Friday, 27 April 2012

Beach hopping to the south

What a travel day. Last Saturday 21 April was epic - drive from Palolem beach to Goa airport 1.5 hrs, wait, fly to Bangalore 1 hr, wait, delay, wait, fly to Cochin 1 hr, drive to Varkala 4 hrs reduced to 3 hrs due to crazy driver.

I decided after leaving Goa to skip Cochin and head straight to the little cliff top town of Varkala. Cochin is a big town and supposed to be really cool but with only 6 days left in the country I needed to get south to Trivandrum for my flight to Sri Lanka on Friday 27.

The epic travel day wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. Bangalore airport is new and very fancy, a great place to hang out. And there was free wifi if you registered with an Indian phone. Not having an Indian phone didn't stop me. I asked a kind professor-looking man if I could use his phone to register. He gladly helped out a poor hippy looking foreigner.

The flight to Cochin was cool - a big new plane and a spare seat next to me. I settled in, inserted by ear plugs (absolutely essential for any travel in this country) and snoozed. I just wish the flight was longer!

Grabbed my pack at Cochin airport and jumped into the car with a quite sane and normal looking guy. Little did I know he had ambitions to be a racing car driver or got his license on the dodgem cars. Thank god it was dark so I couldn't see what was coming at us when he turned a 2 lane road into 3! Kinda common in this country.

But I'd had a long day and couldn't be bothered to panic or ask him to slow down, so I put in my iPod and relaxed while being thrown around the back seat in a non-stop frenzy.

Green Palace Hotel in Varkala is like a palace, at least compared to some of the places I've stayed. It is set back slightly from the cliff top path and has a fab balcony with views of the ocean.

My double expresso with a view.

Varkala is the cutest place. There is a big car park place in the centre area of the cliffs then paths to the north and south cliffs. It's so cool to wander around the shops and down the steps to the beach without dodging cars or hearing honking horns.

My three days here were spent on the beach, drinking expresso or banana lassi and having Ayurvedic massage. Then the storm hit. It was cool sitting on my balcony watching the lightning and the wild ocean. I finally had reason to pull my hoodie out of the bottom of my pack! It wasn't at all cold but I needed a hood to make the dash out for dinner.

And because this town is on the coast there is fresh seafood. My first non-veg meals in ages.

After brekkie on Anzac Day I packed my bags and got back in the car with the racing car driver. What the hell, the trip to Kovalam is only 1.5 hrs and I was up for a bit of amusement park fun. The driver was actually really sweet and he asked if he could pick up his family so they could buy school books in the big town. Why not I thought after checking if he meant his entire extended family or just a couple of people - well you never know here, everyone is family!

So me, the crazy driver, his wife and a couple of kids headed south.

The weather in Kovalam is a little overcast and a bit windy - but the cool Lighthouse Cape Hotel is on the beach. Ocean views once again from my balcony. There are only 4 rooms and the family live here so it's more like a haveli than a hotel. And OMG it is clean and shiny.

The southern Indian coastal towns are a world away from the deserts of Rajasthan. There seem to be lots more tourists and I've even heard an Aussie accent. I'm so pleased I experienced the north before I started beach hopping. This isn't the real India but is fun for a beach lovin' Aussie.

Now it's Thursday night, my last night in this mad, crazy, amazing country that is India. Will I be back, I hope so.

- Posted from somewhere round the world...


1 comment:

  1. Hey little. What amazing travels you are having. The beach side town looked beautiful and I had a laugh when you put the family in the cab. Good on you. It interests me that you like India, it is not a place that I have even thought about. Stay safe, love you. Helen