowering the Fishing Net
Lowering the Fishing Net

After a lot of heave and ho, we managed to get the net up! Two of them helped me to tie the ropes as two others rushed to get a look at their loot.

Not done with the fun yet
Exhilarating!
Scooping the catch
Scooping the catch
Here we go
Here we go
Carrying the loot
Carrying the loot
Strange frog
Strange frog

Well we did not catch much fish but did get hold of this strange looking frog! After chatting a bit with the gang, they agreed for a group pic and we bade farewell! I don’t know about them but I had one hell of a time 🙂

My fishermen partners
My fishermen partners

You can also take a photo journey through Kochi with me.




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